A unique and viable approach to establishing local food self-reliance and building stronger communities.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Stream-Lining the Waste Stream

Re-furbished garden cart, with worm-castings 'tea'.
The Sharing Gardens is a "teaching garden". We teach about organic gardening (of course), and seed-saving, composting, and living lightly on the planet. In our high-consumption culture, many things are thrown away that could serve a different purpose (re-purposing), be fixed and live again (re-using), recycled or composted. Through our deep-mulch techniques LINK we show how waste products (grass/hay/leaves) can be used to feed the soil. People also donate old wheelbarrows, tools and building materials and, along with donated paint and some elbow grease, are given new life and purpose (keeping them out of landfills and burn-piles.)

Composting is another great way to turn "waste" into a valuable resource...i.e. fresh produce. At the Sharing Gardens, we do a lot of composting!

Rann, composting apples.
When we agreed to cater the first Farm to Farm Century Ride (LINK), we decided to make our part in it as environmentally responsible as possible. In 2011, we fed about 150 people two meals and this year we'll be feeding close to 200 LINK. Potentially, that's a lot of trash going into the landfill. The coordinators of the event, Jennifer Hughes and David Kuhns, share our values and have been very supportive in reducing the ride's environmental impact. Though it costs a bit more, all dishes and flatware used for serving the two meals, are compostable and each rest stop has collection bins for recycling.

Maire Osborn - sign-maker.
In 2011, volunteer, Maire Osborn, enthusiastically helped us set up the compost/recycle station at the start and finish-line for the event, to make it very easy for people to pre-sort their dishes and leftovers. What follows is a visual story of the recycle/compost station, the amount of waste generated by the event, the finished compost that resulted from all the plates, bowls and eating utensils, and pictures of the 2012 garden, grown (in part) with the event's compost.
Signs posted along the wall above the appropriate containers.
These simple signs made it easy for cyclists to comply.
Llyn with compost stacked on left and all garbage produced from catering two meals for 150 people!
It looks like "trash"...
...but it turns into "black gold"...
...which then produces the most bountiful gardens!
Sharing Gardens - 2012.
We want to thank everyone for your help in supporting this non-profit project that provides beautiful, organic produce, free-of-charge to those in need in our community. Here's a link to our wish-list if you'd like to help! LINK

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