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Grow, Eat, Repeat: Local company makes the most out of food waste

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AS WE begin step into the newest age of our food industry, I am starting to notice more and more people bring focus and attention towards not only the quality of ingredients we are putting in our bodies, but where those ingredients are coming from.

Our collective consciousness is done turning a blind eye towards how our food is being manufactured, because the negative effects that are a result of this mass negligence are truly baffling.

It has come time for us as a society to begin to pool our energy towards being active participants in this food community; as we continue to educate and help others participate in facilitating a more sustainable food industry that will benefit not just the now, but also the future.

We have to study how our ancestors engaged with food and their food waste, eons before corporations had an opportunity to corput its soul. We have to become more accountable for not just what we put in our bodies and where it comes from, but also what we are doing with our food after we’re “done.”

Most of us don’t think about where our fruit peels and egg shells go after they are tossed in the trash, or the magnitude of the impact that decision has on our environment.

We have been conditioned to remain detached from that aspect of our food, and it’s our job to stop that cycle, so that we can create a better one.

We’ve really got to get down on our knees and stick our hands in the dirt.

Grow, Eat, Repeat is a young company that has built a business around the simple yet complex task of managing our waste and putting it towards something that can help us in the future. Grow, Eat, Repeat will come to your restaurant or residence for a small fee to pick up your organic food waste and maintain it, as it transitions into high powered organic fertilizer to be mixed in your soil.

I got a chance to sit down with my friend and founder of Grow, Eat, Repeat, Andy Schwartz about how he got started, and how he sees the growth of his business impacting the industry around him.

“I grew up working on farms so I personally understand the necessity for quality soil. The differences are tangible when you see produce grown in healthy soil. It is the most important part in my eyes,” Andy says.

“Unfortunately, we have grown detached from our food because our society has conditioned us to want quick results,” Andy explains.

“But, I have seen Savannah’s food industry create a tremendous amount of growth towards getting behind this sustainable movement.”

And he’s right. I’m proud to say Savannah’s kitchens have become more aware of their waste, and are beginning to buy into the thought of giving back as a part of their infrastructure.

Great tasting produce is a calculated process that takes tons of preparation and hard work. Ask any farmer or person with the smallest ounce of agricultural knowledge what the most important aspect to growing fruitful produce is; 9 times out of 10 they will tell you healthy soil.

Compost acts as fuel for your soil, as the microscopic organism aerate and break down the organic material for your plants to absorb. This helps the plants ward off disease and allow the soil to retain moisture. We have to embrace the culture of composting just like we do recycling, in order to start to see a change in this broken cycle of food most of us are currently participating in.

- photo by Melissa DeLynn

One of the most satisfying parts of this small gesture of separating your organic waste instead of throwing it in the trash, is that it will immediately make an impact on our planet. Otherwise this organic waste spoils in landfills, emitting a significant amount of methane gas into our atmosphere.

If we had someone to provide the buckets, pick them up, and provide a little kick back for our gardens, that would make our decision even easier, right?

That’s where “Grow, Eat, Repeat” comes in. It all starts and ends with education.

A good way to test the waters is to visit their website and print off their helpful graphic providing a look into what is safe to compost and what is not. Then just try it for a week on your own.

“It starts with education and being aware of how to participate in the process,” Andy adds.

It’s organizations like this that leave me excited for the future ahead. We’ve dug ourselves into a hole in certain aspects, but I believe our ingenuity will lead us to the promised land.

With more and more of our collective becoming active participants in our future, and sustainability masters programs at local universities, we are setting the stage for an abundance of opportunity. Maybe our future could one day exist with community market memberships that contain access to seasonal locally grown produce.

With products and organizations in place that can show you how much you are wasting and will actually do something with that food waste; like feed the hungry. Making the knowledge and tools readily accessible are the next step in seeing this cycle grow.

Sometimes you’ve got to really bury your elbows in dirt in order to turn that pot. Let’s feed our souls, people.