At Roadhouse, where dinners are often cooked communally and a community garden is right next door, most food ends up useful in one way or another. Food enters the house through a variety of means — chain groceries and farmer’s markets mostly, but eggs come from a local farmer and a certain amount is harvested from the garden. After meals are eaten, leftovers are packed, and occasionally the stalks and scraps of plants are frozen to be made into vegetable stock. The rest is returned to the garden as compost.
Once it hits the compost pile, which is rarely more than a few days after it is used, residents layer their leftovers with horse bedding for added nutrients and volume. There it rests, along with clippings from the yard, for upwards of a year until the community spreads it back over the garden.
This is the beginning — or perhaps the middle — of chapter one of a new project, following food as it leaves the table and enters a new journey back to the earth. Along the way, helping hands shuffle this waste into useful tracks, allowing this precious resource to be consumed to its full potential instead of ending up stagnant in a landfill or worse. In small communities like Roadhouse and massive productions like commercial farms and cafeterias, people are working to reduce food waste through redistribution and reuse.