We’ve been working with our partner citizens’ group, Brooklyn Neighbors Composting, to develop the ¡Composting Gowanus! program over the last year.  Thanks to their hard work, they were awarded funds for composting equipment through City Councilman Brad Landers’ participatory budget initiative.  If you’re interested in reading more about the projects that were awarding funding, you can visit the site.

Now that we have the funding, we need to decide on the right supplies–so we’re doing our research!  We had a great tour of the compost facilities at Lower East Side Ecology Center this week, where we learned about their process for composting.

Our gracious host was Executive Director and Co-Founder, Christine Datz-Romero–she gave us a wonderful tour of the facilities!

The Lower East Side Ecology Center uses in-vessel composting units for the first stage of the compost process.  When they get a new delivery of food scraps, the scraps are layered with sawdust in these containers.  In the first stages of decomposition, a waste liquid called “leachate” is produced–this is drained through the pipes, keeping excess moisture out of the compost.

After a few weeks of sitting in the in-vessel compost unit, the compost is transferred into windrows to cure.  Once the compost has cured, the last step is to sift the final product.  Our interns and volunteers constructed a sifting table for our compost–but if you’ve made it to any of our recent Compost Days, you’ll know that sifting by hand can be a time-intensive process!  The Lower East Side Ecology Center has a great addition that makes this step much easier: a compost trommel.

The compost trommel rotates as it sifts, resulting in a fine end-product… ready to be spread on any garden!

Thanks to our friends at Lower East Side Ecology Center for the tour!  All in all, it was a great learning experience, and we’re more excited than ever about ¡Composting Gowanus!