NYC makes it easy to put your fruit and veggie scraps to good use

New York city’s Green Markets offer locals a fantastic way to be part of an essential eco-system by connecting city dwellers with famers and artisanal producers. You get to enjoy fresh, local produce and products while supporting small scale farmers and producers. If you have been to a farmer’s market you know what I mean when I say, they always put me in a good mood. I think it is the combination of my excitement over all of the great food and my feeding off that great energy that is inevitably at every market. If you have never been to one, treat yourself to a visit and you’ll know what I am talking about. Just remember to bring some cash, as I am sure there will be something you want to buy to eat on the spot or take home. We have a hard time resisting the cinnamon and sugar apple cider donuts at our market.

Taking it one step further, you can actually save kitchen scraps like carrot tops, eggs shells, old rice and over ripe strawberries to the markets to add to their compost collection. Don’t cook much? Even your coffee grounds, tea bags and flowers can be composted! Composting can sound intimidating, but the green markets are making it easy for you.

Here’s what you do:

1. Look up the closest Green Market to you which collects compost and mark your calendar. Currently there are 25 markets; most collect weekly.

frozen compost 12. Throughout the week toss your scraps in a plastic bag or old plastic salad container and store in your freezer. Yes, if you can spare the room, the freezer is the best place to store the scraps for more than a couple of days so they do not get too smelly in your kitchen.

3. On collection day, bring your container of food waste to your market and simply dump the contents into one of the collection containers. There is also usually a trash bag or bin nearby in which to toss your empty vessel if you choose.

4. Pat yourself on the back

As easy as that you’ve diverted some waste from landfills and contributed to the creation of nutritious compost that will be used to grow even more crops. I believe the compost stands also sometimes hand out small bags of compost to those who participate – priceless if you are lucky enough to have some space to grow some plants in the city.

frozen compost 2If you have children, this is one way to regularly get them thinking about nature and being a responsible consumer. Food does not just come from a package in a grocery store and not everything ends up in the trash. I love when my daughter brings me her almost empty bowl and asks me to compost the few blueberries that were too squishy to eat.

Do not be intimidated. It does not take much more effort to toss your scraps into a bag in the freezer than it does the trash. It will get you to the market regularly where I am sure you will find something fresh and tasty to bring home. Plus, there is no pressure. If you can do this every week, great! Every other week? Great! Every now and then? Great! It all helps.

To find a green market location near you visit: http://www.grownyc.org/compost/locations

To learn more about composting at a green market visit: http://www.grownyc.org/compost/

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