The weight of a cow – that is how much compostable materials we collected at Stone Barns’ popular Harvest Fest in the Hudson Valley, New York, earlier in October.
That is over 1000 pounds of food waste and other compostable materials that we kept out of the landfill!
If you were at the Harvest Fest, you might have seen us at one of the many waste and recycling collection points around the farm with our green “Ask Us About Composting” and “Ask Us About Recycling” pins, talking to festival-goers.
We were hands-on too. You may have seen us with our blue gloves on, resorting items that were mistakenly placed into the wrong bins. (Sorting is important as it reduces the amount of contamination in the recycling and composting streams, increasing the amount of material kept out of the landfill.)
In all, we collected about 40 bags of compostable material.
The food waste was deposited directly into the compost pile at the farm, while the rest (compostable napkins, plates forks, etc.) was shredded and processed into compost on-site at Stone Barns for use on the farm, which produces about 200 varieties of fruit and vegetables.
This was the first time that Stone Barns had attempted to recycle and compost at HarvestFest. The logistics were challenging — over 300o people visit the enormously popular event each year, with dozens of activities spread out over parts of Stone Barns’ 23 acres of farmland and 40 acres of woodland.
The Great Forest team assembled early in the morning before the festival, and fanned out across the site to set up various waste and recycling stations at the different activity locations. We made sure that wherever visitors found themselves on the big farm, they had access nearby to bins to deposit trash, recyclables and compostables.
We posted signs at eye level with each bin so that visitors would not miss the instructions.
We then visited all the food vendors at the festival with instructions on what to do with their waste and compostables.
Once festival was in full swing, we manned the various waste and recycling/composting stations, and roamed around to keep an eye on the bins and talk to festival-goers.
We also indulged in a bit of fun. Who could resist with the good food and clean air all around?