Dirt Candy

Not to trash-talk, but The Overbrook Foundation was lucky enough to host a meeting of key NYC community composting organizations a few weeks ago.

Representatives ranged from the large - New York Compost Project and GrowNYC - to the small - 6/15 Community Garden, but all came with a passion for strengthening the community compost network in New York City.

The Big Apple may not be the first place you think of when you hear the word 'compost' (although probably garbage), but the last 20 years has seen a dedicated corps of composters working and growing their operations, from backyard garbage pails to multi-acre properties, and, most recently, the Bloomberg Administration's announcement of a curbside pick up pilot. And their efforts have not only paid-off, but they've saved taxpayers money: thousands of tons of food waste, leave trimmings, and other organic waste have been diverted from landfills, and have instead been returned back into the soil (yes, New York City has soil).

But the burgeoning movement faces several obstacles, including lack of siting space, regulatory restrictions, developing more uniform standards, public perception (i.e. changing the 'eww' to a 'mmm'), and having a space to talk shop and trade expertise.

The Overbrook Foundation was glad to host one of the first multi-stakeholder gatherings, and provide a space in which practitioners could brainstorm challenges, priorities, and next steps. The group developed concrete (er, biodegradable) ideas on how to keep the community connected and engage the broader public.

Community composting not only reduces waste, but it allows residents to see, feel, touch, and taste the world around them, and realize how much good can come from the Big Apple composting those apple cores.

To learn more about how to compost in your neighborhood, click here!