The use of Permaculture Techniques to Lower the Cost and Space Requirements of Composting

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1 The use of Permaculture Techniques to Lower the Cost and Space Requirements of Composting LANETTE SOBEL Self Reliance. Neighborhood Organizing. Reducing Carbon Emissions. Localization of Resources. Environmental Awareness. Seed Saving. Seed Growing. Green Jobs. Composting. Action. Independence. Sustainability

2 Fertile Earth s Mission. To bring abundance, health and self-sufficiency to our community and be at the forefront of the green movement by facilitating innovative technologies and ideas which take into account people, planet and prosperity

3 The one thing we will never stop producing.. Equals 6.8 pounds/person/day American National Average = 4 pounds/person/day US produces 40% of the world s waste

4 On another note.. There are nearly 200 parks in Miami.

5 There are nearly 100 non-buildable sites owned by Miami-Dade County alone.

6 There are virtually 1000 s of opportunities for Urban Community Gardens.

7 community gardens are affordable. The annual cost of most community gardens are minimal because residents, rather than city employees, are responsible for maintenance. BUT the largest expense is typically the soil

8 The Idea. Why not combine our needs for better waste disposal with our desire to create a more sustainable community? Hotels Composting Urban Gardens = In 2010, we launched a 6 month pilot project with the City of Miami called FERTILE ROOTS MIAMI. Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Epic Hotel & Perricone s Restaurant participated and diverted 10,000 pounds of food from the landfills in 3 months

9 The differentiating idea Keep it LOCAL. The project never left the City of Miami: Hotel/Restaurant Urban Garden Composting Facility No more than 1-6 miles apart

10 The differentiating idea Keep it LOCAL. The project never left the City of Miami: Hotel/Restaurant Urban Garden Composting Facility No more than 1-6 miles apart

11 What we were working with Food scraps from the Mandarin Oriental

12 What we were working with

13 The differentiating idea Keep it LOCAL. In-vessel machinery used to compost the food scraps

14 The differentiating idea Keep it LOCAL.

15 The differentiating idea Keep it LOCAL. Finished compost is loaded up in pickup trucks to be taken to Roots in the City, an urban garden in Overtown, and Troy Academy Garden, an urban garden attached to a juvenile detention center

16 The differentiating idea Keep it LOCAL. Test plot at Troy, 4 of compost added to vegetable bed

17 community gardens to become hotel s food resource In the final stage, our hope was that local urban farmers will provide restaurants with fresh organically-grown produce. We lost funding and the hotels gardens connection never happened, but

18 The Results Very impressive growing results Local Farmers Market in Overtown created But in the end, too expensive, could not find funding Actual rutabaga grown with 100% compost created from Fertile Roots Miami

19 What We Learned. In-vessel machinery great in areas where large tracts of land are not located close to source of waste generation. Very small foot print, quick process. Drawback: very expensive. Are there other alternatives?

20 Enter: Permaculture The word "permaculture" was coined in 1978 by Bill Mollison, an Australian ecologist, and one of his students, David Holmgren. It is a contraction of "permanent agriculture" and culture." Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature It s the development of agricultural ecosystems intended to be sustainable and selfsufficient

21 Natural Buildings

22 Food Forests

23 Intensive Agriculture

24 The Reincarnation. Roots in the City Food Forest Project USDA funded Converting a vacant lot in underserved urban area into a Food Forest in 3 years using Permaculture techniques

25 The Reincarnation. Roots in the City Vacant Inner City Lot Historic Overtown Downtown Miami As of 2000, it had a population of approximately 10,029, of which more than 74.77% are African American

26 The Reincarnation. The Neighborhood: Overtown is one of the most economically depressed areas of Miami. Median household income: $13,211.99

27 Vacant lot used as dump site The Reincarnation.

28 Permaculture Technique: Sheet Mulching The Plan: Create a Food Forest & Use Sheet Mulching to build soil fertility before planting Simple Concept

29 Permaculture Technique: Sheet Mulching Numerous sheet mulching methods but same general concept

30 Mulch dropped off for free by landscapers & cardboard collected Sheet Mulching Process

31 Cardboard (picked up for free) laid down as weed barrier Sheet Mulching Process Step 1

32 Mulch layered over the cardboard Sheet Mulching Process Step 2

33 Fresh food residuals from hotel layered over the cardboard Sheet Mulching Process Step 3

34 Mulch used to cover food residuals Sheet Mulching Process Step 4

35 In the end the goal is to cover all the grass with several layers of carbon & nitrogen Sheet Mulching Process

36 The neighbor s lot on the left, Garden on the right The Reincarnation.

37 Once an abandoned lot, we are just starting to turn it into a productive garden The Reincarnation.

38 The Reincarnation. A cantaloupe & acorn squash emerged from the food scraps by itself

39 The Reincarnation. A family of chickens makes this lot home now and lives under medicinal flowers above

40 The Reincarnation. A field of fertility is already evident in just 3 months

41 And the original Roots in the City Gardens are still going strong The Reincarnation.

42 Another Option. Vermiculture: The Art of Using Worms to Compost

43 Large Scale Worm Composting

44 Results from Worm Castings

45 The Costs of Sheet Mulching. Materials Purchased $0 Labor 16 $10/hour Equipment Pickup truck, wheel barrow, pitchforks & shovels Time Processing power per acre Drawback 3 6 months 40,000 lbs of food residuals & 60,000 lbs of yard debris Compost stays put not recommended for operations intending to resell compost; hard to determine if pathogen kill has been obtained

46 No monetary investment in expensive equipment Intensive use of land - ability to process 100,000 lbs/acre Funding was used to pay for labor & support the local economy Potential to earn funds by charging for the collection of food scraps Learning experience The Benefits

47 The Costs of Vermiculture. Materials Purchased $3,500 Labor 25 hours/week Equipment Pickup truck, wheel barrow, pitchforks & shovels, small trommel screen, lighting, wood and cinderblocks for beds Time Processing power per acre Drawback 3 months 7,000,000+ pounds of nitrogen & carbon rich materials / yr Easy to kill worms; there is a learning curve

48 No monetary investment in expensive equipment Minimal start up cost (beds are $50 - $200) Extremely intensive use of land - ability to process 7,300,000 lbs/acre/year Very fast worms can eat up to their weight per day Can process 100% nitrogen Three products are produced: Worm Castings, Worm Tea & Worms themselves Sell for a premium ($ $7/lb for castings, $60/gallon of tea, $35/lb of worms) Worm tea is a natural form of pest control Potential to earn funds by charging for the collection of food scraps Learning experience for students & adults alike The Benefits

49 The Power of Permaculture Incredibly productive systems Minimal labor & equipment Permaculture = Work with nature, not against it

50 community gardens & permaculture offer environmental benefits. Our desire Transform waste into resources STOP polluting our water, air and planet with landfills Reduce the use of chemical fertilizers Not import soil from outside our community Facilitate the creation of urban gardens by reducing their #1 cost Keep everything local Create green jobs Make it Economically, Socially and Financially Sustainable Getty Images

51 Composting + gardens offer numerous environmental & societal benefits.. Creating Gardens, Not Landfills BEFORE Miami GROW local community garden project (Courtesy of Charlie Coiner, Rock Garden Fresh Herbs) AFTER Miami GROW local community garden project (Courtesy of Charlie Coiner, Rock Garden Fresh Herbs)

52 The Fertile Earth Foundation Special thanks to:

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