Soil Cycle: A Mobile Compost Initiative
|Project Lead:||La Casita Verde; and Eyebeam Atelier|
|2014 Project Partners:||Citizens of the World Charter School; John Ericsson M.S. 126; Northside Charter School; El Puente; Brooklyn Botanic Garden; and the School for Public Engagement at Purchase College|
|2015 Project Partners:||Citizens of the World Charter School; John Ericsson M.S. 126; Northside Charter High School; NYC Department of Parks and Recreations: Forestry Service; and GreenThumb|
|Project Location:||424 Leonard Street|
|Total GCEF Investment:||$52,600|
|2014 GCEF Grant:||$25,000||2015 GCEF Grant:||$27,600|
|Total Matching Contributions:||$0|
|2014 & 2015 Projects Completed:||January 2017|
In 2014, through a competitive process, La Casita Verde and fiscal sponsor Eyebeam Atelier received a $25,000 GCEF grant to fund a mobile compost initiative and other compost operations at three Greenpoint schools: Citizens of the World Charter School, John Ericsson M.S. 126, and Northside Charter High School, which are all housed in the same building. As part of the program, a specially-designed educational cargo bike, aka Soil Cycle, was built. Organic waste collected from Greenpoint was added to a compartment of the Soil Cycle and composted as the rider pedaled, giving students the opportunity to not only observe and monitor composting, but also actively participate in the process. The program also designed and built a solar-powered Aerated Static Pile (ASP) composting system in the school garden. The ASP system is affordable, easy to assemble, and reduces costs by automating some composting processes, making it a good composting choice for mid-sized organizations in an urban setting. Throughout the project, students learned first-hand the basics of microbiology, and the practice and benefits of urban composting, all while helping to reduce the amount of organic waste generated by their schools.
In 2015, after another competitive process, La Casita Verde and Eyebeam Atelier received an additional $27,600 GCEF grant to supplement the Soil Cycle project. Major activities supported by this GCEF funding included planning, implementing and maintaining composting operations at M.S. 126’s kitchen; training key members of M.S. 126’s school community (the two other previously involved schools did not participate) to join in these operations; managing the composting systems at the school; working with student “Soil Ambassadors,” teachers, and parents to assist with organic waste pickup; and distributing information about the program in the school’s community. As a part of this grant, two instructional videos and a user manual were created for use by the school to support the program, communicate its value to the public, and share information on composting for teachers, parents, and other stakeholders at the school.
In early 2016, due to the discovery of contaminants (polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs), the ASP compost system at M.S. 126 was transferred from the school garden to a side yard, which is open to the public during the weekdays. The change to this more publicly-accessible location necessitated the design of a wood chip storage container and compost, as well as hand-painted signage to designate the compost area and communicate program goal to the public.
Since the project’s conclusion, M.S. 126 teachers who were trained through the program have continued to incorporate materials generated by the project into their classrooms. M.S. 126 students continue to utilize the project’s ASP composting system to create fresh compost for the maintenance of their garden.
- Designed and built a solar-powered, Aerated Static Pile, composting system located at the school building
- Designed and built a “Soil Cycle” educational composting bicycle
- Conducted a series of “What is Compost” workshops, and developed a sample curriculum for 3 Greenpoint schools on the topics of food waste and composting
- Planned and implemented compost operations at John Ericcson M.S. 126, and trained key members of the school community, including staff members, teachers, and students, to administer these operations
- Designed and built a woodchip storage and compost screener; and created hand-painted signage to designate the compost area as well as communicate the program goals with the public
- Developed 2 instructional videos and a user manual for use by M.S. 126 to support their composting program, communicate its value to the public, and share information with teachers, parents, and other stakeholders
- Trained students at all 3 schools to be “Soil Ambassadors” which allowed them to operate the Soil Cycle bike in the Greenpoint community, thereby serving to educate the community on composting and its benefits
- Soil Cycle: A Mobile Compost Initiative: User Manual
- Soil Cycle: A Mobile Compost Initiative: Sample Curriculum
- Soil Cycle: A Mobile Compost Initiative: Elementary-Aged Worksheets
- Soil Cycle: A Mobile Compost Initiative: Instructional Videos:
Composting on Wheels: North Brooklyn Students Put a Peddle to the Metal (Greenpoint Gazette, May 28, 2015)