Join the Community Composting Team !!
Become A JERSEY CITY FOOD SCRAPPER !!
Start Recycling Your Food Scraps
3 Options For Residents In Jersey City
- Backyard Compost, if you can – do it with your neighbor !
- Affiliate with a Community or School Garden, that has a composting program (SJC working hard to expand the Network of Sustainable Gardens that compost; our approach has been Bokashi but all kinds of composting systems can be implemented.)
- Subscribe to Community Compost Company – fab outfit that will pick-up your scraps for a small fee, backhauls your scraps to farmers in the Hudson Valley.
Learn More About How WHY WE Need to Recycle OUR Food Scraps by Viewing These Community Presentations
Reduce, Re-Use and Recycle is a key principle in addressing waste streams of all kinds. Food waste is no exception.
Activities pursued by the Community Composting Team include creating awareness about the options to reduce food waste, to promote composting at home, at schools and other public institutions and to also raise awareness that community garden sites, parks and other green spaces can become beneficiaries of healthy soil amendments that all of us can create by Recycling Food Waste. A key component in creating awareness about this topic has been a series of educational workshops that will continue – stay tuned to our Event announcements, if this is a topic you want to learn more about. General information about some of the approaches to Composting is offered below, with more available on SJC’s Resources page.
We appreciate the support of the US EPA; SJC was the only east coast community organization to pilot new consumer outreach campaign by US EPA – SJC Pilots US EPA Food Too Good To Waste (FTGTW) Toolkit
NOW LET’S GET STARTED JERSEY CITY !
IF YOU ARE NOT PART OF A COMMUNITY GARDEN COMPOSTING PROGRAM AND YOU WISH TO HAVE YOUR FOOD SCRAPS PICKED UP, PLEASE CHECK OUT OUR FRIENDS OVER AT COMMUNITY COMPOST COMPANY WHO ARE BACK HAULING FOOD SCRAPS TO FARMERS IN THE HUDSON VALLEY. THEIR PICK UP SERVICE IS AVAILABLE TO RESIDENCES AND BUSINESSES IN JERSEY CITY. THEY ARE JUST STARTING OUT SO PICK UP NOT AVAILABLE IN ALL NEIGHBORHOODS – YET !!
SJC’s GOAL FOR THIS PARTNERSHIP IS TO EXPAND THE NUMBER OF FOOD SCRAPPERS IN JERSEY CITY AND TO DEVELOP COMMUNITY GARDEN COMPOSTING SYSTEMS THAT CAN SERVE AS DROP OFF SITES IN MANY NEIGHBORHOODS – PLEASE CONTACT US IF YOU WANT TO START A COMPOSTING SYSTEM AT YOUR COMMUNITY GARDEN OR NEIGHBORHOOD PARK. LET’S GROW COMPOST SOIL FOR OUR COMMUNITY GARDENERS, PARKS, TREE PITS AND RAIN GARDENS HERE IN JERSEY CITY FIRST, AND THEN . . . , SUPPLY HUDSON VALLEY FARMERS WITH THIS VALUABLE SOIL AMENDMENT BY SUPPORTING COMMUNITY COMPOST COMPANY – FULL CIRCLE FOLKS, COMES BACK TO US IN OUR FOOD SUPPLY !!
Step 1 – REDUCE
[US EPA’s FOOD TOO GOOD TOO WASTE Program]
As part of this initiative, SJC is piloting the new 2014 US EPA Consumer Toolkit, Top Five Ways to Waste Less Food, which they plan to roll out nationally later this year. Community Composting Pilot participants are not only learning more about working with the Bokashi Method of fermenting food waste and options to participate in the Neighborhood Garden Exchange program, but they are also being asked to provide important feedback to the EPA about the toolkit during this pre-launch period.
The EPA’s goal with the FOOD TOO GOOD TOO WASTE Program, is to educate and guide consumers toward implementing ways of reducing the overall waste stream of food – it is exacerbating landfills and producing dangerous methane gas in the process. Their goal is to reduce household food waste by 25% and SJC has partnered with them to help Jersey City do our part. SJC is the only East Coast organization piloting these materials, which were developed in the Pacific Northwest.
More about the hierarchy of the EPA’s strategic approach is available here.
Step 2 – RE-USE
[BOKASHI MEETS TRADITIONAL COMPOSTING METHODS]
After SJC implemented a Community Composting Survey with the Jersey City Moms Meetup (JCMM) community group, we understood that a high degree of interest existed to learn more about the topic, with many respondents interested to participate in a Jersey City initiative. We slowly started with some workshops and have since shaped a formal Bokashi Pilot for food scrappers interested to trial this approach. Scroll down to learn more about what Bokashi is and how it works with Traditional Composting Systems.
Much gratitude goes to Bokashi Master, Shig Matsukawa who is a key Education Partner for this pilot program.
If your group is interested in Community Composting take the Community Composting Survey.
