Drawdown East End, in cooperation with Southold Town, is planning to launch a 30-household, 30-day pilot program with town residents in spring 2020 to conduct research on separating food waste from town yellow bag refuse.

Participants, all self-haulers of yellow bags to the Southold Town Transfer Station, will separate their food waste into specially provided buckets, and bring them to a designated drop-off pallet at the transfer station.

“Our hope,” says Sherry Thirlby of Southold, lead organizer of the Drawdown East End Reduce Food Waste Team and member of the Steering Committee, “is to scale up this separate-your-food-waste pilot to include the entire community — to ultimately divert food waste from the waste stream, turn it into local compost for our farmers, help our town save money, and bring cascading environmental and health benefits to our community. We thank the town for partnering, and a special thanks to Treiber Farms, who have generously agreed to be our pilot farm partner.”

“This is very exciting to have residents come forward with projects like this that are so important to our town’s sustainability in the face of erratic weather and climate change so devastating to our farming community” said Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell. “The potential scalable program involving our 23,000 residents could divert over nearly 2 million pounds per year of food from the waste stream into local compost, with great economic benefits.”

“Treiber Farms is delighted to participate in this pilot,” said Peter Treiber, “We share Drawdown East End’s vision that food waste should be transformed into compost for our farms on a community-wide scale.”

“The mission of Drawdown East End, said Mark Haubner of Riverhead, Drawdown East End Steering Committee and North Fork Environmental Council Vice-President, “is to inspire our communities to actively engage in solutions that achieve drawdown of greenhouse gases and reverse global warming. Farmers and scientists are confirming that healthy soil can absorb excess carbon from the atmosphere and store it safely for long periods of time.”  

Drawdown East End co-founder and steering committee member Mary Morgan of Orient, a past president of Slow Food East End, said “our ultimate goal is to provide a way for local compost to be created for our local farm soils, thus exponentially sequestering carbon, putting us on a path to reversing global warming.”  

Beth Young
Beth Young is an award-winning local journalist who has been covering the East End since the 1990s. She began her career at the Sag Harbor Express and, after receiving her Masters from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, has reported for the Southampton Press, the East Hampton Press and the Times/Review Media Group. She founded the East End Beacon website in 2013, and a print edition in 2017. Beth was born and raised on the North Fork. In her spare time, she tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

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