$2 million in cooperative agreements is available for local governments to host Community Compost and Food Waste Reduction (CCFWR) pilot projects. The cooperative agreements support projects that develop and test strategies for planning and implementing municipal compost plans and food waste reduction plans. They are part of USDA’s broader efforts to support urban agriculture.
USDA’s Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production will accept applications on Grants.gov until 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on July 16, 2021. Projects should span two years, with a start date of September 25, 2021, and a completion date of September 25, 2023.
Local governments may submit projects that:
NRCS will assist in conservation-related activities.
Priority will be given to projects that include economic benefits; provide compost to farmers; integrate other food waste strategies, including food recovery; and collaborate with multiple partners.
The deadline for applications is July 16, 2021.
Project Example: The Department of Sanitation of New York and nonprofit Big Reuse establishes food scrap drop-off locations while New York City Parks Department is diverting wood chips and leaves from landfill disposal to create compost. GreenThumb, Brooklyn Grange, Hellgate Farms, Gowanus Canal Conservancy, and other urban farms distribute the compost for food production in the boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn, diverting approximately 600,000 pounds of food scraps and green waste from landfills and providing 350 cubic yards of compost to food producers.
Get Started with SCS’s ASP Composting Pilot Program
• Low-cost opportunity to test ASP composting feasibility
• Ability to test different feedstock mixes
• Assess the quality of the finished compost
• Assess odor control and process control
• Test footprint is 5000 sqft or less on your site
A pre-recorded webinar will provide an overview of the cooperative agreements’ purpose, project types, eligibility, and basic requirements for submitting an application. The webinar will be posted at farmers.gov/urban.
The Office was established through the 2018 Farm Bill and is designed to be a USDA-wide effort. Representatives from agencies throughout USDA play a critical role in successfully servicing urban customers. Other grant and engagement opportunities are available in addition to the CCFWR agreements. More information is available at farmers.gov/urban.
Additional resources that may be of interest to urban agriculture entities include NIFA grants, FSA loans, and AMS grants to improve domestic and international opportunities for U.S. growers and producers.
SCS Engineers launched a successful new program enabling waste managers and facilities to pilot test Aerated Static Pile (ASP) composting before making a capital investment. There is a high interest in organic materials management (e.g., composting, anaerobic digestion), driven by state and local regulations for diversion of organics from disposal facilities and the desire to reduce carbon emissions.
The organic fraction of any waste stream is successfully compostable, including materials, such as food scraps, yard trimmings, food processing by-products, and biosolids. The organic fraction of the municipal waste stream, which includes food scraps, is about 30 percent by weight, so it is possible to divert a significant amount from landfilling. SCS helps waste managers evaluate their organic waste streams and whether composting is a viable solution for their circumstances. ASP composting is often the preferred method because it is fast, cost-efficient, and controls odors and emissions effectively.
SCS owns a covered ASP compost system that is mobile and can be set-up on sites within an area of 50 feet by 100 feet, or less. In the covered ASP compost system, process and odor control is pro-active with a shorter composting period. A pilot test allows waste managers to assess composting and to see if it is the right fit for their situation. The ASP system processes material batches in two months. Additional batches or “recipes” can test in 2-month intervals.
SCS’ services include the setup and operation of the mobile ASP system. The system can compost up to 50 tons of targeted material per batch. SCS provides all equipment and consulting services, along with the test reports with the process and lab data. The resulting report and data are useful information to supplement a feasibility study (e.g., the quality of the end-products for sale or community use).
Greg McCarron of SCS Engineers comments, “Virtually every town can develop and support a compost program that is locally based and directly beneficial to their community. Our mobile ASP system can provide proof of concept for our clients and the information that allows managers to make informed decisions.”