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CCAT Compost Pigs

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Composting is a sustainable way to reduce waste. Pigs can be used to digest food waste <see diet> and create high quality manure for fertilizer.

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Project goals[edit]

Describe project goals here. Utilize Pigs for Food Waste Control and Soil Remediation in an Urban Homestead.

The student-funded Campus Center for Appropriate Technology has existed since 1978 to provide a field laboratory for the HSU student body’s academic pursuit of sustainability. Among other related efforts, CCAT facilitates the for-credit ENVS 123, Urban Homesteading, class to explore “hands on…alternative approaches to agriculture” using “permaculture principles.” According to author of “Pig Tales”, Barry Estabrook, 97% of the pigs raised in America are confined in buildings and raised in arguably inhumane environments, with concentrations of fecal waste that threaten groundwater and surface water quality. To teach a more sustainable and humane alternative, CCAT proposes to build a shelter, automatic waterer and fencing to maintain two small (40 lb. grown up to 100 lb.), heirloom variety “Kune Kune” pigs for one semester before they are professionally harvested in accordance with IACUC Euthanasia Procedures (e.g. by Matt Shaw, 2nd generation local mobile livestock harvester). The goal is to teach students how small, tame pigs can be sustainably, and humanely integrated into a urban homesteading for waste management and food production.

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Methods[edit]

The foundation of animal care will be compliance with “Guide for the Care and Use of Agricultural Animals in Research and Teaching (2010),” which provides exact standards for feeding and housing agricultural pigs. Nutrient requirements will exceed the specifications listed in “Nutrient Requirements of Swine” (2012) referenced in the “Guide for the Care and Use of Agricultural Animals in Research and Teaching”(2010).

In addition to the published standards, all three current CCAT Co-Directors have studied porcine caretaking at Tule Fog Farm in the Arcata Bottoms (co-founded in 2005 by former CCAT Co-Director Sean Armstrong and former CCAT Gardener Shail Pec-Crouse), which diverts pre-consumer waste from Los Bagels and Bittersweet Pies and sells back processed pork lard for Bittersweet Pies’ pie crusts. Current Co-Director Jacob Gellatly has studied intensively for six months at Tule Fog Farm, performing daily animal caretaking chores two to four days a week, from birthing through harvest, and will be the expert with primary animal caretaking responsibilities, including twice-a-day welfare checks. Similar to Tule Fog Farm’s waste diversion, CCAT will collect pre-consumer waste daily from The Marketplace kitchen in dedicated, labeled and clean buckets during the academic year. Pre-consumer food waste will be fed daily to two Kune Kune pigs in their enclosure in two bowls, with water provided in automatically filled dishes.

The livestock enclosure will be 4’ high, built with 4x4 posts and 2x4s and 2x6s lateral boards. The wood will be unpainted to prevent pigs from ingesting paint or varnish if they chew on the fencing. The small shelter will use a standing seam steel roof, with colors to match the HSU color themes of yellow walls and clay-orange roofing. The ground will be covered in straw, maintained weekly for freshness. Straw bales will be placed at the south end of the enclosure to absorb stormwater, if any, that could leave the enclosure. Per the “Guide for the Care and Use of Agricultural Animals in Research and Teaching (2010),” each <250 lb. pig will have more than the 8 square feet minimum of enclosure required.

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