Food waste has been a much discussed topic for the better part of the 2000s, so it's not exactly shocking to hear about all the waste that comes from expired or unsellable items in grocery stores. While many know it's a problem, there aren't too many who know about solutions, and that's where the Loop program steps in.

Loop  Resource works by taking expired or unsellable food from grocery stores, and rather than simply throwing it away they instead give it to farmers to feed to their animals. Lea Appleman is both a farmer who uses Loop and Loop's Regional Scheduler. Appleman's farm Jolly Acres greatly benefits from the extra food she receives through Loop.

"We save anywhere from $800 to $1500 a month in feed costs, we've been able to expand our farm. We have a better product coming off of our farm; we raise pigs here on our farm and the pork that we produce, being able to feed them the vegetables and the bread and the yogurt and the things that we're able to give them, just makes for such a better product," she said.

loop pigsEnjoying produce from the Loop program

"I actually have butchers that call me ask me what I feed my pigs cuz the meat is so red and so lovely that they want to know what goes into it."

The benefits to the farmer and environment are obvious, but it's not just them who benefits. The grocery stores involved benefit because farmers will come pick up the expired or unsellable food, so they don't have to pay for garbage pickup. As for the animals, Appleman explained they absolutely love the variety of food they get.

"They come running (when I bring the Loop food boxes), I don't know if you've ever seen a pig run, but it is crazy. They jump on their hind legs, they want that stuff, they're excited to see it, they're excited to see you."

Loop is a weekly pickup program for farmers, and as long as they're willing to make the drive the food is free! For Appleman, she said the feed lasts about five days for her, although she's hoping to make it last for seven. Depending on the size of the farm, they could receive anywhere from 15-100 boxes of food.

"Not only are we doing what's right and good for our environment, our community, we are helping people and it's really incredible."

loop boxWithout the Loop Resource program, it's likely all of this would've gone to a landfill, rather than be put to good use

Beyond giving the expired food to animals, Appleman added Loop and the farmers involved get creative with the other materials involved. For example, some farmers use the boxes the food comes in as nesting boxes, or clam shells turned into paint trays for schools. 

If you want to get involved in the Loop Resource program, or want to learn more, you can visit their website here.

loop truckLiteral truckloads of food for the animals

loop truck

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