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  • Louise Divine, Director RHSFA

Let it Rot! International Compost Awareness Week

We invite you to look around and see the great local restaurants, coffee shops and juice bars that are joining the composting effort by sorting and saving food scraps to be picked up, hauled away and turned into rich compost. These businesses are actually keeping tons and tons - of food waste out of the landfill. Their food scraps go directly into compost piles large and small, turning into a rich soil amendment that will grow healthier crops, save water, and reduce methane gas in the atmosphere. Wow! We are happy to feature some of these local businesses and composters during International Compost Awareness Week. We consider their efforts heroic.

We will be posting little articles on our facebook page all week, Please appreciate the businesses we highlight and click the thumbs up.

Compost! Building a Better Future.

Our Composters:

Mark Tancig, Commercial/ Residential Horticulture Agent at UF/IFAS Leon County Extension Office, originally began picking up food waste from restaurants to haul home for compost for his personal veggie garden. Now he’s also giving it to others to use in their veggie gardens. Mark promotes composting through education and workshops. Their next workshop - Got Compost? - is on Tuesday, May 8 at the office. https://bit.ly/2ruAMhd

Compost Community - Compost Community is a network of urban professionals dedicated to strengthening the local food supply in the Big Bend area. CC provides collection and composting of organic waste materials from businesses and homes. They are committed to protecting the environment, reducing waste streams from businesses and residents and having fun doing it!

The Fish Wranglers - Apalachee Farms, Full Earth Farm, Longview Farms, Orchard Pond Organics, Ragged Glory, and Turkey Hill Farm pick up tons of fish waste from two local seafood retailers. All these farms are members of the Red Hills Small Farm Alliance.

The Businesses:

Axios Lifestyle Spa – The staff at Axios saves the remains of all the veggies and fruit used in their juices. Here Amanda, Director of Customer Engagement, has scooped out a handful of the gorgeous stuff. Initially, Mark Tancig, picked up all their compost material. Now a few others are also getting some for their gardens. When Axios features a juice cleanse program and there’s even more for composting, they post on social media and customers flock in to pick it up.

Black Dog Café – At both shops, the staff saves coffee grounds and all the scraps from the fruits, veggies and herbs used in their handmade popsicles. Carla is building a new organic garden on her property and takes it all home. She buries the scraps and grounds in trenches where the beds will be. While not technically composting, the soil microbes do their work and the blueberries thrive on the acidic coffee grounds.

Decent Pizza - Jacob and staff save scraps from the pizza toppings. Originally Jacob took these home for compost for his home veggie garden. Now Mark Tancig picks up much of this waste, uses some for compost for his own garden and shares with other gardeners. Decent Pizza strives for sustainability and is designated a Green4Tally business by Sustainable Tallahassee.

Kool Beanz – Keith Baxter is all smiles next to a big container of all veggie scraps of all kinds, with a few paper egg cartons thrown in – they’ll all break down in the hot compost where they are going. For 2 years Kool Beanz has used our local composting service, Compost Community. Compost Community hauls away the Kool Beanz’ kitchen waste 3 times a week; and this keeps literally tons of material out of the landfill. Keith wants his business to be part of the solution not the problem.

Southern Seafood - About 10 years ago Southern Seafood at Market Square began sending their fish waste to Turkey Hill Farm where it was composted for farm use. Currently the fishy bounty is shared by four area farms: Apalachee Farms, Longview Farms, Orchard Pond Organics, and the Ragged Glory. This effort keeps nearly 100 tons of waste out of the landfill!!!

Spears Seafood - Full Earth Farm picks up the fish waste from Spears Seafood on West Tennessee Street. This weekly pick up saves 50-75 tons from going to the landfill and enriches the soil at Full Earth in Quincy.

Uptown Café – Nic and the staff are enthusiastic about collecting all sorts of fruit and veggie scraps, eggshells and coffee grounds. It’s all collected by the kitchen and wait staff and picked up twice a week by Mark.

Community Events:

Nene Fest – Indianhead - Lehigh Neighborhood celebrated the 10th Annual Nene Fest in April. The festival has music, games, a show with giant puppets and, of course, food. The neighborhood is working to be sustainable in many ways, so contracted with Compost Community to collect most everything from the meal. The ‘Hood bought compostable plates and cutlery and put up several collection containers with big signs to make it clear to people what could be composted. Since Compost Community uses a hot composting process, even meat and cheese scraps from the lasagna dinner were collected.

Suwanee River Music Park - Lindsey Bradley-Brown of Tallahassee works with the management at the park to recycle waste generated during the episodic musical events. The compostables are hot composted at Turkey Hill Farm and Tree House Permaculture Center and then used for soil renewal.

Many more businesses make the effort to “be part of the solution.” Here are some that we know of: 4 Points Sheraton, Alpha Chi Omega Sorority, Cypress Restaurant, Edible Arrangements, FSU Dedman School of Hospitality, The Lunchbox, Proof Brewery, Sweet Pea Cafe, TasteBudz Catering, Sweet Pea Cafe, TasteBudz Catering, and Vertigo Burgers and Fries.

Do you have a favorite restaurant or business that recognizes the benefits of using compost to improve and maintain high quality soil, to grow healthy plants, reduce the use of fertilizer and pesticides, improve water quality and protect the environment? Please stop by your favorite(s), have a meal or a beverage and share a picture and their story of helping to turn would-be landfill waste into a beneficial product - organic matter and nutrients for the garden or lawn.