Emptying the compost was one of my chores as a child. It meant carrying the full bucket up the hill and dumping it onto the great mound at the end of the garden, then hosing the bucket out and picking a handful of pennyroyal mint to put in the bottom, so that while it sat under the kitchen sink it smelled nice.
Both my parents are enthusiastic composters, my father starts one where ever he lives and my mother buries special biodynamic herbal preparations in hers.
I know many of you (in the country) have nice large composts that are warm under a blanket of hay, filled with happy earth worms and therefore know all the joys and sense it makes, but in the city we forget.
It wasn’t until Colin Beavan a.k.a. No Impact Man started his year long environmental experiment that I realized I could be composting here in Manhattan too.
I really enjoy walking down to the community garden every week to drop off my compost. It feels good to take direct responsibility for some of the waste I produce. Not only am I preventing organic waste going into a land fill, taking up space in a plastic bag on the back of a carbon producing truck but I am returning the food that has nourished me back to the earth, to nourish other plants so the cycle can begin again. AND, most importantly in a landfill, organic matter breaks down in the absence of oxygen, creating methane, a powerful greenhouse gas which contributes to climate change.
Sometimes I get really down about our current environmental situation and overwhelmed by all the things we need to be doing to stop global warming, today was one of those days….Staying positive can be a challenge, I find it helps to focus on what we can do now and how we can inspire others in our community to do the same. I hope this encourages you to become part of the natural cycle of our food and waste.
If you live in New York City you can go to the Lower East Side Ecology Center to find a drop off point near you. If you live in another major city you can go to Green Map.
Colin’s book No Impact Man is out and the documentary film is opening in New York this week. You can see the trailer here.