Community composting is great for so many reasons. Turning your food scraps into soil, is magical. And meeting your neighbors at the park, with your weeks supply of food waste in hand is inspiring. The more people are out and about on their way to contribute their compostable waste, the more conversations happen about it, and more and more composting happens. Composting is one of those things, like picking up after your dog and sweeping the sidewalk in front of your home, that especially when done in community, makes you feel like a great citizen.

Did you know that 17% of NYC’s waste stream is food waste? When this material is sent to a landfill it contributes to NYC’s disposal costs and can create greenhouse gas emissions. When composted, food scraps and other organic waste become a useful product that adds nutrients and improves the quality of soil for street trees, gardens and more.

The above image of a growing pile of compost shows how quickly the composting initiatives are growing in NYC this spring and summer. This is a part of a 4 month pilot program to see what happens when community composting programs are initiated in our city. Thanks to City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn and the New York City Council and Action Carting Environmental Services, and to community composting partners at the Lower East Side Ecology Center, Ft. Greene Compost Project and the Western Queens Compost Initiative – the compost pile is growing, and our collective consciousness of our waste habits, is also growing alongside the pile.

We are excited to spend time with the Lower East Side Ecology Center’s master composters this summer during our Food & Garden camp. The Ecology center has been offering a community composting program since 1990 at their community garden on East 7th Street, between Avenues B and C.  We will be getting our hands dirty and learning all there is to learn about composting in gardens, and in our communities. If you are interested in learning more, they offer classes to the public and even offer a 6 week Master Composters certification course.

May we all become experts in separating out our spoils to make soil.