Saturday, 24 Oct 2020

Pumpkins for pigs: Jack-o’-lanterns take on new life for Nova Scotia livestock

Pumpkins carved for Halloween take on a new life in November for one Nova Scotia farmer, turning them into tasty treats for his livestock.

Melvin Burns has been collecting donations of fruits and vegetables from farmer markets for his animals since he first started his farm. But three years ago, he had a new idea: pumpkins for pigs.

“We started making Facebook posts saying, ‘Hey if you’re done with your jack-o’-lanterns, drop them off at the farm,’” said Burns.

“We really weren’t collecting many at that time and then we realized that we had to collect them, and people were willing to collect them on their properties and in their yards.”

For Burns, it’s a good way to make sure his livestock is well fed while the jack-o’-lanterns don’t go to waste.

Megan Jannex and her family were touched by the cause and decided they wanted to get involved last year.

“We thought it was a fantastic idea so we put out a sign and started collecting,” Jannex said.

A post of hers about the project went viral online and neighbourhoods from Halifax to Elmsdale, N.S., began taking part in the project.

This year, Jannex has collected nearly 1,000 pumpkins.

For Melvin, it’s a dream come true.

“It’s nice to see the community involvement and all the people that get involved, and especially the young children get involved and really have fun collecting pumpkins, knowing that they’re going to farm animals,” he said.

His efforts to re-purpose pumpkins even seem to be inspiring others across Canada.

“We even had someone contact us from Edmonton and say that he was so thankful for our post and that we inspired him to find a pig sanctuary near him to donate pumpkins to,” said Jannex.

She says she is grateful to the community members that have shared her post, dropped off pumpkins or even stopped by just to say hello.

As long as the pigs need pumpkins, her home will function as a drop-off point for the project.

Burns says he wants to get waste management companies involved next year and possibly increase the number of pumpkin drop-off points.

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