Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

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

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)

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)

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

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 70 new cases overnight

The total number of cases in the region is now at 1,426

An employee of the Adventure Hotel was taken to hospital on Nov. 20 after she confronted a customer of Empire Coffee about not wearing a mask. File photo.
Nelson hotel employee suffers heart attack after being assaulted in anti-mask incident

An accountant at the Adventure Hotel is in hospital in Kelowna

Group fitness classes are on hold at the Nelson and District Community Complex. File photo
Group fitness classes cancelled at Nelson, Salmo rec centres

Parking enforcement is also coming to the Nelson and District Community Complex

Nearly 4,000 magazine are available to be read digitally through the Nelson Public Library. Photo: Tracey Therrien
CHECK THIS OUT: The internet before the internet

From Avi Silberstein at the Nelson library

A man wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of COVID-19 walks in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest day of pandemic with 13 deaths, 738 new COVID-19 cases

Number of people in hospital is nearing 300, while total cases near 30,000

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

(File photo)
Alberta woman charged after allegedly hitting boy with watermelon at Okanagan campsite

Police say a disagreement among friends at an Adams Lake campsite turned ugly

Court of Appeal for British Columbia in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. woman loses appeal to have second child by using late husband’s sperm

Assisted Human Reproduction Act prohibits the removal of human reproductive material from a donor without consent

Krista Macinnis displays the homework assignment that her Grade 6 daughter received on Tuesday. (Submitted photo)
B.C. mom angry that students asked to list positive stories about residential schools

Daughter’s Grade 6 class asked to write down 5 positive stories or facts

B.C. projects targeting the restoration of sockeye salmon stocks in the Fraser and Columbia Watersheds will share in $10.9 million of federal funding to protect species at risk. (Kenny Regan photo)
13 projects protecting B.C. aquatic species at risk receive $11 million in federal funding

Salmon and marine mammals expected to benefit from ecosystem-based approach

Barrels pictured outside Oliver winery, Quinta Ferreira, in May. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
B.C. Master of Wine reflects on industry’s teetering economic state

Pandemic, for some wine makers, has been a blessing in disguise. For others, not so much.

Most Read