The Upper Valley community is creating a more sustainable environment this year. In an effort to cut back on food waste, food scraps will be turned into compost that is used to grow more vegetables and feed the community! By collaborating with different community sectors, we can see various needs being met and find real, lasting solutions.
In order to process the food scraps and other organic waste from the public, Sunrise Farm
is building a new compost facility and management system. Vital Communities
is creating positive change in conjunction with Willow Tree Community Compost
and Sunrise Farm which seeks to make the cycle of
consumption a more sustainable one. They will be working with Grow More, Waste Less | Food Systems Consulting, LLC
to support the facility design and
process management. They will also be creating educational materials that will
be a model for other farms and communities in Vermont.
Quality compost is a key element to a thriving organic farm and is also needed for the expanding vegetable business Sunrise Farm is seeing. Good compost needs good carbon, which takes lots of work and materials. By creating compost facilities, also referred to as carbon management facilities, the farm is able to create more jobs, nourish more plants, and absorb and utilize what would have gone to waste. By closing this loop, we can start seeing the “waste” as the resource that strengthens our soil, plants, food, economy, and relationship.
The new Universal Recycling Law went into effect in July 2020, which states that all Vermont residents must separate food scraps as well as leaf and yard debris from their trash. Willow Tree Community Compost is developing their curbside food scraps pickup in Hartford Village, Wilder, and White River Junction neighborhoods and will deliver it for composting at the Sunrise Farm. Sunrise Farm endeavors to be as sustainable as possible, which is why it was important to find a way to create lots of rich, healthy soil through local means instead of shipping bags of fertilizer around the world. To learn more about Sunrise Farm’s compost facilities, click here.
For the last 20 years, Sunrise Farm has been composting its own vegetable and animal waste but couldn’t accept or use the general community food waste because it required more active management and resources than it had. Now the farm will be building facilities such as fencing and a bin management system that supports tractor operations. This will allow the community food waste to be mixed with wood chips, leaves, animal manure, and other organic matter that is then brought to a high temperature and transformed into compost. This compost is ready to enrich the soil and nourish the farm plants in the greenhouses and fields. The nutrients would otherwise be lost if it were to go into a landfill where it can’t break down properly and releases greenhouse gases.
It is so important to be creative in finding solutions and in the ways we support each other on a local level. Through the community efforts in creating this compost facility in Hartford, Vermont, we can see that we have everything we need at our back door. If we work together and focus on what we already have, there is so much opportunity for everyone to grow stronger.