GrowNYC Releases Resilient Garden Manual

GrowNYC is proud to announce the release of the Resilient NYC Community Garden Guide, a practical guide on making your garden more resilient, including step-by-step guidelines to minimizing storm damage.

Superstorm Sandy came as a surprise to so many New Yorkers and lack of proper prevention exacerbated its impact. As weather incidents are more frequent, it is important that we take simple steps to minimize damage and have access to information that will help our green spaces get back online, serving New Yorkers.

GrowNYC is committed to creating a healthier, more resilient city for all of us by providing free tools and resources any New Yorker can take advantage of to improve their community. We hope this toolkit helps you to steward your green space responsibly and to ensure enjoyment for years to come thanks to sound design and preparedness.

We’ve outlined what to do before and after a major storm or other weather event so that you will be better prepared. From preventive pruning techniques to ways to secure garden features, we hope this guide will serve as a practical resource for you and your green space.

Get the Guide!

Growing Recycling, One Building at a Time

Jamie Towers General Manager, Victor Berrios, stands with the growing piles of recycling.
Photo: Jamie Towers General Manager, Victor Berrios, stands with the growing piles of recycling  

GrowNYC’s Office of Recycling Outreach and Education works with apartment buildings throughout the five boroughs to identify their challenges to recycling, improve recycling setup and educate all who live and work in the building.  Take the Jamie Towers Cooperative Apartments, for example.  For the past year, GrowNYC has worked with this 4-building,  600-unit complex in the Castle Hill section of the Bronx. We began with a “chute room makeover” on all floors to ensure that recycling areas had the appropriate signage, labeling, bins and bags. We then provided recycling trainings for all maintenance workers and workshops for building residents, who received sets of our Sort & Store recycling totes to help separate materials in their apartments. With the success of these initiatives, the property has gone from producing two bags of recyclables to a veritable mountain of material recovered for a second life. With our help, the building also established an on-site textile recycling collection and became one of the first buildings in the Bronx to collect electronics through the city’s e-cycleNYC program.  Want help for your apartment building?  Send a message to one of our recycling coordinators!

Drive Change at Union Square Greenmarket

Our friends at Drive Change are at the Union Square Greenmarket today, March 19, promoting their brand new food truck Snowday and maple syrup. Drive Change is a social enterprise with a fleet of food trucks serving delicious, market-inspired menus and supporting their mission to broaden opportunities for young people coming out of adult jail and prison to help lead them to crime-free lives and bright futures. We spoke with the founder, Jordyn Lexton, about what inspired Drive Change, what it is like running a food truck with no food or restaurant background and where she sees the future of the organization.

How did you get from the idea stage of Drive Change to today, with your first truck up and running?
 
For three years, I taught adolescent inmates (ages 16-18) years old on Rikers. During that time, I learned that NY State is one of two states (North Carolina the other) that sets the age of adult criminal responsibility at 16 years old; that means that if you get arrested when your sixteen or older you are automatically considered an adult in the system. As a result, you spend time in adult jail and you are likely to leave with an open felony conviction as opposed to a juvenile adjudication - future job and educational opportunities become restricted post release and recidivism is very high. Adult jail/prison is no place for youth - and I saw too many of my students, who were full of potential and desire to live crime free futures recycle back into the system. They told me they needed real quality jobs and I thought that a opening a business would be a good way to support them financially, provide a source of revenue for potential programing and teach transferable skills. Drive Change was born in concept in Feb 2012 - I left my full time job and set out on a journey to make it happen.
 
Why did you decide a food truck was the best way to connect with youth just out of prison? 
 
The answer to this question is tri-fold: 
 
1. MOBILITY AND VISIBILITY - I like the idea that the truck would be able to move to different areas and connect with the NYC public. I liked this for two reasons: 1. We could communicate advocacy around the age of criminal responsibility and other criminal justice issues to more New Yorkers to inspire community involvement; 2. The truck becomes a place for socialization and connection which is good both for the young people we are working with but also for the public at large - we believe that by being visible and hospitable we dismantle preconceived notions that people have about formerly incarcerated people. 
 
2. THE FOOD INDUSTRY - As Chef Roy acknowledges often food has a transformative power - it can transcend race, class and cultural divide. At Drive Change and by extension, at Snowday, we embrace the philosophy of the communal table. Over meals, people connect, forge empathy and change evolves organically. The food industry also happens to be an industry that is receptive to hiring people with criminal records - it is traditionally a place where people can rise through the ranks without formal education and still be deemed "successful" and valuable. 
 
