A few weeks ago, the Friday morning Kiddush prep volunteers started to save their vegetable and fruit scraps for composting, rather than placing them into the garbage. This initiative was the result of a brainstorm I had one morning.
I was preparing flower centerpieces for the Kiddush in honor of Andy Silkovitz. As I trimmed the stems and leaves, I realized I could save these pieces and bring them to my compost pile at home, as I would have done had I been doing this task at home. I also gathered up all the vegetable and fruit scraps from the kitchen, and brought the bag home. That week’s Kiddush scraps filled up one garbage bag. I have had a compost pile at home for 30 years, and just added Shomrei’s scraps to my pile. It occurred to me that this would be pretty easy to do every Friday morning when Kiddush is prepared at Shomrei.
Thanks to Eric Feldman and Ehud Klinger, Shomrei is now the proud owner of four shiny chrome compost buckets, complete with air filters to keep fruit flies out. The buckets (which bear a striking resemblance to R2D2) are used on Friday mornings for Kiddush prep. The compost buckets are “strictly vegan”: Only vegetable and fruit seeds, peels, scraps, etc. are put into the buckets. No processed food products (like vegetable oils), dairy products, meat, or carbohydrates are put into the bucket. Limiting the contents of the buckets makes it less likely that insects and animals will be attracted to the compost pile or container into which the buckets are emptied.
For those unfamiliar with composting, there are two primary benefits. First, by composting, we reduce the amount of garbage that needs to be collected, transported, and stored in landfills. Secondly, the vegetable and fruit scraps decompose over time and create a nutritious, odor-free soil-like material (called compost) that can be put back into gardens, making the soil richer for plants. The simple wire-enclosed compost pile I have in my backyard has definitely reduced my garbage output. My compost pile has given back many gallons of composted material to enrich my garden, resulting in happy, beautiful, and productive flowers and vegetable plants. Other members of the Shomrei community also compost their vegan scraps. Some people use a simple system like mine; others use a large composting container, about the size of a beer barrel, outside the house. Regardless of the system, composting is a very Earth-friendly activity.
Shomrei’s kitchen will be serving as a source of composting “raw material”. Kiddush prep volunteers put vegan scraps into one of the four buckets. The Friday morning buckets are brought to members’ homes; the empty, rinsed buckets are then brought back to Shomrei for next week’s Kiddush prep. Future plans include having a Shomrei Signup Genius so members can easily sign up to participate in composting, and expanding composting to other Shomrei food-related activities, such as MESH and the JLC. At some point, we may want to consider having a composting system at Shomrei and use the resulting compost in Shomrei’s gardens.
You can participate in Shomrei’s composting program in several ways:
- Offer your home compost pile as a destination for Shomrei’s vegan scraps
- Transport the Shomrei buckets to/from a local composting site
- Do both!
- Source and contact local organizations, and ask if they would be willing to accept Shomrei’s vegan scraps