Giving Tree Gardens has been building a compost pile of epic proportions for the last two years. Gathering and mixing the beer-mash waste from Harriet Brewery and the coffee-roast waste from Peace Coffee with our organic landscaping waste and wood chip from A-Tree Service Inc in order to build the steamiest compost pile in all the Twin-Cities. This fall we were pleased to deliver the entire pile to the various farm sites of Stone’s Throw Urban Farm for use in their vegetable fields.
One of the basic understandings we share with our clients and growing partners is that the foundations of both human health and neighborhood beauty are truly beneath our feet. Soil. Healthy, rich and full of life… Soil that produces our food, our nutrition and indeed the nutrition for our entire environment. Since ancient times people have carried the knowledge that the best, most abundantly productive soil is formed through very intentional composting efforts.
Earth friendly landscapes produce food and native habitat. Recently there has been a growing group of folks who can really dig this concept. Urban farmers and gardeners have been hard at work rejuvenating the local food system and local ecosystems alike. All of this good work is rooted in the wealth of our waste. Food waste has the right amount of nitrogen to help us turn leaf and wood chip waste into the best compost for growing farms and gardens.
Giving Tree Gardens will be creating compost at the Stone’s Throw farm sites over the next season in a home-grown partnership between the two businesses. This exciting adventure in good dirt means that we are returning nutrients to the neighborhoods just as nature intended. By converting crud into compost and letting these brave city farmers get their hands on it, we’re completing a cycle of health that can help a city grow strong.
Well managed compost piles create lots of heat. We looked at all that steam coming off our pile and decided to take our hot compost inside the greenhouse for the winter. We had no idea if this would work, but as it turns out the compost generated enough heat inside the greenhouse for us to start seeds in the middle of January in Minnesota. The kind members of the Lakewinds Natural Foods Co-op helped us get our grand compost-as-a-heat-source experiment off the ground through their Lakewinds Field Fund Program. Here’s a video that Lakewinds Co-op staff put together for their members.
SPECIAL THANKS to some of our compost mentors:
Peter Kern, Owner of Kern Landscape Resources
Will Allen, Owner of Growing Power