If you’ve ever wondered what happens to the 500 jack-o’-lanterns that line the steps of Old Morrison post-PumpkinMania, wonder no more. This year’s pumpkins have been repurposed by local farmer Kenya Abraham as medicinal feed for her family’s livestock. “Pumpkins are a great natural dewormer,” she said. “This is a great opportunity for us because we now have pumpkins for our livestock for the fall deworming.”
In future years, Abraham plans to reuse not only the pumpkin shells, but also the flesh and seeds which are removed prior to carving, ensuring that no part of the fruit is wasted.
As the owner of Slak Market Farm in Lexington, Abraham runs a raw milk micro dairy and participates in relationship farming. “We’re all about regenerative soil and sustainability on our farm,” she said. “Everything we do is a complete circle of life, so it’s all about making sure that our soil is the best soil for our food management and for our livestock.”
Abraham first learned about PumpkinMania through her connection with Ashley C. Smith, co-owner and CEO of Black Soil KY. Smith is involved throughout the life cycle of PumpkinMania, working both with Abraham as well as with the farmer who grew the pumpkins, Travis Cleaver of Cleav’s Family Market.
“PumpkinMania is such a fun Lexington tradition,” Smith said. “One, it brings the community onto campus. It allows folks to learn more about the programs, the services, the connectivity to Lexington from Transy.”
It is also a tradition that gives back even after the jack-o’-lanterns go dark. “Nothing is going to waste, and those animals on [Abraham’s] farm are able to enjoy these deliciously decorated pumpkins after PumpkinMania is all said and done,” Smith said.
Watch the video above for more information about the sustainability efforts associated with this annual event.