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Community garden group gets $18K grant

Will be used for education

AMSTERDAM — Grow Amsterdam NY has been awarded an $18,000 grant by the Pollution Prevention Institute Community Grant Program at RIT to educate the local community about the impact of organic material when sent to the landfill, according to a news release. Through Compost Works, Grow Amsterdam will establish a food scrap collection program and make compost at the Community Garden at 78 Wall St. The compost will be used in the garden’s vegetable beds to improve the soil. The grant period is from Oct. 1 through Sept. 30, 2020.

Grow Amsterdam NY was one of 13 grant recipients statewide that were awarded grants by NYS P2I to inform New Yorkers about pollution topics and provide them with ways to take action.

Organic matter — yard trimmings, leaves, paper and food scraps — represents approximately 50 percent of all material dumped in a landfill. Food scraps represent 21 percent of all material thrown away. Food scraps and other organic matter in a landfill produce methane — a greenhouse gas with 84 times the impact of CO2 in the atmosphere. Sending organic material to landfills costs municipalities money and puts more trucks on the roads to move it around. The city of Amsterdam sends its trash 150 miles away to a landfill in Seneca Falls.

“Grow Amsterdam is very excited to receive the grant,” said Grow Amsterdam NY President Bernadette Twente, “And we are grateful to partner with the Amsterdam Free Library, the Montgomery County Soil & Water District and the city of Amsterdam who are contributing their time, space and particular expertise to the project.”

Grow Amsterdam NY will build a compost system in the 78 Wall St. Community Garden where the local community can drop off food scraps once a week on Saturdays. Grow Amsterdam has already received positive feedback from the community and anticipates the Compost Works program will soon need to expand beyond the community garden, the release stated. An additional site will be identified and established to compost food scraps in the city of Amsterdam.

“We’re looking for volunteers who are as passionate about composting as we are to be part of the Compost Works team. Team members will receive training, so if you are excited about being part of this, we’ll show you how!” said Twente in the release.

Grow Amsterdam is looking for stakeholder organizations that would like to learn more about how to divert organics from their waste stream. Home composting workshops will be provided for those who want to compost at home, and people who want to contribute their food scraps to the garden will receive a short orientation about what is not accepted by the program. To learn more visit www.growamsterdamny.org

Founded in 2016, Grow Amsterdam NY is the vision of Twente, the release stated. She realized that the community garden could serve as a spark to show how the vacant lots that dot Amsterdam can be put to good use. The 78 Wall St. Community Garden is in its third season.

“I think there should be gardens everywhere in Amsterdam,” she said.

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