We can help your community garden get composting!
Discover the wealth you create together
The Compostadores program of Gardening Matters is dedicated to building a neighborhood-based infrastructure that allows organic recyclables (i.e. food scraps) to be created into compost.
We provide hands-on community workshops on composting, provide technical assistance to community gardens, and invested in a partnership with the City of Minneapolis to develop and assess neighborhood-based composting. We use the Growing Power method of bin construction (with some tweaks of our own), utilizing salvagable materials to build simple, static, "no-turn" 4' x 4' bins in community gardens. In 6-9 months, a bin can convert over 2,000 pounds of organic recyclables to a cubic yard of nutrient-rich compost
Why do communities compost?
- Cost-effectively improve urban soils, increases soil fertility
- Eliminates the need to bring compost from outside the city -- keeping the nutrients in the neighborhood
- Reduces carbon emissions from hauling and burning food waste
- Support community members on good composting techniques
Don’t throw that out!
Everything that you put in your garbage is destined to be burned or buried and inevitably contributes to water and air pollution. By composting, we turn our food waste into “food” for plants and the soil biota that support them and ultimately increasing the fertility of the soil. But that’s not all! Compost holds onto water (less watering!) and locks up contaminants so plants won’t absorb them.
Let's Keep the Nutrients in the Neighborhood! How we can help!
These workshops & services can be provided on a sliding-scale fee (based on ability to pay) thanks to generous Seward Co-op shoppers that contributed to February's SEED award, and to WhyHunger-Grower Power who provided a partnership grant. Call to set up a workshop!
Get started with a Bin Build Workshop
We bring pallets, wire, wood and tools and work together with you to build a pallet compost bin. Invite the neighbors! This is hands-on 2 1/2 hour workshop for all ages that gets everyone busy constructing the bin and exploring compost. Our motto for the workshop is “This is not your living room.” Cost to deliver: $175*
*for a limited time only, Hennepin County Green Partners has provided grant support to establish composting at community gardens. Call or email firstname.lastname@example.org to get your workshop scheduled by May.
Spreading the Wealth
We work with you to open your compost bin after it is done “cooking”, and identify finished compost. In this hands-on 1 1/2 hour workshop, we build a screen, use it, and work with you on how to best use the finished compost and to keep cooking the unfinished. A great hands-on opportunity for gardeners and neighbors! Cost to deliver: $95
Something not working right? Having difficulties? Composting is critical to your garden’s success, so give us a call. We have provided assessments for gardens, helped navigate policies and regulations, and have experience with establishing composting systems for dozens of community gardens. Cost to deliver: $50-$75
Just call to set-up a workshop
About the Compostadores
The Compostadores began with one bin and Patsy Parker’s determination to not let anything go to waste! It was a typical home building project. Lots of money and many trips to the hardware store. We went to Growing Power (Milwaukee, WI) and learned to compost, and then figured out through trial and error how to build a solid bin from pallets and within code. We put a bin at church, and began to fill it.
Pretty soon, other folks wanted to build bins. We got a few more hammers and staples, and talked to Gardening Matters about partnering to support community gardens, and we asked garden groups to reach out to the neighbors and invite them to participate and learn. Welna Ace became our hardware sponsor and provided materials at cost. We built 20 bins with gardeners that year!
In spring 2011, we met with representatives from MN Pollution Control Agency, Hennepin County and City of Minneapolis. Together we worked through the policies, regulations and safety concerns we needed to address to put together a pilot program for neighborhood composting in Minneapolis. Our thanks to Rachel Henderson and Rebecca Harnik who contributed much at this time.
This collaboration continues today, and we are currently operating a demonstration project for City of Minneapolis to establish the systems, protocols and procedures for creating safe and neighbor-friendly neighborhood composting -- and we’re keeping the nutrients in the neighborhood!
This demonstration project will support progressive changes to compost legislation in Minnesota. The City of Minneapolis changed composting ordinance allowing for community-based scale of composting, but there are two major rules at the State level that still prohibit it. Changes to this legislation have been proposed by the MPCA and can be examined here.
This project is pure partnership! We collect “greens”, raw food scraps and coffee grounds, from nearby food retailers on bike trailers (when feasible) and compost them at composting sites in North and South Minneapolis. The compost sites are community gardens and urban farmers. Our “browns” come from The Mulch Store, MPRB woodchip sites, our composting hosts, and always interested in how we can partner to close the loop on organic recycling!
Neighborhood composting continues to be a learning process as we anticipate that variables of weather, seasons, availability and quantity of materials will challenge daily operations. We are dedicated to working toward a neighborhood composting system that is neighbor-friendly, provides green jobs, and improves our soil fertility -- making for healthier communities inside and out!
Twin Cities based organizations and businesses
Urban Compost: a group working in apartment buildings or other high density units in the Twin Cities
Neighborhood-based composting projects around the country
Washington DC: Central drop site at a community garden; neighborhood composted on-site at the garden using a 3-bin system.
Massachusetts: Pedal people - Weekly/bi-weekly pick ups of compost; year round, by bicycle.
Philadelphia: Pedal co-op - bicycling compost (and trash, recycling and bakery items) hauling
Northfield, MN: Community Composting central collection site at the farmers market
Boulder, CO: Neighborhood composting project
City-Based Composting Programs
Commercial composting in San Francisco: first in the nation. It’s mandatory – requires everyone in San Francisco to separate their refuse into recyclables, compostables, and trash.
King County, WA: Over 90% have access to curbside composting
Oakland, CA: Home composting diverts 543 pounds, per household, per year from the landfill. That's 2.7 tons over 10 years!
Portland, OR: New program as of October 2011