Each year, 119 billion pounds of food is wasted in the U.S., almost 40% of our food supply.  (feedingamerica.org, June, 2023). Bountiful Basket Food Shelf in Chaska helps families and individuals in surrounding communities with food insecurity.  We also help to feed the pigs and chickens and not throw the food we cannot give to people in landfills!  That’s right, when we have food that is no longer able to be distributed by the food shelf for a variety of reasons, Bill B., a local chicken and sometimes, pig farmer stops by and takes what we have left over.

Bill has about 250 chickens including momma chickens, baby chicks and roosters.  He said the chickens see his truck and knows he’s coming with Bountiful Basket food and they come running!   Bill’s chickens are free range and roam where they want on his property. They are well taken care of and get to feast on much of the food the Bountiful Basket provides.

While Bill grows his own corn for the chickens and they also eat grass and greens for antioxidants and cancer prevention, he said the chickens and pigs eat just about anything – meat, cheese, lettuce.  They particularly love  grapes, tuna salad and deli sandwiches, expired for people but still good for the chickens!  He even peels the bananas and feeds them to the chickens. They love people food! However, the chickens are not fond of eggplant, oranges, limes or lemons.  Apple, squash and watermelon seasons are great, as they are always in abundance from the food shelf.

One of the funniest things to watch is when Bill gets cupcakes with green or orange icing.  The chickens love frosting and they get it all over their face.

Bill stops by the Bountiful Basket almost every day and takes home food that is slightly expired, too much to give out by expiration date or not quite good for human consumption.  The food for the chickens provides critical nutrients including calcium.  Bill and the Bountiful Basket team also feel good that the food is not going in a landfill but is providing nourishment for the chickens.  These chickens sure are fortunate to have Bill and the Bountiful Basket Food Shelf to help provide their meals!