3. TRANSFERABLE SKILLS - At Drive Change, we teach transferable skills through the mechanism of the food truck work. I realized early on that recidivism is not combated simply with employment; we must provide more than just a job to the young people that we work with. The food truck industry is creative, it is rooted in transferable skill learning around the areas of social media and marketing (you have to know Twitter well and keep you digital life active to be successful), money management and accounting (we will use our POS system as a tool to teach young people about financial management and small business ownership) and hospitality. Culinary arts will be taught as well, but hospitality is our pulse. It is with hospitality - the kind that, as Danny Meyer describes, exists purely when you believe the other person is "on your side" - that we will be able to guide all of our practice and create opportunities for the young people involved. 
 
 
You managed the Kimchi Taco truck to prepare for running Drive Change, what was that experience like for you? Did you have any food or restaurant experience before you started on the food truck?
 
I had ZERO food/restaurant experience before Kimchi Taco, unless you're counting eating. If you're counting eating, I had PLENTY of that. So, I had a taste for it, but I knew that starting a food business with no food management/business experience was beyond lofty, it was illogical. I learned the business, learned how hard it was, figured out what to do about food truck permits, networked with other food truck business owners, got my own licenses and credentials and built a foundation for what kind of food the public would enjoy. The food truck business is a volatile one and we know that even with the preparation we've done we are going to hit roadblocks, but working in the field gave me insight that makes it possible - I speak the language now. 
 
How did you decide on maple syrup to be the theme of your first truck, Snowday?
 
I had one food while traveling in Canada that really blew my mind and got me thinking about starting a food truck: it was sugar on snow. Sugar on Snow is fresh snow with hot maple syrup poured on top. It's awesome and it's really hard to find anyone outside of Canada, Vermont, Upstate NY, New Hampshire. As I began to explore maple syrup, I learned that NY is the third largest producers of the commodity - which is awesome because it allows us to source all of our syrup locally and promote the local product...no more traveling up to Canada for amazing maple syrup! 
 
What are the future plans for Drive Change? Would you ideally like to expand outside of NYC?
 
We see ourselves growing into a fleet of food trucks. We would like to scale about a truck a year. With each truck, we can work with 30 young people per year [and] we see ourselves operating across the county, licensing the model/curriculum and expanding to multiple cities throughout the US (eventually even internationally). We also hope to be full self-sustaining in 5 years, as the sales from the truck(s) recycle back into the organization to subsidize the program costs. We are excited to grow/expand but we recognize that with growth comes shift in modality and our ability to be super hands on. So, while growth may come in time, we are heavily focused on quality over quantity. 
 

 

Unexpected Benefits in School Wide Recycling Initiatives

How do you improve recycling in NYC schools?  Involve the whole school in the effort!

Recycling protects our environment, stimulates economic development creating local jobs, and reduces global warming gases, benefitting the entire community.  At these K-12 Staten Island schools in the Recycling Champion Program , involving the entire community was the key to increasing recycling and environmental stewardship, but the additional benefits experienced have been an added bonus.
 

New Dorp High School
New Dorp High School improved cafeteria Organics Collection by launching an outreach campaign. Principal Deirdre De Angelis emphasized the importance of student participation before televising a recycling video in every classroom, featuring their mascot, the Cougar.  Custodial staff installed movie theatre style stantions next to the recycling station and additional staff instruction reinforced sorting. The Green Team sustained the effort by putting up posters and offering prizes for exemplary stewardship.  Cafeteria recycling and organics collection increased by at least 60%.

Students really appreciate the added bonus: the cafeteria is much cleaner, and is a more pleasant place to eat.  Cafeteria staff doesn’t mind the change either, since they were cleaning up after the students!

 

P.S. 30 Westerleigh

P.S. 30 dramatically increased recycling across the school by creating a Green Team that helps with cafeteria monitoring, and also communicates with the student body during morning announcements.   They kicked off their efforts with a school wide contest to decorate all their classroom paper recycling bins. The faculty enthusiastically supported the contest through their artistic flare and integrating recycling into lesson plans. The school’s overall diversion rate improved by 31%, with paper recycling rates increasing by 63% in just a few week.  Parents volunteered weekly to assist the Green Team with their own educational presentation.  According to Sustainability Coordinator Clare Mitchell, participating on this selective team has increased not only ecological literacy and stewardship, but has also proved to be an effective tool to improve attitude and behavior – improving overall academic performance.  

