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Food Scraps into Soil :: Expanding Urban Roots Bike-Powered Compost Collection Service

Food Scraps into Soil :: Expanding Urban Roots Bike-Powered Compost Collection Service

Levi Gardner 736 Views

At Urban Roots, we believe that seemingly disconnected problems are actually searching for innovative and systemic solutions. Excess of domestic food waste, lack of local food access, increasing carbon miles in food systems and the need for local circular economic development are not isolated problems but rather opportunities for a creative solution. YOUR Compost is a bike powered compost pickup service that addresses some of these issues in addition to providing an affordable and accessible means of composting food scraps for urban dwellers in Grand Rapids. Currently no such program exists in Grand Rapids, and since the launch of our program in early 2017, it has grown by almost 15% every week. We know there is a market not only for the service, but for the mission, and it is because of that and our work at our Community Farm, Market, and Education center that we believe this program can experience tremendous growth into the future.


The value in our program is the multifaceted impact for anyone that grows, eats, or learns. In one program, we could compost up to (and even more than) 100,000 lbs of food waste, develop a thriving business model creating multiple jobs, support gardens all throughout the city of Grand Rapids, and cultivate an enduring awareness of the value of composting and local food systems. We believe that food scraps are not trash but rather the fuel for driving an ever-growing local food system.

What I Will Do With $5,000

Currently our program is run with a somewhat ramshackle bike and trailer. While we are confident in the model, the pricing structure, and the strategic objectives, we are in great need of funds to expand the program. Resources would purchase new equipment, scale up our marketing and promotion, and build training for future riders. Additionally funds would scale up our compost operation, providng tools and infrastructure to properly manage and monitor our internal operations and soil fertility.

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About Levi Gardner

When I'm not at Urban Roots, I am a husband, a father, a step-father, and a musician. As the Founder and Executive Director at Urban Roots, my days include growing, teaching workshops, preparing and eating tasty good with folks, reading Wendell Berry, and trying to cultivate a more beautiful and honest world. Things that get me excited are working outside, drinking wine on the porch with my wife, hiking, longboarding, and writing.

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