relax

Author Topic: western queens compost collection  (Read 2983 times)

Offline skoullias

  • Resident
  • **
  • Posts: 35
western queens compost collection
« on: March 11, 2010, 11:11:18 AM »
Hello friends and neighbors,

I'm asking all of you to sign this petition to help us reach our goal of 1,000 signatures. Please sign if you care about our soil, air, and water... if you care about safer streets, cleaner food, and a greener community. Show your support for keeping our food waste from being trucked out and costlier fertilizers and mulches from being trucked in.

By signing you are adding your signature to a list that includes Joan Dye Gussow (Michael Pollan's self-proclaimed guru). Most of you are already eating locally. Please help us complete the cycle in Queens by supporting composting locally, too.

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/western-queens-compost-collection

Thanks

(please distribute, forward, facebook, share, and tweet - liberally and often)

Offline Dain Bramage

  • Mayor
  • ******
  • Posts: 513
  • Gender: Male
Re: western queens compost collection
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2010, 11:52:05 AM »
... if you care about safer streets, cleaner food, and a greener community.

Safer streets??

Offline skoullias

  • Resident
  • **
  • Posts: 35
Re: western queens compost collection
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2010, 11:57:56 AM »
compost collections MINUS trucks PLUS pedal-powered transport EQUALS safer streets (not to mention cleaner air)

Offline Dain Bramage

  • Mayor
  • ******
  • Posts: 513
  • Gender: Male
Re: western queens compost collection
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2010, 12:07:52 PM »
I'm not trying to be difficult, but wouldn't the respective green marketeers be bringing their own compostables back to their farm in the trucks they drove down in they leave the greenmarkets? 

or do some greenmarkets have places where you can drop off compost?    ...and wouldn't THAT be used back up at the respective green marketeers' farms?  (again, in the trucks they already drove down in)
« Last Edit: March 11, 2010, 12:20:55 PM by Dain Bramage »

Offline skoullias

  • Resident
  • **
  • Posts: 35
Re: western queens compost collection
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2010, 12:33:58 PM »
some farmers have in the past taken their CSA members food scraps, and possibly still do, but not all farmers can or will.

there are a few greenmarkets where compostables are collected, but it hasn't happened in queens yet as far as i know.

there's also something to be said about our food needing to be trucked in and our waste trucked out.

Offline okkichan

  • Mayor
  • ******
  • Posts: 575
  • Gender: Female
Re: western queens compost collection
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2010, 03:51:51 PM »
there's also something to be said about our food needing to be trucked in and our waste trucked out.

are you asking local farmers not to use trucks?  :?

Edited to add: I was under the impression that there was a compost collection at the Union Sq Market. I remember hearing about it on NPR I think? People would freeze their scraps and bring them in. I would love to do something like that, but Union Sq is not convenient for me. If something like that were available in Queens I would totally participate. I hate putting coffee grinds and veg scraps in the trash.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2010, 04:00:35 PM by okkichan »

Offline skoullias

  • Resident
  • **
  • Posts: 35
Re: western queens compost collection
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2010, 04:02:05 PM »
It's certainly been suggested that a more sustainable system would consist of many small farmers using railway and rivers, transporting their goods collectively. Certain farmer cooperatives, such as Orgnaic Valley (who I am not promoting or disparaging) collect milk form many small farmers and transport it in bulk, rather than all those farmers traveling to a depot. It's been argued that the former is more efficient than the later. There are others still that advocate for no transportation of food farther than X miles.

What seems to be missing on the post-consumer end is a responsible and effective way to process our waste. The follow-up report to the Food and Climate conference in December 2009, FoodNYC, indicates ten key areas for making NYC's food system more sustainable. One of these areas includes composting, and proposes three measures, one of which is community-scale composting.

Offline okkichan

  • Mayor
  • ******
  • Posts: 575
  • Gender: Female
Re: western queens compost collection
« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2010, 04:10:46 PM »
I agree that we need to alter our waste disposal options in the city. However, the transportation issue is a tough one. Someone has to get those milk and eggs to my bodega. And, I'd prefer they get it there as fast as possible. What I'd like to see is a different type of energy propelling the cars and trucks we have today. They're getting there... too slowly in my opinion.

But wait... this is about composting!  :mrgreen: Thanks for the link, and please come back and let us know if options to compost pubically in Queens become available. I will participate.

Offline Dain Bramage

  • Mayor
  • ******
  • Posts: 513
  • Gender: Male
Re: western queens compost collection
« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2010, 04:59:42 PM »
some farmers have in the past taken their CSA members food scraps, and possibly still do, but not all farmers can or will.

there are a few greenmarkets where compostables are collected, but it hasn't happened in queens yet as far as i know.

there's also something to be said about our food needing to be trucked in and our waste trucked out.

From petition: I, the undersigned, request compost collections in the Greenmarkets of western Queens, to be transported by pedal-powered means,  and composted in the community.

