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  • Morris C. Educare

    Luke, I would like to get my Kindergarten class involved in composting. We are in Jersey. Is there a way we could help with Hello Compost to Project Eats?

  • Hannah Goulding

    Hey luke,

    This is an exciting idea!!! I like the idea of creating a mobile app, and the rewards system (exchanging the compost for food credits) is genius. I agree with Angela Holtzen: How can we spread this idea nationally?

    Do you feel that it is more beneficial to work on this project in a place that is densely populated and less environmentally savvy --where the idea will bring great benefit but will have a difficulty getting similar support -- than it is to introduce the idea in an area that is more environmentally savvy, such as Denver CO, where there may be considerably more support & engagement of the project?

    I'm totally biased in this perspective, given that I live in Denver. But from an outside perspective... inquiring minds want to know :)

    • Luke Keller

      Great point Hannah. Food waste impacts everyone, regardless of economic status or race. From this perspective, I think having a service like Hello Compost launch anywhere is to everyone's benefit. However, the reality is that folks who earn less than those who are more fortunate typically have less access to fresh produce and a place to bring their food waste. We think it's important that economic circumstances not hinder anyone's ability to make a positive contribution to their community, and that's why we've been working with Project EATS to roll out Hello Compost in low-income communities.

      The other side to this is that economic status shouldn't hinder the more fortunate from making a positive impact either. In an ideal future, our service would be a way to bridge these economic gaps and find a way to make participation from each community a benefit to the other. In the present however, we still have a lot to learn from our pilot and would love to explore avenues to expand into cities across the nation.

  • Miss H

    Hi Luke,

    Where can I find out more information on the exchange rate on compost to credits?

    Thank you!

  • BenLeeSimon

    Hey Luke, I was just reading your post and wanted to send you some encouragement from the Food Recovery Network. We're also experimenting with a few ideas in this space. This sounds like a very cool model and I look forward to hearing how the pilot goes. Best of luck!

    • Luke Keller

      Thanks for your support Ben!

  • Angela Holtzen

    How do we bring this to LA and OC in California? If you have any information of who to contact please let me know. We need to make this Country wide. I am a gardener I believe we also need to educate people in how to grow their own food. Even in containers. It is a necessity in life and an art of living that is being lost in the common person. :)

    • Luke Keller

      I'm glad you love our idea as much as we do! We're looking at ways to get those outside NYC involved as well. Stay tuned!

  • maldita

    Hi Luke!

    What you are doing is not only good, it's very, very, very good! Wish we had something like that in the Philippines, too!

  • paula lombardo

    Awesome idea! I just moved to Sardinia, Italy where they have a very comprehensive recycling/waste management system including organic waste. It just makes sense for food to go back into the system that it came from...one way or another! :-)

  • Liora Yukla

    awsome idea, sounds like a very thorough and systematic design process. Respect!

  • leonard sheaffer

    So now we have people that won't have to feel guilty for wasting food because they are getting paid for it. Why not buy only the amount food that one will use.

    • paula lombardo

      I don't think this encourages people to waste. It enables things like potato, carrot, apple, etc. peels to be put to use along with other food items that had good intensions!

  • Angie Pinchbeck

    This is such an amazing idea! It's also a great way to encourage community interaction. I'd like to know a little more about the bag design. The article says it's made of canvas, but is it lined with something slightly more waterproof? Do participants continue to hang on to the same bags and wash them? Or are they exchanged during the drop-off process?

    Looking forward to hearing about the results of the beta test!

  • dianabhaktul

    With a name like Hello Compost, you should partner with Hello Fresh and for every pound of compost, we get credit on Hello Fresh. www.hellofresh.com

  • jfoth

    Great idea. But how are you going to overcome the "ick" factor and potential stigma of having to carry a bag of food scraps in public to bring them to a Project EATS market? Also, there's a lot of behavior change involved that could complicate things. Interested to see the results of the pilot.

    • Luke Keller

      Behavior change is definitely a major challenge to collecting food waste. We've explored ways to overcome "what is lost" in participation (time, effort) through "what is gained" (credits, social impact, social activity). When we pilot we're going to actively engage our beta-testers on this issue and see how we might make participation more enticing in the future.

  • s.dennison

    I live in a place where we have compost pickup weekly. And yet I love your idea most especially the ability to give those more in need a way to trade up. I am just a little unclear about a couple of things though...how do these filled bags get delivered to Project EATS? Do the residents need to take them in? It would seem so if that is where they get weighed. Are there lots of local Project EATS involved? Unless they are very local or a pick up is arranged I wonder how this will work. More queries to come but for now look forward to seeing how you do. As I said, it sounds like a great plan!

    • Luke Keller

      The site we're going to pilot at is densely populated, and the farm is at the base of the building. For this site at least, that makes delivering bags an easy effort but an effort no less (this relates to the burden of behavior change, something we're very interested in). Project EATS has 9 farm sites in NYC, with a farmer at each site and youth volunteers as well. We're going to use the pilot as a learning experience, as I'm sure many surprises will come up and we'll need to adapt accordingly. Thanks for your support and interest!

      • s.dennison

        If you can make it work, put Toronto Canada down as a next possible stop. We could really use something like this.

  • mariana mendoza

    Wonderful! Would love to have this here in Miami, FL. Please let me know if you ever get it going here. Thanku!

  • Cathy Caplener

    This is so awesome. I would love to get this program started here in Los Angeles. I live in what is considered the "greenest" part of LA. I bet people here would want to participate and start such a program. Thank you!

  • Love Art House

    Brilliant. Hope to see this type of project expanded nationally and beyond, what an excellent concept!

  • Mayer Dahan

    With so many people everyday throwing so much food in the garbage, while not realizing where there food comes from, and where it goes for that matter, Project Eats is educating communities, and offering a rebate for more fresh food. This change in the way we eat will have people eating better quality food, and eating smarter.

  • Kristen Hess

    This is so great. You're so right about compost being a valuable resource and I LOVE the incentive of getting credit towards fresh produce. The freezer bags are a good idea too, and if they can be made locally, even better. How often do you plan on collecting compost? I'll be very interested to follow your growth. Rooting for you guys and hope to see similar projects spreading across the country quickly. You might find this product interesting for businesses and schools (if you plan on including them too) http://kck.st/19wiB9M

      • Kristen Hess

        Hi Vanessa, thank you for the support! Can't wait to deliver you a CompoKeeper :) The third color will be voted on by anyone who chose the "mark your mark" reward once we reach our goal. It's not to late to upgrade your reward if you'd like to be a part of the voting process.

  • russ22a

    Is there evidence that low-income families produce a large amount of food waste? I'd think that they would have less food to waste.

    • Luke Keller

      Unfortunately not much evidence exists for how much food waste anyone produces, let alone how demographics or income status impact food waste. We're hoping to use our project as an opportunity to change that by building a dataset through what we're measuring.

      • Cait Emma

        This is a fantastic idea. Really one that inspires change.

        Another organization, Fenugreen, is also tacking wasted food (using specialty paper to help keep food fresh longer). They concluded that we globally loose 25% of our food supply a year to spoilage.

        I appreciate any visionary who wants to cut down on food waste or make use of it.

        http://www.fenugreen.com/

        • Adele Peters

          There's a great feature on Fenugreen's FreshPaper (explaining the crazy story of how its founder created it) in the new issue of GOOD Magazine, worth checking out...

          • Cait Emma

            I haven't seen it yet! How exciting!

  • Aqualibrium

    Amazing project with a noble goal!