As we continue to celebrate World Environment Day throughout the month, we wanted to take the time to share this great story from our colleagues at YKK (U.S.A) Inc., New York City office. This past weekend, Kelly Ghahramani , Lauren Simon and Catheryn Chen, decided to spend their free time doing something they are passionate about: protecting the environment!
They volunteered for the organization The NYC Compost Project, located at the Red Hook Community Farm and hosted by the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. With 1,900+ volunteers each year, the compost operation processes over 225 tons/year of organic material. Rather than being transported to distant landfills by gas-emitting garbage trucks, this material becomes a rich amendment to farm soil. The year-round program has the only compost windrows in New York City created and maintained entirely by solar, wind, and human power making this the largest community composting program in the US run entirely on renewable resources. This means no gas-guzzling machines! The organic material used for the compost operation is derived from the farm itself (weeds, spoiled produce, spent crop material), and from several contributions made by community members and partners.
Volunteers, students in the farm’s youth program, and the community at large help create a sustainable, urban “closed loop.” Crops are harvested and sold to neighbors, who then bring their food scraps back for composting. More material, collected from the Compost Project’s convenient community drop-off sites, gets added to the mix. Brooklyn Botanic Garden then supplies finished compost rich in nutrients and microbial life to Red Hook Community Farm, as well as to several other urban farms and community greening projects across Brooklyn.
Lauren, Kelly, and Catheryn helped sift the compost to separate out any inorganic materials, organic waste, and worms from the finished compost.
They also learned from a bee keeper who educated visitors on the importance of protecting and conserving bee populations.
Lauren, who has volunteered through NY Cares and other organizations for many years shared that “this project was especially interesting due to the size of the compost site and it’s location in a city where space is usually scarce. It was also great to see community organizations, city government and volunteers working together to run this operation. ”
This was Kelly’s very first time volunteering in NYC and she shared the experience “has expanded my point of view and the importance of taking care of our city. It was a lot of fun to work with new people, make connections, and learn more about the environment. Seeing everyone working together to create a positive impact was inspirational!”
Catheryn started volunteering with New York Cares (volunteer organization) last summer and since then she has participated in over 20 projects while dragging along various friends and colleagues. She shares that volunteering provides “a different way to connect with people and a great way to give back to the community at the same time. Volunteering takes me all over the city and continues to remind me exactly how much NYC has to offer.”
To learn more about The NYC Compost Project visit: https://www.nybg.org/gardens/bronx-green-up/nyc-compost-project/
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