So the petition is specifically for western queens that doesn't collect compostables.   

Or is the petition to START collecting composting AND to have it pedaled in and around the community.   It's not very clear.  Please clarify.

are you asking local farmers not to use trucks?  :?

I was thinking the same thing.

Offline skoullias

  • Resident
  • **
  • Posts: 35
Re: western queens compost collection
« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2010, 06:16:15 PM »
From foodNYC (pg. 5):

Goal: Launch twin composting initiatives:
(a) support for large-scale composting through creation of a municipal facility; and
(b) support for small-scale composting through education, decentralized composting bins, and more pick-up locations.

- Reduce Food Waste
- Build a Municipal Composting Site
- Promote Small-Scale Composting
- Eliminate Barriers to Food Composting in Community Gardens


And expanded on page 26 is the promotion of small scale composting:

Promote Small-Scale Composting: The Department of Sanitation, the Department of Parks and Recreation, and CENYC, which runs the Office of Recycling Education and Outreach and Greenmarket, should explore opportunities to pursue individual and small-scale composting initiatives through additional farmers market pick-up locations, for instance. These efforts may require public-private partnerships which provide incentives for farmers to haul organic waste or small-scale composting in public parks, in order to be financially viable. Public policies that can facilitate these efforts should be explored.



What I am advocating for, above and beyond collection sites at farmers markets in Queens, is transporting the organic debris by bike and composting it locally. Many people won't believe it can be done, so they can simply not sign, or (should they think it would be great if it could be done) sign and be skeptical. Compostable waste (or organic debris) is more than "garbage" to be trucked out of sight and out of mind. 

Offline Dain Bramage

  • Mayor
  • ******
  • Posts: 513
  • Gender: Male
Re: western queens compost collection
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2010, 08:31:27 AM »
I scanned through that proposal (I obviously don't have as much free time as yourself) and noticed this paragraph.   I've highlighted the pertinent part...

Eliminate Barriers to Food Composting in Community Gardens: The New
York State Legislature should eliminate or modify the New York State
Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) regulation on composting
facilities (Chapter IV-Quality Services; Part 360.5) that allows for the registration
of a composting site only if the facility is 500 feet from the nearest surface water
body, potable well, and residence or place of business in densely populated or
“otherwise sensitive” areas.84 If a facility violates this rule, it requires a special
permit pursuant to the Solid Waste Management Facilities Part 360. To prevent
this rule from unreasonably deterring community gardens that wish to compost
food waste
, DEC should revise it by ensuring that it is not overly burdensome to
get an exception in New York City, or by requiring registration only for facilities
that process more than a minimum threshold, such as 500 cubic yards each year.


Now, getting past the fact that you want to petition change to a program that isn't even past the proposal stage...  don't you think that insisting that biking compost locally would be an "unreasonable deterrent" or "overly burdensome" on anyone that might be on the fence with getting involved?   It seems the city is trying to avoid being those things.

Would the city be the ones responsible for the 'biking' of the compost?   I can't imagine some of the more rotund sanitation workers on a bike (and I'm still not sure if it has multiple baskets, saddlebags or a trailer) hauling compostable waste from place to place.   How many places are you proposing this occurs?   How far apart?   I'm not sure how much experience you have with food waste, but in bulk, it's heavy.   How many bikes in your "fleet" do you think it would take to transport all this waste?   How long do you think it would take?   

I'm a big fan of baby steps.    Let's get this program (which I'm all for, even with the little of it I read) on it's feet and then propose reasonable changes to it.    Bio-diesel springs to mind.    Perhaps hybrid trucks.

Offline skoullias

  • Resident
  • **
  • Posts: 35
Re: western queens compost collection
« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2010, 09:57:23 AM »
Dear DB,

There are several ways in which we can address our collective behaviors that affect our world. Queens is the second most densely populated county in NYC, which is why we should start taking collective note to address the impact we make. Food is often a good way to address that impact. Shopping at a Greenmarket and buying into a CSA are good ways of addressing the impact that food has. Composting is another. Composting on the community level is being done, but isn't as prolific or available as it can be.

The fuel that biodiesel trucks run on didn't come from nowhere. It comes from an abundance of used vegetable oils, which in turn are made possible by petrochemical inputs to machinery and chemicals (for both fertilization and pest reduction), as well as by genetic modification of crops grown to produce those oils. The fuel itself (as is the case with the vegetable oil that it once was) has to be refined and transported, which in a systemic view has been grounds for arguing that the law of diminishing returns is applicable. In the three R's (reduce, reuse, recycle) the order they are in indicates their priority in relation to environmental protection... reducing the inputs needed for our waste to travel and be processed isn't a leap of faith for everyone.

