(Photo by Adam Chandler / Flickr)
Yes, it’s a thing.
You’d never know it from looking at their website, but Moto Perpetuo Farm in Oregon does a whole lot more than grow beautiful buds. The family farm, located outside Portland, provided organic vegetables and meat to high-end restaurants in the Portland area for more than two decades before getting into the cannabis business. So when they started cultivating weed, they wanted to get creative about repurposing all the waste that comes along with that. Their solution? Feed the excess weed to their pigs, of course.
“I’m not a pot farmer, I’m a farmer and this is an active and important part of a diverse agricultural system,” Moto Perpetuo Owner Dave Hoyle told Eater on a recent tour of his farm.
The decision isn’t just about sustainability. The cannabis plants and stalks, which make up roughly 20 percent of what the pigs eat on the farm, make for a healthy diet and, thus, tastier pork. In the Eater episode, Brent Young and Ben Turley of Brooklyn-based butcher The Meat Shop try the pork, prepared at the rustic eatery Imperial. Unlike pork typically purchased from grocery stores, which is a pale pink color, the meat is a deep red, like a raw steak. You can tell it had a healthy life, Young and Turley note.
Anna Dilger, associate professor of meat science at the University of Illinois, told AG Web that “feeding byproducts of the legal marijuana industry is of interest to many.”
The pigs at Moto Perpetuo don’t get high from feeding on the weed as they have similar endocannabinoid systems to humans and the THC in raw cannabis needs to be decarboxylated for it to become psychoactive. That being said, according to Dilger, there is interest in giving pigs the waste from making edibles too, which would get them high. While there’s no research on it, she says it could make the pork tastier by increasing the feed intake of the pigs (aka the edibles would give them the munchies).
Hoyle recognizes that, for now, he’ll be getting publicity because the whole concept is, well, frankly, hilarious. But he also hopes it opens a conversation about what’s happening to all the cannabis waste that’s not being smoked. For now, in Oregon, he can only repurpose the cannabis that comes from his farm on his farm. As of April, however, there were 963 cannabis farms in the state with another 910 awaiting approval—and most of them don’t have pigs.
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