Composting with Grow NYC and the Gowanus Canal Conservancy

At work on Monday, I just had to brag -- I had spent Sunday making 3 tons of compost!  It hadn’t been too stinky, and I had a nice tan to boot!   I found this service opportunity by just striking up a conversation with a GrowNYC Compost Coordinator, Peter Tzannes, at the BurnedGreen Volunteer Fair at McCarren Park Greenmarket on Saturday.  In between him encouraging passersby to compost their apple cores and paper bags, I learned GrowNYC is always looking for volunteer composters to make the work go faster. 

So the next morning I headed out to the compost site at a Gowanus salt lot, to join both GrowNYC and the Gowanus Canal Conservancy for a few hours of composting – intense composting, I’m not going to lie, it was a lot of composting!  We were only 6 people strong (they usually get around 20, but had lost some to the Great GoogaMooga Festival).  But what a great excuse for a work out!  -- ShapeUP, Equinox, I see a possible partnership here!  

Jokes aside, although it was a dirty and tiring job, it give me some time to think – while looking at all the food waste, literally piles and piles, I started to think more about the food I eat, where it comes from, how much of it I waste, and where the waste ends up.   In the day-to-day, it’s easy to forget how and where food and food-waste travels in the City – you’re hungry and you grab an energy bar or a slice of pizza on the run, or have a potluck with friends or got out to eat – all focused on one part of the City’s food system, your consumption.   

But while standing there on top of a mountain of food waste, I was able to appreciate the big picture of NYC’s food system – upstate farms, CSAs, community gardens, farmers’ markets, groceries, food deserts, bodegas, green carts, truck traffic, Costco, Smorgasburg, food processing centers, Fresh Direct, organic farmers, co-ops, waste transfer stations, restaurants, composters, and us – the consumers.   

Thank you, GrowNYC and Gowanus Canal Conservancy for giving me this perspective!