project leader
Sharon P
130 W 139th St
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the project

Just over a year ago, Malcolm X Blvd Beautification partnered with Shugah Baybees Daycare and Lower East Side Ecology Center and, with your generous help, opened a compost site on W 139th Street in Harlem. Good news: We reached our composting capacity almost immediately! Bad news: We reached our composting capacity almost immediately! Obviously, the need and the desire to compost exists in Harlem, and our operation needs to grow. As a partial solution, we now work with GrowNYC, a division of Department of Sanitation, to haul our excess scraps for processing in their own site. This works for now, but Central Harlem Compost Project and its dedicated group of composters have the room, the energy, and the desire for more, right here, right now!

Our new initiative will expand the Compost Project by increasing capacity and improving efficiency. Our hands-on experience and new partnerships over the past year point to several upgrades that will make the site even better. The new resident vegetable gardeners are rebuilding the site's wooden beds and have been amending and enriching the soil with our own compost. This hard work requires lots of additional tools, and we've outgrown our toolshed. Building a new one includes laying a proper foundation and coating it with wood protection. We'll be contracting with a local resident for this project and making use of NYC's Summer Youth Employment Program, giving a few young adults a chance to apprentice with a professional builder. A few youth will also work alongside the gardeners to learn about the joys and benefits of growing their own food. 

Because our core group now includes nine volunteers (and hopefully more!), we need more composting tools  -- shovels, rakes, choppers, sifters, turners, tarps. Additionally, our signage should be improved and made more permanent. A small wood chipper will allow us to better process brown material for more efficient decomposition. The exterior plumbing of our water source needs to be reconfigured so that it's more safely accessible. The hose reel we currently use is too small to accommodate the 150 feet of hose required to reach across the work site. We are being gifted a hot box composting build-out this summer (thank you LESEC!). As we keep growing the way we are growing, we'll build another in the not too distant future. The hot box system will double our capacity and increase our efficiency -- the higher volume of the box generates heat, and the aeration system promotes oxygen distribution. That means faster decomposition! Our plan is to also add some changeable exterior panels to the box so the neighborhood and resident daycare kids can decorate. And, oh yes! We'd like some funds so we can invite you and our other neighbors to some public events in the space, not only as a thank you, but to advertise and promote the work we're doing on the site and collect even more scraps! 

the steps

We are ready to roll! The contractor is contracted, the Summer Youth are being vetted, the location for the shed has been determined, the chipper has already been researched. We need to source wood and hardware, get a solid plan for the water spout relocation (plumber is already secured), and have a gathering when we're done!

Our projected timeline is July 5 through the end of August, with the shed construction and wood chipper purchase first. Next will be our plumbing update.

why we're doing it

Harlem is an underserved neighborhood in many ways, with viable options for disposing of food scraps being just one. The benefits of composting are myriad, but perhaps the most immediate and noticeable payoff is it keeps food scraps out of our garbage and away from the mouths of hungry rats. Composting is by far one of the simplest, most efficient, and most effective ways of curbing the city's rat population. In addition, keeping food out of landfills lowers greenhouse gas emissions! The controlled decomposition of food in a compost site greatly lowers ethane gas release AND creates nitrogen-rich fertilizer that can be used to enhance depleted soils. The compost we process enriches the soil of the Tot Lot's vegetable garden and the neighborhood's street tree beds. This year, with greater capacity and efficiency, our compost will also be available to community members for their own earth-friendly projects.

There are very few public sites accepting food scraps in Harlem, and our project has only scratched the surface of the potential collection volume. The need to expand our operation with additional tools and equipment can be measured by our immediate success and the volume of food scraps we already receive. There's so much more out there!


Final budget


Shed: $2000

Chipper: $1000

Plumbing: $500

Tools: $500

Hot box: $2000

Harvest party (catering, tent, chairs, table, party favors) $453.64

TOTAL: $6453.64

TOTAL RAISED = $6,917.00
ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) $345.85
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $117.51

Original budget

If we really do things right:

New shed (Yes! We've outgrown the first one!), including laying a secure foundation, sourcing reclaimed wood, hiring a local labor force, weatherproofing the finished product, hardware, hasps, locks, etc.


Wood chipper / mulcher. This handy item will chop our garden and tree waste into small pieces for more effective and rapid decomposition.


Outdoor water spigot relocation. The exterior plumbing of our water source needs to be reconfigured so that it's more safely accessible.


Additional composting tools: Shovels, rakes, tarps, compost turners, food choppers... We have more volunteers than we have tools! 


Hot box #2: As neighborhood interest in composting expands, so will our need for greater capacity. By 2024, we'll be planning for hot box #2.


TOTAL: $6000.


ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee 5% $320.86
ioby Donation Processing Fee 3% $96.26
TOTAL TO RAISE $6,417.11

Donation processing fees apply to donations only. 100% of match funding goes to projects. Please note, fees are estimated here and final numbers may change based on the final amount raised and amount of match funding applied to this campaign.



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This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration


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