When Michael Amadori first told friends and family he was starting a company that made dog food out of trash, more than one eyebrow was raised. Now, founder and CEO of Full Circle Feed, Amadori is allaying those former doubts.
It all started with fish food.
While working on his M.S. thesis in Ecological Engineering, Amadori (a graduate of SUNY ESF), was looking at fixing the “food desert” problem, defined as urban neighborhoods and rural towns without ready access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food (according to the USDA).
His idea is to step in and grab the leftovers that institutions regularly throw away (prisons, casinos, universities, etc.) and change that into something useful.
Amadori first created fish food from human food waste, successfully raising tilapia with food leftovers originally meant for human consumption. His pug, Scooter, got a hold of some of the fish food and loved it. This set the tables to turn in another direction.
Now, Amadori’s company makes dog treats that are safe enough to be eaten by humans. “They’re good with a little bit of humus,” he laughs.
Much of the time, he explains, a chicken is raised solely to make dog treats. “Why do that when we can save our energy and time by using food that is already produced?” he said. The company name, Full Circle Feed, exemplifies how we can create closed loop systems for food production resulting in decreased waste and stopping the flow of food waste to landfills.
Full Circle Feed also plans on expanding to cat treats based on fish food waste, heat waste, and other recycling initiatives. His Full Circle business plan won a student business competition while he was at ESF and in 2013 was selected to receive a $30,000 investment by Startup Labs, enabling him to buy a truck, doggie bags, and many other items his business needed to get off the ground.
After a year of being in business, the company breaks even but Amadori has big plans on expanding the work they are doing.
Michael Amadori is the first guest on the “The Next Best Thing: Stories About Innovation” a podcast which broadcasts this Thursday, March 5. Tune in for the first show on SyracuseNewTimes.com for a more in depth discussion on Amadori’s journey as an entrepreneur.
Visit Full Circle Feed’s website: www.FullCircleFeed.com