Recycling waste into soil for gardening and farming
There is a growing appreciation for all things local. From locally-grown food to homemade goods, investing in your community is important and beneficial. There are many different ways to contribute including buying local, but there is also another way, and it begins with your trash and food waste, it is called composting.
Composting is a recycling method that takes old food scraps and waste and transforms it into soil that can be used for gardening and farming. JD Hill, co-founder of Recycled City, a Phoenix-based compost service company, explained the composting process, “anything natural, that was once alive, decomposes after it dies. Micro-organisms consume and recycle the components so they can be reused by plants.”
The art of composting not only changes the way one disposes of their garbage, but it also helps in creating healthy soil that is used in farmland and gardens to grow nutritious local produce.
Recycled City aims to make composting easy for Phoenix locals. Residents that use Recycled City receive a bin and throughout the week fill the bin with compostable items, anything from banana peels to paper plates, and then Recycled City picks up the bin once a week. “We pick up food waste from homes and restaurants, and haul it to a farm on 9th Ave. and Baseline. Here we form large piles of food waste and wood chips with a tractor. The piles are watered and turned every week, and in four months we have finished compost,” says Hill. When the compost is finished, Recycled City either returns the soil to customers, donates it or uses it to grow food in backyards and small local farms.
Hill stresses the importance of investing in local farms. He explained that his favorite aspect of his work with composting is the opportunity to grow farmland in Phoenix. He also stressed that this is one of the main reasons people should compost. “Our soils are disappearing due to conventional farming. Composting is one of the best ways we can fix this problem.” Creating more farmland can help the community grow more local produce,” he says.
Chad and Erin Romanoff, owners of The Uprooted Kitchen mobile food truck and Chandler residents, use organic and fresh local produce frequently. The Uprooted Kitchen’s menu contains vegetarian options and is focused around certified organic produce, much of which is grown locally at The Farm at Agritopia.
The couple decided to begin composting due to the amount of waste generated from owning and operating their food truck. From the food waste to utensils, they knew there was a better option to dispose of these items. “In our minds composting just makes sense,” says Chad. “Food comes from the earth, it should be returned there to generate more nourishing food. It is quite simple but also quite miraculous.”
The Romanoffs loved the idea that their food waste could actually benefit others in the community.
“Recycled City has done an amazing job creating gardens within our city – in places that would normally not have access to beautifully grown produce,” Chad says. “We think that this is such an important movement to be a part of. We also love the ease of using Recycled City. We have a very busy work and home life. They pick up our waste weekly and leave us with new empty bins. It couldn’t be more simple.”
They believe that composting is an important aspect of how they run their business. “We love being able to educate others about composting ,” Chad adds. “We have regular conversations with our customers about using Recycled City. It helps represent who we are as a business and illustrates the fact that we have such a respect for food that comes from our earth.”
From food waste, to the farm and to the table, composting is an important activity that not only creates opportunities for farming and growing fresh produce, but also reduces the waste we create. Recycled City is changing how we view waste and is also encouraging Arizonans to value local produce and urban farming. Learn more at recycledcity.com.