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Compost Collective Leeds: Programme expanding after pilot success!

FoodWise Leeds is celebrating the success of delivering a 1-year community composting pilot, in partnership with local grass-roots organisations and community groups. Compost Collective Leeds is now expanding across the city, with funding to establish six additional sites.


THE PILOT

Since February 2022, FoodWise Leeds has partnered with grass-roots organisations and community groups to establish two community composting sites in Garforth and Seacroft. The ambitions for these sites were to enable community members to:

  • Reduce food waste by recycling food scraps

  • Create a free source of compost to grow local food, flowers and other plants

  • Collectively #compostforclimate and reduce their carbon footprint

  • Support their local green and growing spaces

Photo credit: Meanwood Valley Urban Farm

In just 3 months, over 180 5 litre caddies were emptied into community composting bins, transforming over 250 kilos of diverted food waste into a future free source of compost. This means approximately 950 kilos of CO2 emissions (GhGs)1 have been saved; the equivalent weight of around 4 local alpacas at Leeds’ Meanwood Valley Urban Farm!


Once the compost is ready, local members will be collecting their share and any remaining will be given to local green/growing spaces (e.g. Incredible Edible Garforth community food growing beds and Seacroft Forest Garden).


Local Councillor Katie Dye enthuses about her local site Compost Collective Seacroft:

“The scheme has been really successful. From experienced composters to complete beginners, the pilot has engaged lots of different people who are now turning food waste into compost to grow more food!


FoodWise Leeds were able to provide the guidance needed to set up and establish the site for long-term sustainability, with expertise and resources from bin design to delivering members training. Climate Action Seacroft has been a great support, co-facilitating training, looking after the compost bin and encouraging people along the way. Links have been made with community organisations such as the LS14 Trust who are offering a free tea or coffee with each caddy emptied and Chapel FM who are composting food waste from their cafe.


It would be fantastic to see community composting extended so that more people can benefit, and we can cut waste across the city.”

 

Compost Collective Garforth partners: Incredible Edible Garforth and Eco-Friendly Garforth. Funded by Outer East Community Committee and Food for the Planet (Sustainable Food Places).



Compost Collective Seacroft partners: We Are Seacroft, Climate Action Seacroft and LS14 Trust. Funded by Inner East Community Committee and Food for the Planet (Sustainable Food Places).


Read more about the pilot sites here.

 

Our Approach


FoodWise Leeds has shared an overview of their approach to setting up the pilot sites (below). Key to the continuing success of these sites is the co-production with local community. This has been achieved this through strong partnership working, community consultation and local skill sharing/development. One key outcome of this approach has been the positive impact on helping to reduce social isolation (i.e. community composting as a social activity), one member told us “I’m already a keen composter, I came to meet people”.


To achieve the ambitions for each site, FoodWise and partners worked through the following stages, developing supporting resources and tools. For example, Compost Collective Leeds Members Handbook (viewable here).

 

GROWING THE MOVEMENT

With strong links to the Leeds Food Strategy, the vision for Compost Collective Leeds is to work in partnership with local communities to grow a network of community compost sites across Leeds. Taking action towards this and based on the success of the pilot, FoodWise has secured funding to develop an additional six sites with other Leeds-based communities.


Compost Collective Leeds sites provide communities with a tangible way to take action in caring for themselves, their communities and the planet.


INTERESTED IN SETTING UP A SITE?

If you are a local organisation, community group or community member interested in setting up a local Compost Collective Leeds site, please get in touch with FoodWise Leeds (info@foodwiseleeds.org) to discuss how we might support you and your community.


 

FoodWise Leeds is the food partnership for the city and the food transition partner for the Climate Action Leeds programme. FoodWise takes action towards their vision of creating a healthy, sustainable and fair food system for everyone in Leeds. Get in touch today & join the good food movement.


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Footnote: 1 Calculation based on insights within the UK Food System GHG Emissions report (WRAP) (i.e. approximately every kilo of food waste in the UK is associated with 3.8 kilos of CO2e (GhGs)).

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