The Brooklyn Grange is opening up their one-acre rooftop farm in Long Island City, Queens as a local hub for solar composting. The new system will repurpose food waste and scraps gathered from local restaurants and residents and turn them into valuable fertilizer for the farm’s planting projects. Downstairs coffee shop neighbor Coffeed is even in on the action, donating used grounds from their shop to help grow more vegetables and herbs for the farm.
The Grange’s unique composting system was engineered by Peter Moon of O2Compost. The system consists of 4 wooden bins, each holding about 3.5 cubic yards of materials. According to the Build it Green! NYC website, the bins are built with removable slats so they can be sized up or down as necessary. To force air into the pile to speed up waste decomposition, the bins feature plastic pipes with holes running along their bases.
“Since the farm is on a rooftop, we chose to take advantage of all the sunlight that’s up there,” explains Chris Bivens to DNAInfo. Bivens serves as a project coordinator for the Compost Project, which encourages residents to compost as a way to cut back on the amount of food waste they discard. “Their byproduct is what we’re looking for, which is a soil compost. It’s really important for the farm to have that organic matter content that the plants love.”
The system is powered by the sun and features a small solar panel that captures solar energy (no matter the weather conditions). After several weeks of decomposing in the bin, the compost will be put in a separate pile to be stabilized. Once the process is complete, the new fertilizer will be used for growing the farm’s collection of fresh produce.