Saturday, December 18, 2010

Stratford Composting Initiative

Hi everyone. As per Heather's request I'm finally going to make public some of the gems we've come up with in our brainstorming.

The way I first imagined the Stratford Composting Initiative was to have one central location for composting kitchen scraps from restaurants and homes in Stratford. The idea was that we would collect it from downtown drop-offs and take it to a farm outside the city to be recycled into fertile and productive soil. Right away we ran into some logistical difficulties, the first being a composting site and the second being an ecologically benign type of transportation. Here is an example of that model being employed in Washington, DC:

All this thinking got us onto the idea of site-specific composting, kind of like a bunch of backyard composters all over the city that will be maintained by us. We're in the process of securing our first site now and we'd like to gradually add to our colony of composters.

We are also playing with the idea of worm composting. I have the materials and will be bringing a worm colony into the city in January.

I'm excited about this project. I'm hoping that it will not only be a step towards a more sustainable Stratford but a community building and educational pursuit as well.

Also, if you have access to buckets with lids that seal please save them for us.

Thank you for showing such an interest at the last Meet and Greet for SUFE. If you want to be added to the updates list or are interested in composting with us email me at stratfordcompost at gmail dot com.

Take care and remember, food scraps are not waste they're just really young soil.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

SUFE Adhocracy

Stratford Daily Photo's Photo of the meet

I left feeling inspired and excited. There was a good turn out of just under 20 people - some new faces too.

It was exciting to hear about all of the different reasons people want to be a part of the group. The main theme seems to be the sense of community we are getting from the activities.

I also took some time to discuss my intended structure of the group. I described it as an adhocracy. I guess this could be considered part of the experiment in itself... will this group structure work?

How it will work:
Basically I consider myself to be somewhat of a 'facilitator' for the group. What we do and the directions we go in all depend on the people who participate and what they want. I will aim to keep the project on track, and keep people informed about events. Anyone can plan an event - just send me an email and let's make it happen.

Also if and when a decision needs to be made, who ever is there will discuss and decide on the spot.
"oh no!!?! in the garden plan there are 4 rows of carrots but there is only space for 3"
"shall we do 3 rows instead"
"that seems reasonable"

We are all capable individuals so I figure we can spend less time organizing and more time actually doing something.

I believe that this will also be a more empowering to everyone who is participating and each person has the opportunity to make the project their own.

Another aspect of the structure is that I do not want Stratford Urban Farms to be an umbrella for various projects as we begin to do more and branch out. Instead I would prefer if the structure was more horizontal and other individuals act as facilitators for their own projects.

Let's face it - this is something we are all doing in our spare time we don't need to make it feel like work.

Scrap Book
We talked about having a scrap book either at Revel Caffe or somewhere where people can draw a sketch of each garden and write goals & preference of vegetables to grow. Also having pages with resources and skills of people in the group for easy reference.

It would be nice for people to keep looking at the updates and possibly scan them and post online every now and again.

Stratford Compost Initiative
The first spin off project for Stratford Urban Farming Experiment.... Liz will be facilitating this initiative and will possibly blog about her ideas soon?

Student Projects
We were lucky enough to have some excited students on board and there were great ideas about the possibility of doing projects like videos (we do have a youtube channel) and building for class or just using school resources.