 

P.S. 21 Margaret Emery Elm Park

P.S. 21 created Dr. Seuss-like trees made from milk cartons, soda bottles, and magazines, to reinforce recycling, but also give students a creative way to practice their writing skills.  Students wrote “their story” on individual “leaves” which were strung on wire bases to create the trees.  Decorating the school at holiday time, Principal Gina Merino’s enthusiasm for the project helped student vocabulary “grow” along with school pride and awareness of environmental issues.  The Recycling Champions Program science class lessons reinforced the three RRR’s, which overlap with many requirements in the science Common Core and Regents exams.

Stakeholders in these schools increased recycling by working together, sharing the responsibility to teach and encourage environmental stewardship.  Improving recycling programs benefitted not only the NYC community, but their own school community as well.  For more information on how to improve recycling at your school visit www.grownyc.org/recyclingchampions

Farm Aid 2013 Highlights

Farm Aid has just released a highlights video from the press event at their 2013 conference in Saratoga Springs, NY.  

GrowNYC's Youthmarket program, which has run a farm stand at Farm Aid for the past few years, is joined on the dais by Farm Aid President and co-founder Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp, Dave Matthews, Jack Johnson, Farm Aid's Executive Director Carolyn Mugar.

Check out the video and learn more about Youthmarket!

Gisella Isidori Reveals Her Secrets to Making Pasta with Local Grains

Bakers are doing it. Brewers are doing it. Why not pasta makers?  We're, of course, talking about incorporating local grains like heritage wheat, barley and emmer into pasta making. As the Greenmarket Regional Grains Project continues to spread the word about the growing availability of northeast-grown grains, we can't stop thinking about the wonders they could do for fresh pasta. If only we had a fairy Italian grandmother to show us how it’s done…

Ceres, the Roman goddess of grain, clearly must have been listening to our pleas and answered them with Gisella Isidori, a fairy Italian grandmother to call our own. 

A long-time friend of Greenmarket and the New York City restaurant world, Gisella has worked for more than 30 years as an Italian food and travel consultant in both the U.S. and Italy. She also really knows her pasta. In the 1980s she ran a pasta business in NYC called Ciao Italia. Gisella also boasts a decades-old love affair with grains: spelt, quinoa, wild rice, you name it. It seems there isn’t a grain out there she hasn’t transformed into incredible pastas. 

In October, Gisella delighted GRGP by giving a class on making pasta the true Italian way in our home kitchen, and again the following day at the Union Square Greenmarket. 

We stood with rapt attention across the counter from her, as she kneaded dough with stamina, strength and precision befitting the generations of Italian women who came before her. Using no more or no less than the right proportions of flour and salt, with a little olive oil and water, Gisella tirelessly kneaded four doughs -- buckwheat, einkorn, emmer and chestnut -- making each round of pasta the perfect texture of silky and smooth. 

While her technique varied little from recipe to recipe, the results were unique to each flour's grain. The emmer revealed a nutty sweetness, whereas the einkorn was far earthier. The buckwheat was smooth with a beautiful lavender-gray tone, and then mixed with a whole wheat double zero flour for a spectacular finish in the traditional Northern Italian dish called Pizzoccheri. Gisella waxed sentimental about the dish, recalling childhood memories growing up near the Swiss border in Northern Italy, where buckwheat was a staple at her family’s table. 

Gisella comes from a generation that knows the value of good food, and lets nothing go to waste. After everything was rolled, cut and cooked, the scraps were saved—all the different pasta leftovers rolled into one ball. “Dry it out for a few days, and then grate it over a pot of boiling water” for a delicious "massa grattata,” she instructed. 

We will keep trying to get our technique down, but we can't promise we'll ever be able to give it her delizioso touch. Grazie Mille Gisella! 

Make sure you watch the video and look at the pictures showcasing Gisella's exciting pasta demonstrations!  

 

A Day in the Life: Greenmarket Market Manager Lisa Valinsky

 
5:00 a.m.: Alarm goes off. Hit snooze. 
 
5:09 a.m.: Alarm goes off again. This time, I get up, a bit sleepy. I put water on for tea, make a big bowl of cereal with thawed out berries from the freezer, and check the weather forecast. It only feels like 30 degrees, so that means I only have to wear three layers of pants today. Woohoo!
 
5:35 a.m.: Take the puppy out for a quick walk. It's quiet out there, and yes, it's feeling pretty warm (for February).
 
5:45 a.m.: Make a green smoothie to bring for lunch. It's loaded with Gajeski Produce spinach, and fills a quart-sized mason jar. Perfect.
 
