Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Matilda the nanny, Petunia the pig, and Eeyore the mini-donkey, are just a few of the animals growing strong and healthy at Rainbow Recovery Farm thanks, in part, to the forward-thinking people running the Trail Beer Refinery.

That’s because ever since the brewing began, all the spent grains have been donated to the Casino farm, as well as to other growers and producers in the area.

How it works, is every few Fridays, Rick Malcolm makes a trip into town from his recovery farm in Casino and parks behind the Refinery, outside the bay door. From the huge beer-making vats, he fills up wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow of steaming grains then rolls the bounty through the back of the brewery and unloads it into the box of his pick up.

“There’s no alcohol in the barley (grain),” he began. “What happens is the heat draws out the sugars, but there is about 40 per cent left in there, and it’s still nutritious. So it’s a supplement that we mix with the feed, and all our animals really enjoy it.”

While he’s in town, Malcolm also stops by the Rossland Avenue food bank to pick up the pantry’s old bread so instead of that going into the garbage bin, it gets fed to the animals as well.

To show his appreciation, he brings in his honey and bacon for the Refinery folks to enjoy, and Malcolm donates his meat products back to the food bank and other non-profits like Sanctuary, a free after-school care program for kids ages 8-12.

“So when you think about it, this barley goes a long way throughout the community,” he reflected.

This valued eco-enterprise between business and community has been going on for a few years now, quietly benefiting so many.

So in recognition of Earth Day 2019, which is actually Monday, April 22, the Trail Times chose this unassuming relationship as a fitting example of how eco-smart actions reap huge rewards that reverberate throughout the city year-round.

Read more: Montrose girls lead by example

Read more: Trail farmers market wins best in B.C.

“We started with our first batch,” says the Refinery’s Mike Konkin. “We have never let even one bucket of spent grain go to the garbage.”

And that doesn’t mean the farmers are offered just a few buckets, or wheelbarrow-fuls, every few weeks.

Sometimes there is up to 1,000 kilograms of used grain that, if not given to producers and gardeners, would end up where it shouldn’t be – in the landfill.

“It is a massive amount of waste if not used in some other fashion,” said Konkin. “Pigs love it. It can be used as fertilizer, and we even have someone making dog treats from it.”

Even Konkin’s mom stops by on the occasional brewing day to pick up a few buckets of spent grain for her garden. She finds her flowers come up even brighter when the grain is mulched in with other composted organics.

“My husband figured that one out,” said Gail Konkin, with a smile.

On a bigger scale, there’s another waste reduction project – called organics waste diversion – that is picking up steam in the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB).

Over the years, locals may recall hearing about the plan for curbside pick up of certain food scraps. This would mean that countless kilos of organics could be re-purposed – like a big regional compost – instead of being dumped in the landfill and left to rot alongside household garbage that may not have re-use value.

Last week the regional board approved, in principle, “the partnership with the Regional District of Central Kootenay in that the RDKB will supply and/or direct collected organic food waste from the McKelvey Creek Watershed to the Central Landfill facility once the organics processing infrastructure is constructed and operational and by no later than the end of 2022.”

What does this mean in laymen’s terms?

“The committee just approved a two- phase plan,” clarified Trail Coun. Robert Cacchioni, the city’s regional director.

“One is to update the Grand Forks facility to accommodate all the (organic) waste from the boundary area,” he explained.

“The second phase is to partner with central Kootenay with an application to provide organic diversion to the East End.”

This recommendation will be going to the board on April 24.

“… diversion will eliminate about 40 per cent of the waste going into the East End landfill and this will extend the life of the landfill by 40 per cent,” Cacchioni said.

“The committee has done considerable work and has committed to moving the project ahead as soon as possible. It’s something the residents have asked for for a long time … the extension of the landfill lifetime will save millions of dollars for future residents not only of the East End but of the entire regional district.”

Earth Day is an annual event celebrated on April 22. Worldwide, various events are held to demonstrate support for environmental protection. First celebrated in 1970, Earth Day now includes recognition in more than 193 countries.



newsroom@trailtimes.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Rick Malcolm, owner of Rainbow Recovery Farm in Casino. (Sheri Regnier photo)

Helping to unload spent grains is one of the many jobs for Sheri Konkin on brewing days at the Trail Beer Refinery. (Sheri Regnier photo)

Instead of going into the garbage bin, old bread from the Trail food bank literally goes to the pigs instead. (Sheri Regnier photo)

Just Posted

Defense says burden of proof not met in double murder case against Oak Bay father

Closing statements begin in trial for man accused of killing daughters Christmas 2017

B.C. Ferries wants input on what a new Horseshoe Bay terminal might look like

Ferry corporation accepting feedback on terminal re-development design concepts until Oct. 13

Two years for cop car crusher

Man who crushed Nanaimo RCMP cars with stolen truck gets more jail time

Union says mediated negotiation with WFP has been ‘disappointing’

Striking forestry workers have been on picket lines since Canada Day

Teenage driver investigated in fatal Island motorcycle crash

Reynolds Secondary principal pens letter to parents saying supports available to students

VIDEO: Drone footage documents work to free salmon at Big Bar landslide

Video shows crews working to remove rocks and wood, and transporting salmon by helicopter

UPDATED: Hundreds gather to reflect and remember UVic students killed in bus crash

Campus community invited to reflect, support one another

B.C. dog breeder banned again after 46 dogs seized

The SPCA seized the animals from Terry Baker, 66, in February 2018

Three dogs found shot dead in Prince George ditch

The three adult dogs appeared to be well cared for before being found with gunshot wounds, BC SPCA says

Developers withdraw rezoning application for huge Parksville waterfront plan

IAG to create new draft after processing public feedback

Shipping container housing for homeless coming to Courtenay

Project is partnership of Comox Rotary and Dawn to Dawn and will help address housing needs

Judge quashes Victoria man’s appeal of 90 day weekend sentence for trafficking meth

Godofredo Narboneta Ruiz was the owner, driver of vehicle used to transport the drugs

Victoria police arrest man at gunpoint after two assaulted with a knife

The man was arrested Monday night after in incident in the 900-block of Pandora Ave.

Rick Mercer calls out Conservative candidate in B.C. for fake meme

‘Not true. All fake. Please Stop,’ tweeted Rick Mercer in response

Most Read