Haddington Community Composting Program: An Urban Tree Connection, Keep Philadelphia Beautiful & Bennett Compost Initiative
Keep Philadelphia Beautiful is not only dedicated to community building and tackling the litter problem in our City; we’re also passionate about reducing the amount of waste we produce in general. That’s why we were so thrilled to partner with The Urban Tree Connection and Bennett Compost, thanks to a generous 2013 Waste Management and Keep America Beautiful Think Green Grant (you may remember this!), to establish a community composting program in the high-needs neighborhood of Haddington (around 53rd and Wyalusing) in West Philadelphia.
The initiative had three goals: (1) education surrounding composting and sustainable waste disposal; (2) increased community and civic engagement; and (3) youth training and engagement.
What follows is a final report of our work during the year-long grant period. If you would like to find out more, or get involved, we would love to hear from you! Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a ring at 215-854-4000.
How the Program Worked
Recruitment: The Urban Tree Connection worked with block captains in Haddington to sign 25 families up to take part in the program. Members received bins and weekly pickup of their compostable waste, as well as educational materials about composting and its importance. Most of the participating households were located adjacent to the Urban Tree Connection’s main farm site, Neighborhood Foods Farm.
Youth Engagement: UTC, KPB and Bennett Compost hired one local teen from UTC’s Summer WorkReady Program, Destiny, to pick up the compostable waste from each member household, and deliver it back to Neighborhood Foods Farm, where she would then train with block captains at the community market. Bennett Compost would then pick up those food scraps and turn them in to finished compost.
Youth and Community Education: Destiny received business education classes from the founder of Bennett Compost, Tim Bennett, and got the opportunity to teach her neighbors in Haddington about composting and sustainable waste disposal through the compost pick-up process and markets at Neighborhood Foods Farm.
Nonparticipating families on nearby Pearl Street began collecting compost on their own and taking to garden bins.
The door-to-door pick-up at the beginning of markets created a close-loop/ sustainable system; participating households did their food buying and food-scrap-recycling at the same time each week.
This program has proven to be a deep and meaningful mentorship and training program for Destiny. Destiny has developed true friendships, and taken ownership / leadership over her position.
We have already added an additional five households to the program this year.
The Urban Tree Connection, Keep Philadelphia Beautiful, and Bennett Compost intend to continue this program past the Think Green Grant funding period.
We are exploring ways to fit this initiative in to the Urban Tree Connection’s existing youth programming, as well as how to expand our efforts, in the coming months and years.