Composting in the City: A different way to reuse goods

Zealous Good is on a mission to get your unused household items into the hands of people who will use them. There are several different methods for reusing goods. Composting is a great way to turn your food by-products into healthy usable matter. Composting, is a controlled method of taking unwanted organic matter, and converting it into nutrient filled compost. Compost, decayed, organic matter, rich in nutrients, helps fertilize soil.

So what would a person use compost for in the city? Urban farming uses land in a city for agriculture.
You can compost using a backyard pile, but a compost bin is also a great tool. Compost bins are great because they can go in a basement or outside.

Urban farmers in Lincoln Park

With a bin and a location you’re on your way to becoming an urban farmer, but first you need to know what can go in your compost. In order to create healthy compost a carbon (browns- shrubbery,leaves, hay) to nitrogen(greens- fruits and vegetables) balance is needed. Compost scientist think the best ratio is 30(c) to 1(n). There are four ingredients that are necessary; nitrogen, water, carbon, and oxygen, for the matter to ‘cook.’ Once, the pile has its key ingredients, it is time to let it rest. The compost will heat up as bacteria chomps away at the waste. It does need to be stirred and watered occasionally. Worms, specifically, Red Wigglers, are good to speed up the process.

Be patient. Composting can take up to twelve months. When it is ready it will crumble and smell earthy.

Urban farming is more than a farm on a rooftop. It is a way to combat food deserts in urban areas. It also allows food to be grown in areas with small footprints. Living in cities means most food is imported from rural areas. Importing everything is costly on the earth’s resources. Urban farming is a great way to add agriculture to a city. And compost, dense, nutrient rich, matter, is amazing for urban farms.

One type of urban farming is, vertical farming, transforming a building into a multi-level indoor farm. The Plant, in Chicago, is a great example of urban vertical farming. They have reclaimed an old warehouse and turned it into a vertical farm. The farm contributes to the city and has neutral energy levels.

Urban farming has rooted itself in the cultural landscape of Chicago. Within our city we can harness the power of compost to turn abandoned buildings into farms. Or, you can start small and plant a garden on your roof or backyard.

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