GrubTubs: Supporting local farmers by transforming food waste into nutrient-rich animal feed

GrubTubs is a food waste initiative supporting small farms across Texas by turning food waste into economical animal feed.

GrubTubs collects food from restaurants before it turns into waste and uses it to help local farmers turn it into sustainable and affordable animal feed.

The food waste project started in Austin to redefine food waste as an economic opportunity rather than an economic loss and disrupt food, energy, and waste systems across the United States. Instead of heading to the landfill, the food

Animal feed is the single largest operating expense, accounting for approximately 60-70% of total costs. Feed costs are even higher than labour for American farmers.

According to a study by the conservation charity WWF, the vast scale of growing crops such as soy to rear chickens, pigs and other animals puts an enormous strain on natural resources leading to the wide-scale loss of land and species.

Intensive and industrial animal farming also results in less nutritious food, highlighting that six intensively reared chickens today have the same amount of omega-3 as found in just one chicken in the 1970s.

Animal feed accounts for nearly 70% of the farm acreage in the United States. As the country continues to face food security and access issues and small farmers struggle to compete with multinational farming companies, GrubTubs aims to be part of the solution.

GrubTubs say: “American farmers prefer to grow food without chemicals and oil dependencies, but most of them can’t completely commit to this practice because they are required to economically compete with global and multinational farming practices. As a result, most family farms have been sold for real estate development or foreclosed on by banks due to unprofitability and insurmountable debt.

“What if the solution was just a simple integration between our cities and our farms?”

How it works is that restaurants store leftover food in proprietary air-tight, sanitised tubs, allowing GrubTubs to preserve nutrients for animal feed. GrubTubs then pick up tubs from restaurants and take them to the farm, where a large team of insect grubs help to turn the food waste into nutrient rich food which chickens, pigs and fish can eat.

By diverting waste from landfills and improving business economics for small farmers, GrubTubs says it is creating a “synchronicity between food, energy, and waste cycles”.


Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea



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