So the project’s over. Finally.
We go out to this new restaurant around the corner for a celebratory meal. The food is “locally sourced” (whatever that means), organic, free-range, all that, and priced to match. Not the most intern-budget friendly option.
As I gaze down on the menu, I catch bits and pieces of my co-workers’ conversations.
“Oh, I love this place. Everything’s locally grown by the way. I love the chicken here…” (before getting distracted by the wine list)
“Gluten-free pasta. Done.”
“Do you think I could get them to make this vegan for me?”
It was a scene straight out of Portlandia, if Portland suddenly became the Bay Area.
The place was filling up quickly: the staff was bustling, our neighboring tables were busy instagramming their plates. And then, I made the fatal mistake: I asked what “farm to table” actually meant.
I felt like I said Voldemort’s name or something. Our table hushed, fell silent for two beats, until one of my coworkers started gushing about how great it is to be eating local; locally grown produce and meats, from local farms, from local farmers.
The farm-to-table movement has grown tremendously in the recent years, gaining popularity from self-proclaimed locavores and the like. And I have to admit, it’s an idyllic dream of my dinner: my spinach freshly plucked from a rich loam, my chickens clucking around aimlessly in the sun (oops, sorry about that…), my tomatoes lovingly placed into their wooden bassinet.
The farm to table dream is wonderful, I admit…but, what happens after the table? What happens to all the leftover food waste? For the most part, it gets forgotten, shoveled into dumpsters that line allies, and then carted off to landfills, incinerators. But food rots. And when food rots, it gets smelly, nasty, rank. The offensive smells accompany the food’s decomposition, which also produces methane. A lot of methane.
So what can we do? The way I see it, these locavores should be getting their energy locally too, right?
Well, just like how we can harvest methane and bio-gas to produce electricity from cow’s “leftovers,” might it be possible to harvest methane from the restaurant industry’s food waste?
A similar thing has happened in China, where villagers “hack” into the nearby company pipelines, siphoning off natural gas. Where there’s a will, there’s a way…
Interested in making your own? Alibaba’s beat us to it.
BuildingSatire is a blog consisting of architectural satire, cynicism, and humor to alleviate the tension and pretension in professional architecture.