This summer I interned at an organization called Earth Matter, a composting learning center and urban farm located on Governors Island. Earth Matter was founded in 2009 and seeks to reduce the amount of organic waste that is misdirected into the general trash flow. They hope to accomplish this by encouraging leadership in community composting and educating people of all ages about compost. Earth Matter collects all the waste that is produced on Governors Island as well as household food scraps gathered from greenmarkets around the city. As an intern, I helped to process this organic waste, care for the animals at the center (chickens, goats and rabbits), and tend various crops. I also was in charge of maintaining a compost device called the three bin system.
Along with these general tasks there was always a lot of activity at Earth Matter. Every Friday volunteers and groups ranging from young children to adults came to the compost learning center. I helped to lead these volunteers in various tasks and taught them more about the processes of composting, animal care, and gardening. While at times it could be hard to manage a large group, it was also amazing to witness the amount of work we could collectively complete in a matter of hours.
My overall experience at Earth Matter was extremely rewarding because I felt like I was making a tangible difference. Sometimes it can be pretty overwhelming and depressing to think about how much we waste as a society. However, even though the amount of food scraps we were processing at Earth Matter on a daily basis was relatively small, it’s a step in the right direction. I realized by educating others we can change people’s mentalities when it comes to trash. Through education and optimism we can make a difference and reduce the amount of waste produced. Overall, it was fantastic to learn more about composting and share this information with a broad array of people.