Step 3 – RECYCLE
[NEIGHBORHOOD GARDEN EXCHANGES]
Alongside of piloting the Bokashi Method of food waste fermentation, we’ve set up an exchange site at the P.E.A.C.E. Garden located up at Five Corners; this is a St. Paul’s sponsored installation initiated by the Big Sky Project, and it the first installation of the Garden Exchange component of this start-up program. For those who don’t have home composting systems or yard space to recycle their food scraps, the P.E.A.C.E. Garden will accept your Bokashi Buckets. Working with the P.E.A.C.E. Garden, pilot members have the opportunity to participate in this model program and not only recycle their food scraps but contribute to growing healthier soil and food at this garden.
We are intent on showing others how to replicate this neighborhood exchange system and we have begun to compile a wait list of those who want to be added to the pilot. If learning more about Bokashi or the Garden Exchange system, and you or your community organization are interested to learn how you can participate in this pilot program, please feel free to contact us. We hope that a NETWORK of Community Gardens & Parks emerge to help in recycling neighborhood food scraps !!
More links about the impacts of Food Waste and the Bokashi Method are available in the Resources / Links section of our website. Also, check out Brooklyn-based Vokashi, a small business in Brooklyn who has developed a social enterprise around recycling food scraps.
LEARN MORE . . .
What is Composting?
Composting is the breakdown of organic matter (stuff that used to be alive) back into a nutrient-rich soil-like substance called compost. Think of a forest floor – this process happens naturally there and has kept forests going for thousands of years.
Decomposers are the ones doing this job. These amazing organisms include worms, HEALTHY micro-organisms and fungus that help to keep our fragile eco-systems in balance by recycling nutrients back into our environment. Like us, decomposers need air, water, and food to survive.
All we are doing in composting is purposefully creating an amazing home for decomposers, providing everything they need to thrive in one relatively small area.This allows them to “multiply and be fruitful”, creating lots of compost!
How does Backyard Composting work?
You may have heard of carbon and nitrogen, “browns” and “greens”, and the more confusing carbon to nitrogen ratio, C/N. Micro-organisms need food, and their food is carbon and nitrogen. “Browns” is a nickname for materials rich in carbon and “greens” is a nickname for materials rich in nitrogen. Here’s an analogy to the food we eat. Carbon is kind of like carbohydrates (carbs) and nitrogen is like proteins. We need both carbs and protein, but too much of either is a bad thing. Similarly, decomposers need a healthy mix of carbon and nitrogen for their optimal growth.
How does the Bokashi Method work?
Bokashi is a fermentation approach to recycling food waste and uses a “starter” (not unlike a liquid yeast starter) to “innoculate” some type of organic dry matter, e.g., bran, sawdust, rice hulls, etc., which is then used as a mix that is added to food scraps. Once a starter mix culture is made, it can be used to extend the culture indefinitely, like yogurt culture. It is an anaerobic process (sealed container) and provides an opportunity to recycle food scraps indoors without smells; the method can either feed Traditional Composting systems (the worms love this nutrient rich food and multiply rapidly!) or transfer the results directly into the landscape as a soil amendment. The fermentation approach arrests the rotting of food and helps to convert food scraps into a healthy, micro-organism activated (good for the environment !), nutrient based fertilizer. Since the popular introduction of the effective mix (EM) of different micro-organisms, quick and easy Bokashi starter recipes are being used – for example, a common recipe is made with only molasses, water, EM, and wheat bran.
In home applications, family kitchen waste is placed into a container (often known as a Bokashi bin or Bokashi bucket) that can be sealed with an air-tight lid. These scraps are then inoculated with a Bokashi EM mix. This mix usually takes the form of a “starter ingredient”, such as the wheat bran mentioned above and the healthy liquid micro-organisms (EM) which adhere to the bran, thus creating the “inoculating” ingredient, that is then sprinkled onto the kitchen scraps that accumulate in the Bokashi bin. The EM are natural lactic acid bacteria, yeast, and phototrophic bacteria that act as a microbe community within the kitchen scraps, fermenting and accelerating the breakdown of the organic matter.
The user would place alternating layers of food scraps and Bokashi mix until the container is full. Liquid “compost tea” is drained once or twice a week and can be diluted 1:100 and added to plants as fertilizer, and is safe to pour down the sewer for disposal. Once the container is full, it is left to ferment for one to two weeks in the container. It can then be transferred to a Traditional Composting system, or buried directly under 6-8 inches of soil as a nutrient rich fertilizer. After another two weeks buried under soil, the food scraps should be broken down into rich humus.
One last note regarding transfer to outdoor systems – the alcohol by-product produced in the process is a repellent to pesty critters like rats. In some locations where this is a concern, Bokashi can help manage that challenge.
Special thanks to R. Migdal / Weichert Realtors
for sponsoring the Community Composting Project !