It’s hard to believe that Halloween’s behind us! With some of the usual spooky festivities off the table this year, we were lucky to be able to carve pumpkins! Picking out your pumpkin at a patch, the grocery store, or our Saturday market (Cedillo’s Fresh Produce has some!) is one of the first signs of fall. Once you get the pumpkins home, you can make a night of cleaning them out, maybe roasting some of the seeds and then carving! Your ghoulish or goofy creations go out on your doorstep or window, and little orange lights fill the last few days of October. But what happens with your pumpkin the next day? Maybe it can bring some spooky vibes for the first few days in November, but as it starts to brown and lose its firmness- there is something much better you can do than toss it out. YOU CAN SMASH IT!
Now although smashing your pumpkin is fun, it can also serve a purpose. With one billion pounds of pumpkin entering the American landfill system annually (Waste Dive) composting is a good first step in reducing your waste! You are returning valuable nutrients to the earth and reducing GreenHouse Gas (GHG) emissions by diverting from landfills. Once you let out your pandemic or election frustrations with a little bit of productive smashing, you might wonder about how you can continue composting throughout the year.
If you have a yard, you can purchase an in vessel composting container or DIY a windrow system from reclaimed materials. For apartment dwellers without a yard, you can start an indoor vermicomposting system. After digesting the edible components of food waste, worms produce nutrient-rich remains in the form of manure. Worm castings (manure) or vermicompost is a super nutrient-rich form of compost. Perhaps the easiest way to compost is to use a local service like Urban Canopy, Healthy Soil Compost, Collective Resource or other haulers that service your area. Each service works in a similar way: you put your food scraps in a container and they take it away. If you are really committed to making your own bins, Plant Chicago hosts a number of workshops on composting if you’d like to learn more than youtube videos can provide, including this vermicomposting workshop on November 14th.
We hope you join us on Saturday, November 7th for Pumpkin Smash 2020 and Green your Halloween! You can bring your pumpkins and smash away. And after seeing how easy composting can be, we hope you’ll feel inspired to start (or continue) your composting journey! Learn more about you can participate in the event here!
This blog post is by Mara Morgan. Mara is a third-year student at DePaul University and was a Farmer’s Market Outreach intern this summer and has been integral in reshaping our education programs this fall. This blog covers our upcoming event Pumpkin Smash 2020.