Archive for food scraps

Neighborhood Compost Project

Food-Scraps to Farms

The Neighborhood Compost Project makes it easier and more affordable than ever to get the food-scraps from your kitchen to local farms. Community Compost transports the food-scraps to local farms that use the material to make compost to feed their soil. Instead of this valuable resource being dumped in the landfill, we make sure it completes the natural cycle and becomes nutrition for locally grown produce.

How it Works

The way the Neighborhood Compost Project works is simple. We provide you with a 5-gallon bucket to collect your household food-scraps. Each week, you bring the bucket to the designated drop-site in your neighborhood. There will be a clean bucket for you to pick-up when you drop off your scraps. This new model enables Community Compost to pick-up more food-scraps from fewer locations, which allows us to lower our rates to customers.

How to Join

To participate in the Neighborhood Compost Project all you need to do is call 541-301-3426, or email to localtolocal@rogueproduce.com. We will determine the ideal drop-site closest to your home, supply you with a bucket, and get you started with our service. The monthly rate is only $14.95 ($3.45 per pick-up).

Food-Scraps Feed the Soil

When you participate in Community Compost you are providing a real and substantial benefit to local farms. Evers Ridge Farm, in Medford, is one of our newest partners. Evers Ridge is planting acres and acres of drought resistant fruit and nut trees. They just finished planting their first 500 trees! Every row of trees is being nourished from a compost mixture produced with the help of food-scraps collected from residents and local businesses. Check out this video interview (or view the video below) we created with Evers Ridge Farm to see how the process works.

Contact us today to get started in the Neighborhood Compost Project by Community Compost, and please share this post with your friends and neighbors!

Where The Food Scraps Go

It’s a Win All Around

Community Compost has been collecting residential and commercial food scraps in Southern Oregon for over 10 years. With the help of local farms we’ve come up with smart systems for returning food scraps back to the soil to grow the fruits and veggies we all enjoy. We’d like to share this video showing you where some of the food scraps go to continue their journey in the local agricultural cycle. Check out our interview with one of our new Farm Partners, Evers Ridge Farm, and meet our new friends: Thomas, Hannah, Jessica, and Gus!

 

Support our Partners

We are ever grateful to the residents and businesses of Southern Oregon that support the Community Compost program. Here’s a list of some of the restaurants and markets that participate in our regular food scrap collection. Not only are these partners smart with their food scraps – they also make delicious food! Visit these local businesses to support a smart system that reduces waste in our landfills and supports our local farms.

Clyde’s Corner, Phoenix

Rooted, Medford

Higher Power Raw Foods, Ashland

Market of Choice, Medford

Vida Baking Company, Ashland

 

Public Schools

Community Compost also collects food scraps from several local Elementary Schools: Talent, Phoenix, and Orchard Hill. Students get involved and learn about what goes in the compost bin and how the food scraps end up turning into food for the soil. The students also make some pretty awesome art on the collection bins!

 

Sign-Up, and Spread the Word

We’re always happy to take on new partners! You can sign-up for our residential pick-up service, or encourage a local restaurant, market, or school to sign-up for our commercial collection program.

Clyde’s Corner, Compost Connection!

Clyde’s Corner, Newest Compost Partner!

Yummy woodfired pizzas!

We’ve been reaching out to local restaurants and markets to see share about our Community Compost program, and we’re happy to announce that Clyde’s Corner, in Phoenix, is our latest new customer! Here are a few words from the owners at Clyde’s Corner:

Clyde’s Corner is a woodfired pizza restaurant located at the heart of Southern Oregon in the City of Phoenix. We work with top quality companies to source the ingredients used to create our sauces, dressings, sourdough, sausage and more. Though we are known by many for our food, we also feature biodynamic and organic wines from around the world, northwest beers and hand-crafted cocktails made with fresh squeezed ingredients.

The food scraps left over from our in-house preparations such as onion peels, lettuce, herb stalks and citrus peels are not usable at the restaurant. While our employees utilize some suitable scraps for chicken feed, the majority has been going to the landfill since our opening two years ago. We were very excited when Community Compost reached out to us about joining their composting program. Our food scraps are now being brought to local farms and turned into top grade soil for their crops. Clyde’s Corner is proud to work with companies like Community Compost to be a part of a more sustainable future!

Benefits All Around

Clyde’s Corner owners, with their hands full!

It was a pleasure to meet the owners of this pizza paradise, a venue frequently enjoyed by the employees of Rogue Produce as a place to hang out with friends and family, and to enjoy great eats and drinks!

