Auckland residents have insisted Auckland Council declare a Climate Emergency in the face of growing awareness of the dangers of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. But what if local restaurateurs chose to participate in a project shown to reduce greenhouse gasses, benefit local food production, support rural farmers, and create local jobs? The HBC is the only place in New Zealand where the City to Farm Composting (C2F) Pilot is working to reduce, avoid and capture GHG emissions in many different ways. Since March, the C2F composting pilot has diverted over 10 tonnes of food scraps that would normally go to landfill to generate the very, nasty, potent greenhouse gas, methane. Instead, food scraps are going to build topsoil, which along with planting trees, are Nature's best carbon dioxide capture-and-store method. There is growing evidence that topsoil development has the greatest benefits and most rapid ability to "drawdown" carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Besides reduced landfill emissions, the City to Farm Composting Pilot captures greenhouse gases by growing humus, and turns poor grazing land into highly productive, fertile horticultural land. This will enable local farmers to earn more money in high value horticultural crops, which in turn will provide greater local food security, and lower food mile emissions. By using composted food scraps instead of manufacturing chemical fertilizers, GHG are also reduced. Farmers and gardeners know that by deepening topsoil it is easier to grow plants which are more resilient to the extremes of climate change, drought and flooding. But probably the biggest greenhouse gas capture is through the use of biochar as a matrix to build a soil called "terra preta" or "black earth" which has been shown to be an extremely stable form of soil humus, holding onto carbon for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years!
The City to Farm Composting Pilot is being run by Hibiscus Coast Zero Waste (HCZW), a local community enterprise with a grant from Auckland Council and research assistance by Massey University Palmerston North. Now that the C2F system has been trialed and found to work, HCZW are looking for more restaurants, housing developments, retirement villages, and schools to participate. The C2F system will take all food scraps including meat, dairy, fat, citrus, onions, coffee grounds, fruit and veggies and tea bags. The only things it doesn't take are liquids, "compostable paper cups" or "compostable plastic" (PLA). Two Spoons Restaurant in Whangaparaoa and Evelyn Page Retirement Village in Orewa have been the first clients and guinea pigs for the past 9 months but now there is capacity to double the size of the project. If you or someone you know is putting large amounts of food scraps in the rubbish, please talk to us! Betsy Kettle firstname.lastname@example.org or 021 0826 8196
We love the Hibiscus Coast, the beaches, the community feel and the wide variety of things to do and places to go and this isn't diminishing as the Coast grows, although we are finding there are rather too many sets of traffic lights than the old days!