6:00 a.m.: Publish a 79th Street update to Facebook, grab my compost, and I'm out the door.
 
6:10 a.m.: Arrive at market. Carlton from King Ferry Winery has arrived, so I say hello and we chat about the weather. I've found, in Greenmarket, just as in farming, we talk about the weather a lot. I also note the one car parked in our lane.
 
6:15 a.m.: Organize my stuff for the day, relishing in the relative quiet of an early Sunday on Columbus Avenue.
 
6:40 a.m.: The northern Manhattan van has arrived. Phebe is here! We start unloading tents, tables, bins, signs, and loads of other equipment.
 
6:45 a.m.: Red Jacket Orchards, one of our new producers at 79th Street, has arrived. A few phone calls and texts later, I get them settled into their space.
 
6:55 a.m.: Back to unloading the van. A table here, a tent there.
 
7:15 a.m.: Greet farmers and workers as they arrive. I chat with Nikki from Hot Bread Kitchen about a few food happenings in the city. Jerry, our compost coordinator, has arrived, so we catch up. The whole time we're talking I'm scanning through the market, keeping an eye out for anything that needs attending, or anyone who needs help. Early morning at 79th Street often leads to lots of vehicle maneuvering.
 
7:40 a.m.: Today's a coffee kind of day. I run over to World Coffee across the street.
 
7:45 a.m.: Troubleshoot, problem solve, take phone calls, answer texts, greet new vendors, and figure out placements of stands. All in a day's work as a market manager.
 
8:15 a.m.: Someone's waving for me to greet the tow truck driver. I run over to show which car needs to be relocated.
 
8:25 a.m.: Set up our information tent and display. We've got a whole bunch of literature to display, so I set up the apple crate and baskets and make a basic set up before my coworker Nicole gets to market at 10:00 a.m.
 
9:00 a.m.: Walk through the market again. I like to say hello and check to make sure everyone has shown up on time. We have two new vendors this week - Red Jacket Orchards and Mountain Sweet Berry Farm - that means it's time for a little social media. I take photos of their beautiful displays, and do some promotion on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. 

 
9:15 a.m.: Brainstorm with Jerry about how to get the word out more about our composting program. We fill 13 bins most weeks, but know we have a lot more people to reach. I chat a bit with a local food blogger about having her do a food demo for us this spring. She mentions dumplings, which sound like a great idea.
 
9:30 a.m.: It's market report time! I go to each producer and check them off for all types of at-market rules: arrived on time to market, tent secured, farm sign displayed, price signs displayed, purchased items sign up, baked goods ingredients sign up, and all kinds of other things. I take my time making sure everything looks in order.
 
10:20 a.m.: Rinzin from Knoll Krest hands me a lemon tart to try.
 
10:30 a.m.: Head back to our tent to say hi to Nicole, who manages 79th Street's promotions and EBT. We chat about the upcoming day, as we're planning to celebrate Chinese New Year with longevity noodles and poem writing.
 
10:45 a.m.: Brian of Gajeski Produce stops by the tent to greet us. He always checks in on Sundays.
 
11:00 a.m.: Design a sign for our new vendors, and bring it to the composting center to display.
 
11:10 a.m.: Andrew's arrived. He's our weekly volunteer, which is a huge help at this market. I start out by asking him to give breaks to farmers.
 
11:20 a.m.: Green smoothie drinking and Chinese New Year poem writing time. While writing, we have a few customers stop by to get EBT and debit/credit tokens.
 
11:45 a.m.: John from Red Jacket hands me a hot cider.

 
12:00 p.m.: Nicole and Andrew are busy preparing the noodle dish, so I make the rounds to give breaks to anyone working on their own. I break DiPaola Turkeys and Ronnybrook, Hudson Valley Duck and Berkshire Berries.
 
12:50 p.m.: Check in on the demo. It smells delicious. Our regional coordinator, Margaret, has stopped by, so we chat and I get some more social media going with photos of the noodles.
 
1:40 p.m.: More breaks! This time it's with Francesca's Bakery, Knoll Krest, and Lavender By the Bay. As I make my rounds, I check in with producers to see how the day is going, and grab a white bean and collard greens turnover from Body & Soul Bakery. The market's been hopping with this gorgeous springlike weather and lots of people are out and about.
 
2:45 p.m.: When I check in with Las Delicias, I get handed a chocolate Chunk of Heaven. It sure is. When I check-in with Divine Brine, I get handed a Devilish Dill pickle. I declare that it's my new favorite Divine Brine pickle.
 