Hybrid technology, while it does help reduce non-point pollution, still also relies on petrochemical inputs as well... to fuel and to manufacture. Composting doesn't really need complicated technological inputs to work, nor does it rely on specialized knowledge that an expert is required for. It is a skill that can be shared with anyone.

While he is a catasrophist and a bit of a depressing read, I would recommend James Kuntsler's The Long Emergency on why decentralized, or community-supported, technology is not just a good idea, but one that many communities survival may soon depend on. For more on appropriate technology at a community scale (or intermediate technology), I would point you to E.F. Schummacher's Small Is Beatiful. And for the driving impetus, aside from the political support provided by the foodNYC policy paper, I would offer Woody Tasch's Slow Money.

I'm not going trying to convince people that aren't already convinced that this can work. I'm collecting the signatures of those that do, so as to use as a tool for demonstrating that, on paper, there's actual support for such a proposal in this community. Petitioning in person last night, I collected over 35 signatures in an hour alone. If you don't want this to happen or don't believe it can, please don't sign.

You point out that the report mentions the DEC should not make it overly burdensome for community gardens or facilities that process less than 500 cu.yds. per year, are 500 ft. from the closest body of surface water, residences, & business in densely populated or otherwise sensitive areas to require a special permit. You then apply this burdensome step which creates unreasonably deterrent conditions to bicycling, which is not the encumbrance that is holding back the processing of organic debris in the first place. There are several apartment buildings in the city, including some in Queens, whose owners or managers have realized the benefits of composting and have implemented it in their buildings. There is also pedal-powered compost collection at farmers markets in Brooklyn, and of course the largest community-scale compost project in the city is the LES Ecology Project. If you want to learn more about community-scale compost projects, I'd recommend the free workshop on that very topic at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden this Saturday.

My farmer had a busted meniscus in her knee cap in the height of the season last year. Getting surgery would have put her off her feet for three weeks. She pushed through it to make sure her farm didn't go under. However, for her the imperative was more than an economic one, to fulfill orders to heirloom tomato-loving city dwellers; she considers herself first and foremost an environmental steward. I feel like I should be willing to structure my priorities to match her efforts (and so many others like her) to some extent. I know that others too, to varying extents, are prepared to structure theirs accordingly as well. Purchasing produce from a farmer either at the market or through a CSA is testimony to how individuals have restructured their priorities (again, to varying degrees) to alter their impact.

If you'd like to learn more about the project this petition is premised on, please visit http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/wqnscompost/western-queens-compost-initiative

(I really didn't want to plug it here yet, but I feel like you've left me few other options.)

Thanks for your interest in this project,

Stephanos Koullias
718 704 4734

P.S. The first MacArthur "Genius" full-time farmer, Cherly Rogowski, who was a pioneer of the CSA movement in NY, was discouraged by her father, a commodity farmer, from considering the CSA model as one that is viable. Consider how useful it would have been to her to listen that bit of advice.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2010, 10:17:27 AM by skoullias »

Offline Bentleys Dad

  • Governor
  • ***********
  • Posts: 2327
Re: western queens compost collection
« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2010, 01:01:52 PM »
I, for one, think it's a great idea but it would need far more than just a petition,and $2,500, to get it off the ground. First I have a few questions.

1) Where would the compost pile(s) be located?
2) Who would be doing the transporting of waste to the compost pile(s)?
3) Do you intend on purchasing a work trike or building it yourself or having someone build it for you, either professionally or a a hobbyist?
4) Will the work-trike be a front of a rear mounted trike? (the reason I ask this is dependent on whether or not you plan on climbing hills or not)
5) Do you plan on making this a nonprofit organization? Or will it be a purely volunteer organization?


FYI the Union Square Green-market has kitchen scrap collection for composting every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday which is done by the LES Ecology Center.
if you stand for nothing you will fall for anything

Offline skoullias

  • Resident
  • **
  • Posts: 35
Re: western queens compost collection
« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2010, 01:27:04 PM »
I urge to to follow us on twitter @ wqnscompost and check out our kickstarter campaign for updates.

Our project is also listed on ioby.org , for those that wish to give anonymously. Additional funding will come through grants. Check back in about a month for the opportunity to back our kickstarter campaign campaign with matching funds that will double your potential to help us reach that goal.

Offline skoullias

  • Resident
  • **
  • Posts: 35
Re: western queens compost collection (matching funds this week only)
« Reply #14 on: April 15, 2010, 08:53:26 PM »
We've got some great news! Thanks to the kind and generous offer from an anonymous donor, donations to our ioby project this week will be matched dollar for dollar. This doubles your donation. You give a dollar; funds to provide composting for Greenmarket's and CSA's get two dollars. Don't wait, donate now.

This generous match lasts for this week only, so please, give as much as you can, and our donor will match it, dollar for dollar. We raised over 80% of the funds for this campaign in the past 24 hrs. Please help us reach 100% in the next 24 hrs.




 

Visit our sister site Jackson Heights Life