Former Halloween pumpkins become meals for people and pigs

Published Nov. 2, 2021 6:34 p.m. ET

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OTTAWA -- With Halloween over, many pumpkins are being put into the green bin, but some have a new purpose.

An Ottawa organization has collected pumpkins to feed livestock and to make meals for a non-profit group.

“People are donating their intact pumpkins and their carved pumpkins,” says Marianne Ariganello, a volunteer on the executive with the Ottawa South Eco-Action Network.

Ariganello says by midday on Tuesday, they had collected an estimated 600 pumpkins.

“As an environmental group, we love the fact of them being reused, but we didn’t like emissions of people driving 20 to 30 kilometres for one pumpkin; it didn’t seem to be a very effective use of gas and time.”

They organized multiple gathering locations throughout Ottawa, then brought all of the pumpkins to Ernie Calcutt Park, near Mooney’s Bay.

“It’s very fun. We’ve had so many people come, walk by, and look at their favourites. The kids love it.”

The pumpkins are now gone; they’ve been donated to farms and a non-profit organization.

“A pumpkin is pretty heavy, 20, 30 pounds is a big pumpkin, and they enjoy it,” says George Wright, who is feeding the pumpkins to his pigs at his Metcalfe farm called Castor River Farm.

“They’re funny. One will notice, and they’ll eat quietly but, after a while, they all realize someone found something and they all run over.”

The intact or uncarved pumpkins have been donated to Food for Thought, a non-profit organization that will prepare a meal for those who are in need, those without a kitchen, or those who cannot cook.

“It’s a several thousand dollar value for us,” says Sylvain De Margerie, Food for Thought founder and president. “We prepare a thousand meals every day, and they (the pumpkins) will be our meal this Friday,” he says.

This year’s pumpkin collection is now done. 

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