Entrepreneur makes, sells sustainable dog treats
Posted October 2014
When Michael Amadori's dog devoured some of the fish-feed pellets Amadori had made under the auspices of his business, Full Circle Feed, the business took off in a new direction.
Amdadori developed Full Circle Feed for his master's thesis in ecological engineering at ESF. He created fish-feed pellets using food that had been leftover from a campus dining hall then fed the pellets to fish in an aquaponic system. Water from the fish tank was pumped through a gravel bed to nourish vegetable crops and then clean water returned to the fish tank. From a waste product, three value-added goods were created: fish, vegetables and feed pellets for chickens.
His thesis was developed into a business after winning a student business competition with the venture title "Zero-Waste Food Processing." A hybrid urban farm/processing facility was the original vision. Besides creating fish feed for an aquaponic system, the plan called for chickens to be raised on the pellets created from the food leftovers.
However, the appetite of Amadori's 13-year-old pug, Scooter, changed those plans.
"He's not a very picky eater, so of course he ate it," said Amadori, who then gave the pellets to the dogs of friends and family to try. Those dogs also loved the treats, and Doggy Bag Treats was born.
Made from leftovers from the buffet at the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, N.Y., Doggy Bag Treats is the first product offered by Full Circle Feed. Amadori participated in Startup Labs Syracuse's three-week program that provided seed capital, mentorship and technical support entrepreneurs to help the company solidify its business model and approach investors.
Amadori, who graduated from ESF with a master's degree in ecological engineering in 2012 began working with Turning Stone Casino because there's no place near the casino to compost excess food so it all ends up in a landfill. To recycle some of that food, Amadori drops off bins Sunday morning and as the buffet changes throughout the day, casino staff fills the bins with the food from the buffet. On Sunday night, Amadori picks up the food to turn it into treats.
"The treats are made from high-quality food leftovers," he said. "It was food that was prepared but not served."
Since beginning Doggy Bag Treats in 2013, Amadori has kept 2,300 pounds of food out of landfills and produced more than 1,000 pounds of treats from collecting food once per month. "My hope is to grow big enough to take all their food," he said.
Production takes place at Madison Cortland ARC in Oneida. "I do all the food prep," Amadori said. "I sort out what's bad for dogs - grapes, onions, raisins, things like that. Then I grind it up, cook it, mix it with whole wheat flour and bake it." From there staff at the ARC weigh the treats and package them.
Before diving into the world of dog treats, Amadori researched what dogs can and can't eat. "I met with veterinarians and faculty from the Cornell Animal Health Diagnostic Center," he said. "I feel like I'm still a student, now I'm studying business along with animal health."
What Amadori learned is dogs can eat almost anything humans can eat. There are some foods that don't agree with a dog's digestive system though. "Grapes are a concern," he said. "And onions. No desserts are collected so there's no worry about chocolate or coffee."
"There aren't many people foods that are bad for dogs," he said.
"Ultimately, these treats are healthier than your conventional dog treats. In those, the ingredients are often are decreed not good enough to be used in hot dogs and include slaughterhouse byproducts, flour, cornmeal and soymeal that aren't human grade," he said. "Despite this being a recycled product, it's human-grade and fresh."
"The biggest challenge is getting the word out about the company," said Amadori. "I thought once I had this company I'd get a Facebook page and people were going to 'Like' me and things were just going to spread like wildfire but it takes time to build a following and get the word out. "
Doggy Bag Treats are available locally at a number of outlets in the Syracuse area or online at www.fullcirclefeed.com and can be found on Facebook at FullCircleFeed.
ESF Alumni Have an Impact
- Catholic Charities of Onondaga County: Staff Spotlight: Shewa Shwani and Food Connections
- 2019 Commencement: 'You Are My Family,' Student Speaker SaysESF celebrates 118th class of spring graduates
- ESF Alumna Leads Cannabis Team for Law FirmSara Payne answers call for cannabis-focused counsel
- Alumni Association Recognizes Outstanding Alumni2017 Graduates of Distinction Award Recipients
- Mortarboards Fly and Students Become AlumniClass of 2018 celebrates achievements
- Syracuse.com: Paul Tremont on leadership: Know your strengths and weaknesses to build a stronger team
- ESF Alumna Named Schwarzman ScholarElizabeth Maio to study in Beijing in one-year masterís program
- ESF Celebrates December CommencementJournalist Frank Sesno, three alumni to be honored during ceremony
- Class of '17 Joins ESF Alumni RanksDegrees and ESF flags in hand, graduates celebrate accomplishments
- Renowned Alumnus to Deliver Chemistry Centennial LectureRonald Eby helped develop life-saving Prevnar vaccine
- ESF Alum Honored by White House Science teacher lauded for excellence
- ESF Alumnus Wins Award for Sustainable Dog TreatsFull Circle Feed honored with People & Planet Award
- Verostek to present on Fletcher Steele Famed landscape architect designed over 700 gardens in U.S.
- ESF Education Helps Alumnus Launch Agritourism SuccessCritz Farms expands into craft beverage movement
- Alumna's Career Changes But Environmental Focus RemainsWildlife ecology class earns credit for her mindset
- Alumna Launches Career with Saws and LlamasForest service job takes graduate deep into the Rocky Mountains
- Advice for Graduates: Stay United, 'Enjoy Your Wisdom'Class of 2016 celebrates at Commencement
- Michael AmadoriEntrepreneur makes, sells sustainable dog treats
- Dr. Nancy MathewsEducational leader
- Holly AndersenReshaping a campus through sustainable construction
- Wendy AndringaLandscape architect thinks vertical with Green Walls
- Robert W. HargroveDirector EPA's NEPA Compliance Division
- Zachary WentworthLawyer
- Howard "Bud" RisRetired president of Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) MLA, 1975
- Matt RayoSyracuse Common Councilor
- Ana Maria MenezesUnited Nations Consultant
- Stephen KayGolf course architect
- Delfin Ganapin Jr. Global Manager of the UN Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Program
- Douglas G. DellmoreRetired business entrepreneur supports ESF student research
- Scott FonteDirector of aquaculture for Aqua Vita Farms
- Mary GiffordInternational Experience
- Anne PapageorgeVice President of Facilities and Real Estate Services, University of Pennsylvania
- Matthew Thornton Peace Corps Volunteer
- Marc ZeppetelloLawyer receives state honor
- Joe MartensCommissioner of the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)
- Don MooreSmithsonian National Zoo
- Nicole FormosoLandscape Architecture
- Andrea VanBeusichemMontezuma National Wildlife Refuge
- Cariann QuickDirector of Government Relations, SUNY Student Assembly
- Scott KasprowiczBroke circumnavigation record - One stock helicopter, two guys, 15 countries, 24 time zones, 23,000 miles, in less than two weeks.
- James "Jake" McKennaOwner of Parsons-McKenna Construction Co.
- Jeff LyngColorado Governor's Energy Office
- Ronald J. Eby, Ph.D.Renowned researcher
- Robert R. PageFoundation director for the Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation
- Col. Richard P. WagenaarCommander and District Engineer, New Orleans District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
- Peter J. GabrielsenChief hydrologic services for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Weather Service
- Stacey L. DoddProgram director, Habitat for Humanity Ireland
- Bruce BrownellOwner of Adirondack Alternate Energy (AAE) in Northville, N.Y.