Food 'waste' growing soil in Erskineville community garden

Julie Moffat from Erskineville's community garden tells the story of how the gardeners gather local food waste to grow soil for the garden by composting the food scraps.  Thank you, Julie, a terrific story.

Hi Michael,

I have some photographs with the green waste collection, which are boxes from the local fruit and veg store. 

  • Food waste from local Erskineville fruit n veggie store

• Food waste from local Erskineville fruit n veggie store

The boxes are mixed with outer leaves and cuttings and other such produce that is no longer saleable. 

The lovely owners and staff keep it in the boxes and store it in their refrigeration room until we collect with our trolley, usually twice per week. 

Each collection is 3-4 large size boxes, more in the hotter summer months because the leafy veggies are harder to keep fresh in the heat. I give as much as possible to our chickens and then it goes to the compost bins in the Community Garden. 

The bins will often fill all the way to the top with this, and then within half a week has composted right down. It's amazing. The cycle of filling and composting in these bins can extend for more than 6 months. 

 •  Three boxes of food waste to be trolleyed to the Erskineville community garden

Three boxes of food waste to be trolleyed to the Erskineville community garden

We have 3 x 400 litre bins and we tend to have just 1 or 2 actively composting, and 1 stay empty, then when we empty a bin we leave it inactive and start using the empty one. We take the chickens along for an excursion during the emptying, as there are lots of exciting grubs for them. 

 •  Chooks love compost

Chooks love compost

And the magpies must be keeping watch because they start flying in for grubs. 

I estimate we collect approx .6 cubic metres per week (I think, maths being each box .57x.37x.33m), and I am really proud that we can divert that waste from being transported somewhere to landfill, where we keep it local, transported manually, and composted locally, and the compost is used in our garden beds to enrich the soil for our gardening.

 •  Composting food waste and cardboard

Composting food waste and cardboard

When we find the plastic sleeves or other plastic in the boxes amongst the greens, we collect it and it goes into the redcycle bins at the supermarket. 

I was told this soft plastic waste is not sent to China, but a company in Australia recycles it into plastic furniture.

Thanks for asking me to share.

Regards,

Julie