Not only is this restaurant a new member of Community Compost, but we also hope to provide this local restaurant with some of the bounty of our Farm Collective efforts.

Customers pay us to pick-up their food scraps because they care about our local farms and the smart management of our local resources. We support Clyde’s Corner by promoting their business, and (soon) by giving them great deals on local produce. We’d love it if you can show your support as well and head to their restaurant at 4495 S Pacific Hwy, in Phoenix. It’s a great environment with outdoor seating, great food, and a friendly staff.

You can also support our efforts by ordering local produce deliveries through our Online Farmers Market!

The Toil for Healthy Soil

Happy Dirt Veggie Patch is a drop off point for Community Compost. We are a small 3 acre farm in Phoenix that grows a wide variety of vegetables. We maintain healthy soil with compost made on site. Your peels and pits, leftovers and less-than-their-best veggie scraps arrive at the farm in trash barrels that get dumped into big piles for processing.

The first thing we do is look through the fresh droppings for anything that doesn’t belong. Almost any naturally produced item can contribute to building healthy soil – but plastics, metal or any other questionable trash that won’t break down is picked out and put in the regular trash. Meat and dairy products can theoretically be composted, but as a practical matter we exclude them as much as possible because they attract critters that we would rather not have to contend with.

Packaging items that are labeled as “compostable” typically don’t work very well in our system, so we pick most of those out too. Thin green compostable bags work ok, but compostable cutlery and dishes, etc that are more substantial take much too long to digest in our small operation. So into the trash they go.

Another indigestible item is the plastic stickers that come on produce. We have to let these go through at this early point in the process, because trying to remove them all is impractical. We have found that it is easier to remove them from finished compost than at the beginning of the process. Still, this is the biggest contamination issue we deal with. Thousands of stickers, still sticking to their morsel of compost! It is a huge headache trying to remove them all, not to mention hours of labor. We would love it if customers could remove stickers from their produce before tossing them. An even better solution would be  for the industry to go to paper stickers. After all – the entire purpose of the sticker is to exist for a fraction of a second to speed things up at the checkout stand. After that nobody cares. So why do we make stickers that last for generations? The simplest thing with a very simple solution ends up being a blight upon the land. Paper breaks down easily in compost – plastic does not. 

One more irksome item is plastic teabags. They absolutely do not break down, and pop up in otherwise finished compost with amazing frequency. Each one requires bending over, emptying their enclosed contents, and getting it to a proper disposal receptacle. Much easier would be for everyone to use paper tea bags which easily return to the Earth.

Once we have the compost spread out on the piles, we let it sit in the sun for a day or so, weather permitting, to dry it a bit. In Winter we often cover with tarps to keep excess rain off the piles. Compost needs some moisture to work properly, but too much moisture prevents enough air from getting into the pile. While the food is drying in the air, it is very attractive to a variety of birds in the area. Throughout the day, flocks of birds come visit the compost – taking some and pooping some – stirring it up and speeding the digestion process. Some come for the ripe fruits, some for the multitude of bugs and worms.

At night, there are other critters which visit the piles, mainly skunks, raccoons, and opossums. Feral cats are also on the prowl. These animals also like to feed on rodents, so there are no rats to be found and only rare sightings of mice.

When the latest dump load has dried, we cover it with straw, leaves, dry grass clippings or other farm clippings. This introduces the “brown” component that gives microbes the balance of nutrients they need to activate the digestion process. We layer the pile with additional loads of “fresh” produce until it is big enough to start cooking on its own. 

At this point we take our trusty old tractor and turn the pile and mix all the ingredients together. Once it is all mixed, the composting process really accelerates. Within 2-3 days the temperature of the pile will soar, eventually reaching 140-150 degrees. Thermophyllic bacteria do the work of eating it all and gradually turning it into beautiful brown humus. These bacteria also eat and digest any pathogenic microbes that may happen along the way. It takes a few weeks until the temperature goes back down. We then turn the pile (which is considerably smaller by now) one more time. The pile heats up once again , but reverts to ambient temperature more quickly. After the second turning, piles are left to finish for several months. This allows the beneficial fungi and earthworms to infiltrate and leaves us with a beautiful, rich, sweet-smelling compost that is pure nutrition for our crops and essential for maintaining healthy soil.

We are very thankful for all of those who contribute their compost through Community Compost. We are also very excited to now be getting leftovers from the new Market of Choice in Medford. This will increase our supply of home-made compost significantly, which will help increase our production of local veggies! All of the compost we make is used on-site to fertilize our crops and maintain healthy soil, eliminating most of the need for expensive fertilizers from faraway places.

Thank you for your support!