project leader
Esther R
2 Webster Street
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New Name!

the project

In the past several years, the New Haven Land Trust has put resources into building our capacity for creating high-quality compost to use for plantings in the city-wide community gardens and nature preserves that we support. In 2018, we built an aerated static pile compost system with a 10 cubic-yard capacity. In 2019, we built two multi-bay passive compost systems at community gardens. In 2020, we plan to build an additional five multi-bay systems around the city and invest in equipment that will allow us to distribute the compost to other gardens and nature preserves. 

In past years, the New Haven Land Trust has purchased over 60 cubic yards of soil and compost per year to distribute to our community gardens and nature preserves. The soil is expensive and has to be trucked into the city from farms over an hour away. Our staff has to hand-load and then deliver up to fifty truckloads of the material to sites around the city, which is time-consuming, inefficient, and labor-intensive. In service of New Haven Land Trust’s environmental mission, our goal is to transition to producing 100% of the compost needed at our gardens and preserves using organic waste from gardens, homes, and businesses, instead of New Haven paying to truck out its’ compostables to waste disposal sites across the state while our organization pays to truck compost in. 

In addition to allowing us to expand and improve our production and distribution of compost, the materials and equipment we are requesting will support the further enhancement of our jobs skills training program for teens, the Growing Entrepreneurs program. Students in the program will be responsible for building the five new compost systems, picking up food scraps by bicycle, maintaining the Aerated Static Pile system, and helping with distribution. These responsibilities create an excellent opportunity for the students to learn communication and teamwork skills that can apply to any future job, as well as more specific skills in carpentry and composting. With the acquisition of the skid steer, students can spend less time loading trucks with soil and more time becoming experts on the compost system. Learning the science behind composting also presents the opportunity to reinforce academic subjects.  The key role that the Growing Entrepreneurs play in our composting efforts adds a third layer of impact to the project: environmental education and professional skills training for low-income youth.

the steps

To do this, we have budgeted $11,000 (down from $43,000) to expand our composting efforts through new infrastructure and a new track within our Growing Entrepreneurs teen job skills program. The budget includes 1) materials to build two new compost systems, 2) wagfes for Growing Entrepreneur interns, and 3) supplies for on-going maintenance and usage of the compost systems. 

In January we started looking into purchasing the skid steer and bicycles and bicycle trailers. In February the teens in the new composting track of the Growing Entrepreneurs program started with the program. The onset of the COVID-19 restrictions has slowed our progress, but the Grwoig Entrepreneurs continue their work form home and, on a limited basis, in the gardens. By June 1st we plan to purchase the skid steer and will distribute purchased and homemade compost and topsoil to community gardens in May and June. Construction of the five new multi-bay compost systems will occur throughout the late spring and summer, with approximately one system being built every month May-August. The Growing Entrepreneurs in the composting track will begin collecting food scraps by bicycle and processing them in our Aerated Static Pile compost system in the late spring. The bicycle-powered compost system will be built by the same students during Youth at Work, when students work twenty-five hours/week in July. 

Our goal is to have the new compost systems up and running by October 1st, 2020. Implementation of the Growing Entrepreneurs Composting Track will begin in early summer, 2020. 

why we're doing it

This project is very intersectional and will have a positive impact on the New Haven community in many ways. 

Food Waste

Approximately 20% of Connecticut's solid waste is food that could either be "rescued" for human consumption, or recycled into compost. Currently, this waste is burned in regional incinerators, creating emmissions that are harmful to humans and the environment.

Community Gardening

The NHLT supports over 50 community gardens in the city. These gardens are neighborhood initiatives that build community, produce food, provide neighborhood green space. Invigorating these spaces with locally-made, high-quality compost will enhance all the benefits community gardens bring to their neighborhoods. 

Opportunities for Youth

Survey data shows that many young people in New Haven are seeking employment, and professional-skills training opportunities. The Growing Entrepreneurs program teaches these skills, provides meaningful employment, and gives the students agency over the program through their entrepreneurial ventures. The composting track will allow us to hire more students and expand the range of environmental issues they can engage with.


Disbursed Budget:


Youth stipends


2 Bicycles for food waste pickup and delivery


1 high-weight-capacity Bicycle trailer for food waste pickup and delivery


Materials to build two new compost systems at community gardens located centrally in two of five neighborhoods ($600 each)




TOTAL RAISED = $8,300.00
ioby Platform Fee $35.00
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $165.00

Original Budget:

Youth stipends- $7,800

Peels and Wheels Consulting- $10,000

Compost processing and loading equipment-Bobcat and 10 months insurance- $15,000

2 Bicycles for food waste pickup and delivery- $200

2 Bicycle trailers for food waste pickup and delivery- $600

Bicycle-powered compost sifter- $2,000

Materials to build five new compost systems at community gardens located centrally in five neighborhoods ($600 each)- $3,000

Gasoline and Diesel- $1,000

Tools, bagging materials, bins, replacement plumbing and electrical parts etc for running aerated static pile compost system- $1,000

ioby Platform Fee $35
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $1,257
TOTAL TO RAISE = $41,892


New Name!

As of March 23, the New Haven Land Trust, having merged iwth New Haven Farms as of January 1, 2020,  is now known as Gather New Haven! Our tagline conveys our commitment to connecting people to each other as well as to our shared natural resources, and the importance of doing so to grow a vibrant community: Neighbors and Nature Thriving Together.

Our mission reflects the shared histories and commitments of our two predecessor organizations while challenging us to grow deeper in our collective engagement with our community: Gather New Haven promotes health, equity, and justice for people and the environment by cultivating connections with each other and our local lands and waters, and by inspiring us to care for ourselves, our community, and the natural world.

Gather New Haven is more than a combination of two organizations.  It is a fresh take on our commitment to the people and natural places that make New Haven a treasure.  Our name manifests the central importance of human relationships in our work: friendship, family, togetherness, community.  It also conveys the diverse  elements of our city’s ecosystem: food, people, gardens, preserves, Long Island Sound, rivers, and coastline.  Like the rivers that gather into the Sound, our collective work is fed by strongly-held values of opportunity, inclusion, belonging, equity, curiosity, learning, accountability, integrity, and power of place.

Visit our new web site here  Join us! 


This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration


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