From Vacants to Vegetables: How do I build a garden?

As reported in my last post, I obtained rights to build a community garden on a vacant lot from the City of Baltimore. But I have never actually gardened, and had no idea how to build a garden from scratch. After doing my homework, and looking into examples of urban gardens online and around the city, I had a better idea of where to start. So this is what I had to start with (see above). Not so great in the natural light department, but at least there wasn’t any trash to clean up!

The lot. 414 E 26th …read more

Composting in the City

I first learned about composting in 2009 while living in an intentional community in the upper level of a rehabbed church in Post-Katrina New Orleans. Seven of us shared one refrigerator, one common living area, and one small trash can, and one even smaller trash can. The second trash can was actually more like a canister—less than a foot high, roughly eight inches in circumference and was used for compost scraps.

There are multiple forms of composting, but the most common form for city dwellers is Backyard composting. You combine browns (fallen leaves or straw), greens (grass clippings and …read more

Create Nutrient-Rich Soils to Sustain Neighborhoods, Businesses & Ecosystems

Steaming compost (Photo credit: SuperFantastic)

We already know that Americans waste a lot of food. In 2010 alone, more than 34 million tons of food waste was generated, with only three percent diverted from landfills and incinerators for composting.

Harnessing the power of food-scraps through composting would remove millions of tons from the waste stream while generating rich nutrients for your garden. But, let’s face it turning our food waste into rich nutrients has not always been easy, especially for city dwellers.

Fortunately, sustainable waste management roots appear to be taking hold here in Maryland. While nationally only 3 …read more

A Curbside Composting Program Sprouts in Baltimore

The greener-minded love the idea of composting. But do they actually compost? The lack of space, threat of rodents, wrong equipment, or odor deter many of us from halting our endless stuffing of food down garbage disposals and instead producing abundant soil, while keeping methane at bay.

This is especially true for busy city-dwellers. That’s why Compost Cab sprouted up in Washington, D.C. recently and is now rolling its way into two Baltimore City neighborhoods (Charles Village and Canton) to remove the yuck from the composting cycle for the masses.

How does it work? Sign up on the Compost …read more

Curbside Composting vs. Big Trash

San Francisco stands as the poster child for promoting composting. The city successfully planted the curbside composting seed 16 years ago, and today, recovers 600 tons of yard and food waste every day.

Throwing banana peels, egg shells, leaves, and limbs into heaps of compost preserves dwindling space in dumps and ultimately saves cities like San Francisco money. It also eliminates much of the methane produced by organic matter in dumps and cuts emissions by (potentially) millions of metric tons a year.

While 100 cities have curbside composting programs in place now, why haven’t business and environmental minds alike …read more