Spotlight on Service: Composting with the Glencoe Community Garden
Village Grows Partnership with GCG, Creates New Downtown Composting Drop-Off
By Village Manager Phil Kiraly
As we continue enjoying the year of celebratory events that have been planned for Glencoe’s year-long 150th anniversary celebration, I am always amazed at the quality of our volunteers and the amount of time and energy they devote. Their continual hard work bolsters our community and is one of the many reasons why I Love This Town.* Recognizing their tremendous efforts, over the next few months I will be spotlighting local volunteer organizations that have provided strong civic leadership and pride in all the work that they do for Glencoe and the surrounding region. Their successes are our successes, and I’m proud to share highlights of their many efforts with the community.
Glencoe Community Garden
I’m starting the series with a spotlight on the Glencoe Community Garden (GCG) because the timing of this blog coincides with the launch of a new composting program between the Garden and the Village. If you aren’t already familiar with the GCG, they’re a relatively new group to the Glencoe scene but have already made a big impact. Launched in 2012, the GCG is a sustainable, organic-practicing mini-farm and composting collaborative that was first established by Am Shalom as a service and education project. From their inception, the GCG has partnered closely with the Village, as evidenced by their converting underutilized Village property next to the UP-N rail line (near Shelton Park) into a vibrant 5,000 square foot garden that produces over 3,000 pounds of fresh food each year. The facility is zero-waste thanks to the clever use of rain irrigation and solar power, and better yet, 100% of the bounty is harvested by volunteers and donated to local social service organizations. This is not your run-of-the-mill community garden – this is an active sustainability effort with a real humanitarian impact to our community and the broader region.
Like the garden, the partnership between the Village and the GCG is growing this year. In honor of Glencoe’s sesquicentennial celebration, the GCG launched a Compost Challenge with the goal of collecting at least 150 buckets of food scraps throughout 2019. The challenge is a win-win scenario: it’s taking place during a time of year when the Village’s seasonal yard waste and food scrap program with Lakeshore Recycling Systems is inactive, and at the same time, the compost is an invaluable resource for the Garden’s food production efforts. Taking part in the challenge is easy, community members need to only to bring their compost pail and drop off their kitchen waste, such as fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds or eggshells at either the Community Garden or the brand new drop-off location in the downtown that we’re launching next week.
Working with the Garden, the Village has also created a new compost drop-off location on the south side of the Public Works Service Building in the downtown (on Temple Court). Village staff will then assist with transporting the material to the Garden. Signage will be placed to educate residents and business owners on what are acceptable composting materials. The new drop-off site will allow residents who wish to compost year round an alternative to the landfill, and will supplemental the combined curbside compost and yard waste program offered through LRS. The new drop off location will begin accepting materials the week of February 18. As you visit the downtown, bring your materials and drop them off.
Since composting began at the Garden in 2014, the program has grown significantly and now engages a number of residents and downtown businesses (such as Hometown Coffee, Guildhall, Writers Theatre to name a few). As a lifelong gardener, I admire the year round dedication and hard work that these Glencoe residents do to provide organically grown fruits and vegetables to food banks in need. I look forward to seeing how our partnership continues to grow into the future!
*Shameless plug for the awesome, one-night-only musical about Glencoe showing at Writers Theatre on March 18. Get your tickets here >>