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Recycled Halloween pumpkins feed Colorado farm animals

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PARKER, Colo. — On a dirt road in rural Parker, Colorado, a blue pickup truck drives toward Peachy Farms, a farm animal rescue, education and therapy center. The bed of the truck is piled high with bright orange Halloween pumpkins. Behind the wheel is Mimi Nouri. 

Nouri is the founder of Garden to Farm, a nonprofit that seeks to prevent food waste by providing local farms with excess produce from residential gardens. 

Once she arrives, Katrina Wright, owner and operator of Peachy Farms, starts cutting up the pumpkins. She is surrounded by over 100 animals including pigs, goats, llamas, alpacas, horses, emus, ducks, chickens, quail, and more. The have been receiving produce deliveries from Nouri for about a month.

Nouri started Garden to Farm in the early summer of 2021, as the result of an apple tree in her backyard producing an abundance of apples. She was inspired to do something to prevent the apples from going to waste.

“Why am I not donating this and helping the smaller, rural farming communities that we have here in Colorado,” she thought. 

Nouri started making calls to local farms, and the response was overwhelmingly positive. Four farms in the area welcomed the extra produce as feed for their animals.

“[The farms] were like, ‘We love it, we need the help, please bring it to us,'” recalls Nouri.

Nouri wants to make as big an impact as possible. She posted on neighborhood networking app Next Door, Facebook, and Instagram, asking neighbors to donate their excess garden produce as well.

Then, she thought ahead to fall and Halloween. 

“I knew we were going to have tons of pumpkins,” she says. She put out another post asking neighbors for their carved pumpkins, even offering to pick them up herself.

“On Halloween night, my phone blew up,” says Nouri. She has collected over 50 pumpkins to donate.

Peachy Farm is grateful for the extra food, especially now.

“This time of year is when it slows way down,” says Wright. “Our volunteers disappear, our funds get depleted, and so it’s great to have food come in to feed [the animals], because it gets very costly, very fast.”

Nouri is thrilled to see the animals enjoying the pumpkins that would have otherwise been discarded. Preventing food waste is central to the mission of Garden to Farm.

“It’s just a small person like me trying to make a big difference in the world, but it’s one step at a time,” says Nouri. “I cannot believe what our future will hold if we continue to live at the pace that we are.”

If you live in the Lonetree, Parker and Highlands Ranch area and would like to donate excess produce, you can find more information here.


Alexis Kikoen as a multimedia journalist with Rock Mountain PBS. You can reach her by email at alexiskikoen@rmpbs.org or on Instagram @alexiskikoen.

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