What is Recovery?

Recovery is a food system component that AERO founders understood well. They made renewable energy part of sustainable farming systems from the beginning.

Every part of any system has remainders, and food systems are no different: be it orchard prunings, harvest remains, food processing scraps, distribution residue, or meal leftovers. The more we recover and reuse these remainders, the more sustainable the system. Reused, these remainders now are locally accessible, renewable inputs for the system.

Recovery is what makes our food system diagram a wheel, instead of a line that ends with waste products.

Recovered food, wood remainders and harvest residue all are inputs for compost or vermiculture, critical ingredients for quality food production.  Harvest “seconds” or surplus can be inputs for value-added food products like specialty fermented vegetables, including kim chi, pickles and sauerkrauts. Seed saving is another harvest remainder that, when recovered, significantly enhances food system sustainability.  What other ways can you think of?

Featured Abundant Montana Vendors Who Participate in Recovery

Farmer Bob Quinn was looking to reduce his fuel inputs on his farm. He settled on safflower, whose oil can be used in diesel engines. First, though, The Oil Barn sells the high quality cold-pressed oil to restaurants as a high-grade cooking oil, then they recover the used cooking oil and put THAT in the tractors. The pulp remainder from the oil pressings? That’s a sought-after skin care exfoliant!

Farmented Foods grew out of an MSU Design Sandbox and Engaged Learning class funded by a Montana Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Grant. The class asked teams of multidisciplinary students the question, “How can we make use of ‘ugly veggies’ that don’t make the grade for market?”

Terrapin Farm grows and sells certified organic produce, with over 275 varieties of vegetables, including specialty peppers and pumpkins. Owner Judy Owsowitz curates her favorite varieties by saving the seed, selecting for traits important for her local climate, including cold tolerance and cold soil emergence.

Recovery Examples

Check out talk #2 from 2019 AERO Expo, Bozeman, MT

Seeding the Future: Youth Wisdom & Food, in partnerhsip with Open & Local. Pecha-kucha-style talk: Ugly Vegetable Certified by Vanessa Williamson

Moving Forward: Food System Innovation for Resilient Communities, AERO Expo 2019

This session explores innovative opportunities in processing & food waste recovery to enhance local food systems.

Facilitator Trevor Huffmaster (MSU Blackstone Launchpad) will draw on panelists to discuss why locally accessible, renewable inputs make a community food system more resilient.

Featuring Vanessa Williamson & Vanessa Walsten (Co-owners of Farmented Foods, Bozeman) Michael McCormick (Livingston Food Resource Center), Ryan & Adrienne Green (Happy Trash Can Curbside Compost), and Alissa LaChance (Dirt Rich Compost, Whitefish)

Alternative Energy Resources Organization

Mailing address: PO Box 1558, Helena MT 59624-1558

Physical address: 32 S Ewing St #314, Helena MT 59601