EDWARDSVILLE - Soil and worms are main components of composting, but there’s no need to get your hands dirty with Good Dirt Composting Collective’s initiative to bring New Earth Farm composting services to Edwardsville.

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New Earth Farm is a St. Louis-based company that makes it easy for residents and businesses to compost. The group supplies buckets to customers, who fill them with food waste throughout the week. New Earth Farm then collects the food waste and adds it to their composting bins.

“We’re just trying to totally keep it simple so that folks can participate in doing something good and something green,” owner John Cline said. “People just love being able to do something tangible to help the environment.”

Cline and his wife, Stacey, want to expand New Earth Farm services to the Metro East area. They’ve been working with Good Dirt Composting Collective, a composting advocacy and education group in Edwardsville that often provides information about composting to schools, rotary clubs, scout troops and other organizations.

Mary Grose, who calls herself a “composting enthusiast,” started Good Dirt Composting Collective in the early days of the COVID-19 Pandemic. She explained that the New Earth Farm services will make it simple for people in the Edwardsville community to help the environment. She noted that composting isn’t necessarily difficult, but these services will make it even more painless.

“It can be done quite easily. I think there is a little hurdle, though, for people to actually take that step. I think they think they might fail or it might not work out. So we try to encourage them and make it simple. You really can’t fail,” Grose said, adding, “There are lots of reasons why it might be hard for someone, so this makes it very easy.”

Cline echoed this sentiment. New Earth Farm aims to make composting possible for people who don’t have the resources to do it themselves.

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“There’s a lot of folks that don’t have the time or the money or the energy,” he said. “It’s kind of like changing the oil in your car. Everybody can learn how to do that, and some folks do. But other folks find somebody to do that service for them because they’ve got other commitments they’re attending to. So we’re here for folks who are looking for a service like this.”

Cline and Grose explained that composting helps minimize food waste in landfills. In a landfill, the food doesn’t break down as easily and creates methane gas, which is bad for the environment.

Grose encourages people to minimize their food waste as much as possible, but some waste is inevitable. Composting offers an alternative to landfills. When New Earth Farm combines its customers’ food waste with carbon-rich or “brown” material (leaves, newspapers, etc.), the food is broken down more easily and naturally. The result is compost, or “black gold,” which can be added to gardens as fertilizer.

New Earth Farm currently has two confirmed host sites in Edwardsville, with the goal of securing two more. The Main Street Community Center and the Edwardsville YMCA Meyer Center will both serve as drop-off locations for people to bring their buckets of food waste. Eventually, New Earth Farm hopes to implement residential pick-up services throughout the Metro East area.

The group is still gauging interest, but they hope to start Edwardsville composting services by late summer. If you want to see New Earth Farm services in Edwardsville, click here to express your interest or sign up.

While most people agree that it’s important to help the environment, it can also feel overwhelming. Cline and Grose noted that a lot of people just don’t know where to start. They hope that the expanding New Earth Farm services will make it easier for Edwardsville and surrounding communities to engage with these efforts.

“It’s something that we can do, as individuals and as a community,” Grose said. “There are a lot of environmental changes that are out of our control, but this is something that can be accessible to every person. And it would make a big impact.”

To learn more about New Earth Farm, visit their website. If you have questions about composting or want to schedule a presentation, contact the Good Dirt Composting Collective at their Facebook page.

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