2:50 p.m.: I'm back at the tent to find one of our regular customers. She always stops by with her two little Yorkshire Terriers, so I tell her how we're planning to do a dog portrait day this spring. We look at a potential spot for setting it up, and talk about potential volunteers. 79th Street is a big dog market, so we're hoping it'll be a big success.
 
3:00 p.m.: Nicole's off to do token redemptions with the farmers, so I stay at the tent. 
 
3:15 p.m.: Phebe is back from Columbia Greenmarket early! I start packing up the bins and chat with a few customers about the day's food demo, recipes, and Greenmarket's requirements for selling at market.
 
3:50 p.m.: Nicole is done and back at the tent, so I gather up my things and we chat about possible food demos for next week. We're always scheming with promo and demo ideas.
 
4:10 p.m.: I see a very familiar-looking puppy out of the corner of my eye...it's my husband and puppy, here to pick me up! I'm done for the day, so we wander through the market, picking up greens, eggs, and lavender sachets along the way. It's been a long day, but one with beautiful weather, and of course, lots of great food.

 

Greenmarket Director Visits Bologna, Italy

In September, Greenmarket Director Michael Hurwitz had the incredible honor and privilege to visit Bologna, Italy to speak at a conference framed around feeding the planet in a sustainable way. Here is a re-cap of the trip in his words. 

My presentation specifically focused on the many roles farmers’ markets play: creating centers of community activity, driving regional economy and providing meaningful opportunities for small farms to thrive, as well as educating children, consumers and policy makers on the issues associated with sustainable agriculture, and among numerous other benefits, piloting city-wide initiatives such as residential food scrap collections. And while the marketplace needs no introduction in Italy, their farming communities share many of the same challenges facing those here in the States.

My most precious time on the trip was spent discussing potential solutions to those challenges with my dear host and ally, Paolo Russo, who I met years ago in New York City when he represented food producers from Italian mountain communities, working to have their products sold globally. And the highlight, not just of the trip but of 2013, was the time I spent in Sarsina with Paolo and his colleague Lucio Cangini, the former Director of Mountain Regions in Italy. Now Lucio is a philosopher, activist, mentor, inspiration, and an artist: his painting, Trans-Democracy, a commentary on the changing nature of democracy inspired by the Arab Spring, now hangs on my kitchen wall. Our conversation lasted hours, most of which were spent over lunch at La Maschere, a slice of heaven situated in the mountains of Cesena. 

It’s times like these that I wish I had a sophisticated vocabulary- as I am incapable of adequately describing the culinary experience that chef Federico Tonetti provided that day. Our second course, the Squacquerone made with milk from the town, was like nothing I’ve tasted prior- freshness was redefined that afternoon; and when we told Chef Tonetti that we couldn’t possibly eat dessert after our Cappelette with speck and white truffles floating in a pigeon broth, he opened his “favorite” American wine, a Mondavi Cabernet, the perfect complement to the lamb chops stuffed with anchovy that quickly followed.

That day was four men, two of whom spoke no English and one who spoke no Italian, bonding over the sharing of food and ideas. Lucio laments the cultural and economic loss of the traditional Italian mountain town, as younger generations leave the countryside believing their futures are elsewhere- you can see and hear the sadness as well the hope as he speaks. Together we discussed Greenmarket’s work to provide viable economic opportunities for farmers and the role we play in maintaining rural communities and farms, demonstrating to the next generation that there can be a real future in agriculture. I cherish those hours we spent that day and I look forward to sitting with Lucio again, either here in New York or back in Italy- preferably- to learn from a sage who has seen such transformation in his lifetime and worked effortlessly to strengthen community. And I am eternally grateful to Chef Tonetti for his incredible generosity and providing me a culinary experience that can never be matched.

I left Sarsina that day both physically and emotionally exhausted and exhilarated, thinking I was heading back to Bologna for a quiet last afternoon. I had no idea that part two of this incredible day was 45 minutes away in Bertinoro, a gorgeous hill town overlooking the Adriatic Sea. We were greeted by Giampaolo Amadori, a man larger than life, who is both the CEO of the Central University of Bertinoro as well as of the Foundazione Alma Mater Eventi, among the many other titles he carries. He’s basically The Man in all things Bertinoro if not the region itself.

