Help Youth Start a Compost Business in Baltimore

Ridge to Reefs is working together with Marvin Hayes from the Baltimore Compost Collective to help youth start a self-sufficient waste upcycling business that produces compost for urban farms.  This sustainable business will drastically reduce waste in Baltimore City, support healthy food access for communities, and empower youth entrepreneurs to take action toward positive change.

Start-up funds are needed to get this business up and running. Join the effort and donate today!

The Time to Act is Now
COVID-19 has disproportionately affected low-income communities in Baltimore City in general, and near BCC's operation in particular. Director Marvin Hayes has been instrumental in efforts to close down waste incinerators that cause smog and air pollution. These communities are therefore more vulnerable to the devastating health impacts of COVID-19, being immuno-compromised and lacking healthy food and other vital resources.

Believe it or not, compost can be the solution to air pollution, increased mortality, and food insecurity in Baltimore communities. Instead of burning organic waste (which is what happens when you throw your food in the garbage), food scraps, brewers' grain, and even dairy and meat can be upcycled into nutrient-rich soil amendments for urban gardens. This solution puts money back into the community, sequesters carbon, offers opportunities for youth education, and can even save lives!

How Your Donation will be Used
BCC is  innovating better ways to boost food production in community gardens and finding creative ways to repurpose waste into natural fertilizer. In addition to collecting residents' food scraps, BCC has relationships with local businesses to collect waste such as spent brewer’s grains from breweries; and fishery scraps, including fish bones and crab shells (a Baltimore icon!). These locally sourced biomass materials are available for free and in large quantities.

The goal is to create a youth (ages 17-25) run composting business which transforms brewers' grain and fishery scraps into high-quality compost by using cutting-edge bokashi composting methods (with spent brewer’s grains) and fish hydrolysate production .

Start-up funds are needed to get this business up and running! *Though Ridge to Reefs is organizing this fundraiser, 100% of funds will go straight to BCC.* Donations will enable the purchase of supplies and materials required to produce bokashi and fish hydrolysate fertilizers by the youth in addition to fair compensation for their time. Marvin already has free sources of brewers' grains and fish scraps, and plenty of interested community members. Donate today and you will be part of the movement to make sustainable economies and healthy food possible for everyone in Baltimore City.

What is Bokashi Composting and Fish Hydrolysate?
Bokashi composting is a method that allows for total composting, including the meat and diary products that typically can’t be digested in the composting process. It’s a highly efficient anaerobic process, simple to set up, and requires no maintenance during the process of converting waste to useful fertilizer. Fish hydrolysate fertilizer is a high-nutrient fertilizer created from fish waste to naturally boost crop production. Baltimore, a coastal city known for its crabs, has plenty of waste to reuse!

BCC’s work employing and training youth in these green practices and building green infrastructure builds economic and environmental sustainability in our cities and communities.

About the Organizations
The Baltimore Compost Collective (BCC) engages Baltimore teenagers with positive employment opportunities and training in workforce skills, food access programming, farming and community-scale composting. Youth gain guided, hands-on experience managing a small-scale composting operation; the compost they create will be used by the Filbert Street Community Garden and other urban farms to grow fresh produce. Healthy, locally produced food in the urban landscape addresses critical food deserts and builds resilient communities. Providing access to green spaces is another benefit, which research has shown to be of paramount importance to human health and happiness. 

For more information about the operation, visit BCC's home page , read about them in the news, and watch their great introductory video .

Ridge to Reefs works in the Chesapeake Bay, Pacific and Caribbean islands to develop and implement nature-based solutions that promote permanent sustainability for people and the planet. We believe that by supporting local farms and businesses that use regenerative methods and circular economies, people can thrive while also protecting natural resources. Our team of engineers, scientists, and community leaders works closely with passionate partners to bring conservation and human well-being goals to life.

For more info about Ridge to Reefs  work around the globe and in our community visit our home page. Thank you for supporting this important work in Baltimore!



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Ridge to Reefs 
Sykesville, MD
Ridge to Reefs 
Registered nonprofit
Donations are typically 100% tax deductible in the US.
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