Making compost in Boston
City Soil composts food waste for the City of Boston on five acres owned by Mass Audubon’s Boston Nature Center in Mattapan. It provides compost to Boston-area community gardens, urban farmers and gardeners, and landscapers. The business also provides technical assistance to farms and municipalities on best-management practices for composting.
Looking to the future, City Soil plans to bag and sell its locally-made Olmsted Organics compost and growing mixes to gardeners and farmers in the area. Composting food waste keeps organic matter and nutrients out of the waste stream, reduces greenhouse gases, and provides an additional revenue stream for producers, local distributors and retailers. Bagged compost and growing mixes also will allow residents to purchase locally made products, which have a smaller environmental footprint than compost shipped from out of state. “Our growing materials are made in Massachusetts from Massachusetts organic waste converted into products that should be used locally,” says City Soil’s founder, Bruce Fulford.
City Soil is working to establish long-term tenure on the property, which would allow the business to invest in infrastructure such as a compost-heated greenhouse. Bruce notes that several potential investors appreciate that the project is connected to a larger set of goals for the state’s food system: “The Massachusetts Local Food Action Plan is an important document to reference with our stakeholders and potential funders. It allows people to get on board,” he says.