by Tom Gilbert, Community Journalist
HARDWICK – Hardwick residents will now have neighborhood food scrap collection options. The Central Vermont Solid Waste Management District (CVSWMD), the Town of Hardwick and Black Dirt Farm have teamed up to test a new, affordable residential food scrap collection option for Hardwick neighborhoods: Neighborhood Composting Pods.
A pod is a group of subscribing neighbors who separate their food scraps from non-food materials and collaborate to aggregate their food scraps in one location so they can be used to replenish the local food system. Food like bones and shells may be composted, but not inorganic or synthetic materials.
This is a program born out of community collaboration. For years Hardwick residents have been interested in more convenient composting options and yet looking for lower cost scenarios than curbside collection. With the support of a grant from Central Vermont Solid Waste District, collaboration from the Town of Hardwick, and the individuals and businesses hosting pod sites, Black Dirt Farm will roll out this hybrid collection model to increase convenience and keep individual costs low. The program will run as a pilot, opening five neighborhood sites and enrolling 100 households, so there is limited space. A neighborhood site on Cherry Street is still sought.
Through the start-up grant provided by CVSWMD the first 100 participants will receive free starter kits: a recycled five-gallon bucket to collect scraps, a magnet reminder of what can go in, posters to stick your fruit stickers on, and some worm castings that were once food scraps. To participate, follow blackdirtfarm.com/compost-pods to the Black Dirt Farm website and subscribe to a pod for a small fee.
Participating is easy. Signing up for a Pod can be done in less than two minutes by going to the Residential Pod Page on the Black Dirt Farm website. The service is $2 per week. Watch the informational video with your household. Pick up your complimentary starter kit from Black Dirt Farm or the Hardwick Town Office. Separate food scraps from synthetic and inorganic materials (don’t forget those vinyl fruit stickers). Empty the bucket each week and cover your contents with sawdust (provided at the pod site).
[Tom Gilbert is the owner and operator of Black Dirt Farm]