Food Waste to Bunny Taste: Demonstrating the benefits of rabbit manure in building healthy soil and climate resilience in urban environments.

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2024: $29,981.00
Projected End Date: 02/15/2026
Grant Recipient: Rad Bunnies
Region: North Central
State: Missouri
Project Coordinator:
Mina Aria
Rad Bunnies


No commodities identified


No practices identified

Proposal summary:

Food waste and organic waste
across the food supply chain contributes to environmental impacts
such as: climate change, soil degradation, air pollution, and
climate change. According to the “Draft National Strategy for
Reducing Food Loss and Waste and Recycling Organics” released on
December 2, 2023 as a joint effort on behalf of the USDA, EPA,
and FDA, food waste is the single most common material found in
landfills and is responsible for 58% of landfill methane
emissions released to the atmosphere. Based on outreach and
surveys we have conducted, new and beginning urban farmers and
ranchers in the St. Louis region are seeking education and
training on innovative and cost-effective practices to build soil
health as many are growing on vacant lots and in need of soil
amendments. We are seeking to provide education to new and
beginning, small-scale urban farmers and ranchers on sustainable
agriculture solutions that build soil health and climate

Project objectives from proposal:

This project focuses on providing
education and demonstrations to new and beginning urban farmers
and ranchers on how to build sustainable farming and ranching
operations by: 1.) diverting food waste and organic waste from
landfills and converting it into animal food for rabbits; and 2.)
utilizing rabbit manure to build urban soil health. Through this
practice, urban farmers and ranchers can contribute to reducing
methane gas emissions and building climate resilience through
recovering nutrients to be reintroduced into the soil through
rabbit manure. We seek to demonstrate how rabbits can add value
to small-scale urban farming and ranching operations and soil
health in urban environments as rabbits are natural composters
and aid in the food waste and organic waste recycling process.
This practice can benefit farmers and ranchers by reducing rabbit
food expenses and providing an alternative to synthetic
fertilizers while building soil health. This project will include
5 educational workshop and demonstration field days hosted at New
Roots Urban Farm’s demonstration site for new and beginning
farmers and ranchers to receive education on recycling food waste
and organic waste through composting and conversion to animal
feed; raising rabbits with proper care and housing; introducing
rabbit manure into urban soil; and examining and measuring soil
structure. We will utilizing teaching methods such as hands on
demonstrations on: utilizing proper tools for working with food
waste and organic waste; how to install housing and shelter for
rabbits that is safe, appropriately spaced, and protected from
inclement weather; how to clean rabbit housing; how to sort and
safely feed rabbits food waste and ensure their food, water, and
nutritional needs are met; how to properly care for the health of
rabbits and prevent against disease and parasites; and how to set
up rabbit manure collection system; and methods for reentering
rabbit manure into soil. Educational workshops will include: Soil
Health 101; building a community engagement plan to increase your
operation’s intake of food waste and organic waste; and building
a rabbit raising and care plan. Teaching methods will also
include individual technical assistance and mentorship to farmers
and ranchers seeking to implement these practices in their
operations. All workshop and demonstration field days will be
supplemented by physical handouts and resource guides. All
workshop and demonstration field days will include a pre survey
detailing their knowledge levels on the topic and a post survey
where participants will provide feedback on: the relevance of the
information presented, their interest and likelihood of adopting
practices in their operations, and an option to request for
follow up technical assistance. Farmers and ranchers receiving
technical assistance on implementing practices will be asked to
complete a pre- and post-survey around the engagement. We will
use the following materials in this project: rakes, shovels,
gloves, hand trowels, leaf blower, organic waste bags, wood and
leaf mulcher, rabbit hutches, rabbit feeders, rabbit water
bottles, rabbit manure collection troughs. 


1. Evaluate the usefulness of
rabbit manure in soil quality/health.  

2. Evaluate increase in knowledge
and intention of new and beginning and small-scale urban farmers
and ranchers in raising rabbits to build urban soil

3. Install 24 hr food waste and
organic waste drop off location, the first of its kind in North
St. Louis City.  

4. Share findings through
consistent documentation and outreach and two conference


Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.