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Of Soup, Juice, and Compost

Ways To Eliminate Food Waste

By Rebecca Born

Executive Director, GPHC, Inc.

This summer at Greater Park Hill Community, Inc., we are focusing on sustainability. This is the first piece in a series of how to practice sustainability on a beginner’s level. We’ll include some quick tips and easy-to-understand ideas in each piece.

Food Waste is a topic that you’ve probably seen in trending articles and the news. Our landfills are full of food – some of it was edible when tossed, some was not. There are millions of hungry people, but more than enough food is being produced, so how is so much going to waste? The answers are complicated and global, but we can help reduce food waste here in Park Hill.

An easy way to reduce your personal food waste is to donate the produce your family won’t eat to GPHC Food Pantry. A lot of folks think that pantries only take canned items, but for many pantries that is not the case anymore, many like us, have appropriate storage space to safely store and distribute fresh produce .

We offer produce to neighbors every Monday and Wednesday here at the office, at 2823 Fairfax St. You can drop fresh produce off Monday-Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. We’ll begin our Free Farmstand Mondays this month.

If produce is past the point where you should donate it, you can use it to make stock and you can juice it. Or, if it isn’t fit for any consumption… COMPOST IT! Compost in Colorado is a little different than most places. Our air is very dry and we have long periods of cold weather. Compost works best in consistently warm and moist periods, but we can do it here.

Compost will help reclaim the nutrients in your food waste while keeping it out of the landfill. For the most success, get a lot of compostable material together first rather than adding to an existing pile. I find that an old rubbermade with holes drilled in for drainage is a good compost bin in Colorado, as it keeps the sides and top from drying out, which is an issue here in our climate.

When you start constructing your pile think of it as a really gross lasagna. You want to layer “green” items like vegetable and fruit waste with “brown” items like dried leaves, shredded newsprint or dried grass trimming.

As you build your layers, add a little water and break up any big things with a shovel. When you get close to the top of your bin, use a pitch fork or shovel to turn it all in together and add water till its moist but not wet. Turn frequently. In the very best summer conditions, your compost will be done in about a month or two, but don’t be discouraged if it slows almost to a stop in winter conditions.

Once the mass is rich, dark, and crumbly throughout, add it to your garden for spectacular growth and a nice remedy for our clay rich soil.

Resources:

There are free classes offered throughout the year to learn how to compost with experts in Denver. Go to the Denver Urban Gardens webpage to learn more at https://dug.org/compost/

Wednesday, June 1st, 6:00 – 8:00pm

Saturday, June 4th, 9:00 – 11:00am

Wednesday, June 8th, 6:00 – 8:00pm

Saturday, June 11th, 9:00 – 11:00am (Worm Workshop)

Wednesday, June 15th, 6:00 – 8:00pm

Saturday, June 18th, 9:00 – 11:00am (Build-A-Pile)

Learn more about reducing food waste with Denver Food Rescue by checking out denverfoodrescue.org.


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