Interesting Fact: Audubon Park – Orlando’s emerald gem for diverse horticulture, quiet streets, hip shops and more bikes everyday – is on path to become an EcoDistrict. What does that mean? It means our humble little neighborhood this year will take the steps to become an even more sustainable and resourceful community – one that is conscious of energy, waste, water, and the welfare of its inhabitants. Already we’ve seen some inspiring groups of locals taking action. Fleet Farming continues to cultivate local produce through a network of urban farmlettes. The Corrine Calming Coalition everyday champions a greener, more bikeable thoroughfare. Now Compost Orlando is in the mix. Managed by Katie Shannon & Alex Stringfellow, the organizers spearheading Audubon’s EcoDistrict campaign, Compost Orlando, a bike-powered operation, looks to surmount one of the biggest obstacles to sustainable living – waste.
Metro-sized landfills full of food waste not only create greenhouse gases, but they can contaminate our water. Compost Orlando notes that a redirection of resources at a local level could turn a global problem into a local solution.
“Transporting waste to the landfill is costly, to our environment and our pockets,” Stringfellow explains. “So if you are already paying to have it hauled off it might as well go to good use.”
For downtown and the five surrounding main streets programs, Compost Orlando offers a subscription service for offices and restaurants that can exchange food waste for a nutrient-rich, bio-diverse compost. If you are a resident joining their pick-up service, they cover Audubon Park and Colonialtown. This includes the areas near Leu Gardens and the southernmost neighborhoods in Winter Park. If you want to drop-off your compost, which is another service option, it’s a matter of you traveling to one of their compost drop-off sites located in the afore-mentioned neighborhoods
Leftover organic matter, such as non-meat food scraps, wood chips, leaf litter, and coffee grounds, transforms into compost that will ultimately promote more local, organic matter – just one way to close the loop and reduce dependence on shipped-in food.
Shannon and Stringfellow designed the program while earning their Master’s at Rollins in hopes of reducing carbon emissions inherent in massive landfilling. The Compost Orlando Crew will divert your waste from the landfill for $20/month, periodically returning a batch of freshly stewed compost to help green your thumb.
“It’s never the same bag twice, but it’s always a valuable addition to your landscape or garden,” Stringfellow says. “More diverse soil means more resilient soil biology and plants.”
If you simply want to drop-off compostables at your leisure and collect the resulting compost to promote strong, nitrogen-rich soil at home, that will cost you a mere $9/month. Both plans require a $15 start-up fee and both come with a compost bucket and bio-degradable liners.
Additionally they offer a consultation and construction service so customers can make their own compost at home.
Area restaurants & offices can also participate; Compost Orlando currently works with P is for Pie, First Green Bank, The Rusty Spoon, and engineering firm, TLC.
To participate in Compost Orlando, visit their site. To learn more about their work in transforming Audubon Park into an Eco-District visit http://audubonparkgardens.com/about-2/projects/apgd-ecodistrict/ . You can advance this campaign by attending the meetings at Bikes, Beans, and Bordeaux at 7pm, the second Tuesday of every month.