From Garbage to Grub

University Beyond Bars (UBB), a non-profit organization that facilitates education at the Washington State Reformatory, is partnering with the Sustainable Practices Lab at the prison to develop a project for converting food waste into livestock feed. This project is conceived, designed and will be implemented by incarcerated individuals in collaboration with an amazing group of scientists and educators who have agreed to donate their time to this project.

The Sustainable Practices Lab (SPL) is a very special place. Many people who tour the program are amazed to find incarcerated individuals who are also passionate environmentalists and work extremely hard to reduce the environmental impact of the prison as well as influence their community and world. They have built a program that converts up to 30,000 lbs. of institutional food waste a month using worms, bokashi and fly larva! They also regularly build worm bins, conduct training and supply worms and castings to other non-profits.

Recently, SPL technicians have developed innovative methods for converting food waste into chicken and fish feed using Black Soldier Larva. This project has tremendous potential for impacting ocean fish depletion which is a critical problem facing the world. 90% of global fish stocks are fully or over exploited annually. (FAO 2014)

We want to design a prototype scalable Black Soldier Fly Unit that is capable of onsite conversion of food waste into high protein fish and poultry feed that could be used at schools, restaurants, prisons etc. Anywhere that post-consumer food waste is produced.

The SPL operates with little or no budget and the incarcerated technicians have gotten quite talented at using recycled and discarded items to create their systems. Creating a prototype unit will allow them to conduct trials and prove out their concept. It will also allow us to demonstrate the technology and raise funds for developing a full-scale research and development project.

Financé par Seattle, WA (August 2019)