Giampaolo had arranged a special tour of the Interfaith Museum, located in the dungeon of the 11th Century Bishop’s Fortress, which is dedicated to promoting dialogue between Judaism, Islam and Christianity. From there we walked the town, and of course ended the day with yet another meal. And while it felt sacrilegious to eat after the experience at La Maschere, the Piadina extravaganza at the roadside stand was as perfect an end to my trip as one could hope. These flatbread sandwiches, stuffed with pumpkin, cheese and spinach, which of course I had no problem putting down, were a game changer. And the company and the conversation were pretty amazing too.

These experiences did not occur in a vacuum, but rather took place in a context of exchange and education. I was invited to Italy to share my experiences and ideas how to address the gaps in our food system and the challenges that industrial production creates. This event was organized by BolognaFiere and CAAB- the Agribusiness Centre of Bologna- essentially the equivalent of our Hunt’s Point Produce Cooperative in New York. It functions as the major fruit and vegetable distribution center of Northern Italy, though it is operated by rather different standards and organizational structure as well as guiding values.

CAAB is primarily owned by the City of Bologna and the University; only 3% is held by the co-op members and banks. CAAB is a shining example of what is possible here in New York City, as this structure allows for the market to serve the best interests of all involved- farmers, distributors, consumers, and the houses. There’s even a community garden on its grounds that I had the privilege of helping to inaugurate with Bologna’s Mayor, Virginio Merola, during my visit.

I am deeply grateful to Duccio Caccioni and Andrea Segré for welcoming me so generously and for their incredible work building a more just and sustainable food system. Andrea is the President of CAAB as well as the Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences at the Alma Mater Studiorum - University of Bologna and Duccio serves as the Marketing & Quality Manager at CAAB and is a regular contributor to Fresh Point Magazine. I look forward to continuing my and hopefully New York City’s dialogue with Andrea, Duccio, Mayor Merola, Lucio, and Giampaolo, creating real cultural exchanges and promoting the food capitals of the world while highlighting shared values and visions. 2014 has much to bring, and I am excited to bang heads with my dear friend Paolo Russo and guide some of that process.

Solar Ovens and Earth Science Lesson Plan

GrowNYC's Environmental Education program engages New York City school children across the five boroughs with curriculum on renewable energy, habitat restoration, water health, and green design.

One of our office's most successful interdisciplinary activities has been building solar ovens from used pizza boxes. The project is both fun and educational and is for kids from upper elementary school through high school. Our lesson plan, available for free download below, guides teachers and youth leaders through the process of introducing key Earth Science concepts to their students while they engage youth in building working pizza box solar ovens.

Download a PDF of our 11-page unit Solar Ovens and Earth Science.

GrowNYC Community Compost Partner Profile: Gowanus Canal Conservancy

GrowNYC collects food scraps and other organic waste at various Greenmarkets around the city to distribute to local compost partners in the surrounding area. With the help of community volunteers, New York City’s recycled food scraps are transformed into a nutrient rich soil amendment for farming and greening purposes throughout the five boroughs.

A few minutes’ walk from the F train, Gowanus Canal Conservancy’s (GCC) Salt Lot hosts a monthly compost windrow build for volunteers from around the city. November’s volunteers included about a dozen students from the Brooklyn Technical High School’s Red Cross Club, a group of elementary students from a Bed-Stuy Charter School, and a myriad of volunteers simply happy to enjoy an outdoor-community activity.

Sam and Maria Pruden of Harlem join GCC monthly to participate in composting. Behind Sam and Maria is an illustration of the compost build and process.

The volunteers arrived ready to tackle the record-breaking 10,000 pounds of food scraps that had been collected from four Greenmarkets the day before. The bins of food scraps are dumped and mixed in a large pile on the ground with leaves and yard scraps, taking about 4 hours. The pile, or windrow, will sit for two weeks, and then be turned by a GCC staff member once a week for the following four weeks, before it is sifted to make a final product. At the end of these six weeks, GCC has a fertile soil amendment for tree pits and rain gardens that help prevent polluted water from entering the canal.

Two students from Brooklyn Technical School’s Red Cross Club carry a bin of food scraps to the compost pile to be mixed with leaves and other dry yard trimmings.

GCC Coordinators Jared McGuire and Christine Petro, sift processed compost to make final product with a Bed-Stuy group leader.

Christine Petro has been volunteering with GCC for almost two years and has noticed a steady increase in the amount of food scraps being delivered from the weekend markets over the past three months. Salt Lot is just one of many community compost sites around the city. Asked about the objective of these local projects, she says, “The objective is twofold: to have a positive environmental impact for the surrounding community, and also to teach the practice of composting for educational and applications going forward.”

Jared McGuire and Christine Petro, GCC Volunteer Coordinators.

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