Keeping it Local: Sustaining the Soil
Jodie Colón is the Compost Project Manager at The New York Botanical Garden.
Although silver traditionally marks a 25th anniversary, may we suggest gold for ours? Black gold, that is! Specifically, the rich, dark compost made by Bronx residents of all ages trained by the NYC Compost Project at NYBG since 1993.
At that time, as it still is today, food scraps and yard trimmings comprised nearly one-third of what New Yorkers discarded. The NYC Department of Sanitation began funding NYBG Bronx Green-Up staff to engage local residents and our community and school gardeners in composting those materials as a way to reduce waste and revive urban soils.
In 2000 we began the Master Composter (MC) Certificate Course to develop a corps of enthusiastic and knowledgeable volunteers to reach and teach their neighbors about composting. Today, with our MCs, we continue to take the Garden’s expertise beyond our gates by providing New Yorkers with the knowledge, skills, and opportunities they need to make and use compost locally. Fun, family-friendly fall events such as Pumpkin Smash, Leaf Crunch, and Street Tree Care Demonstrations engage the public and build compost awareness.
And across this 25-year journey of educating educators, training trainers, and leading leaders, we discovered the real secret to sustaining the soil: cultivating community! For more information about the NYC Compost Project Hosted by The New York Botanical Garden and our events in the Bronx, call our Helpline at 718.817.8543.
This article originally appeared as part of a series on responsible citizenry in the 2018–2019 issue of Garden News, NYBG’s seasonal newsletter. For further reading, view the issue online and discover a sampling of stories about our current efforts and activities that promote, engage, and support active and responsible citizenry on local, regional, and global levels.