When you think of compost, what comes to mind? Dirt, worms, bad smells? Or enrichment, nutrients, and revitalization? Whether your thumbs are green or not, composting is something that anyone can do, regardless of your living situation (and it doesn’t stink when done right!). In Sarasota, Florida, Sunshine Community Compost makes it even easier with their compost stations located in three different city parks. Since plant-based materials make the best compost, Vegan Action was excited to participate in their Community Compost-a-thon in May to celebrate the end of International Compost Awareness Week!

Part of Sunshine Community Compost’s mission is to help end food waste at the source, to make use of all your food to prevent even needing to compost it. To highlight this, Vegan Action’s table included recipes for banana bread (using those speckled, overripe bananas that often languish on our kitchen counters) and vegetable stock (which uses all those veggie scraps that tend to be thrown away, from carrot and potato peels to the ends of celery). Not only do recipes such as this encourage people to eat more plant-based foods, it also helps curb food waste and make use of those plant foods that may get tossed in the trash.

We included a display on how to best stock your fridge to prevent food spoilage, the timeline of fresh produce, and how to freeze certain foods. We also included how to decode expiration dates, especially compared to “sell by” and “best by” dates, which can be tricky for consumers to decipher, which causes even more food waste. The info graph below, also on display at our table, shows the startling statistics around food waste and its detriment to the environment.

Other exhibitors at this community event included local fruit farms, plastic reduction and recycling initiatives, upcycled art created by local students, food samples of recipes that use scraps and stems of veggies, and a station for attendees to pot flowers with compost straight from Sunshine. The free buffet spread was almost entirely vegan and completely zero waste with mason jars available for the water dispenser, compostable plates and bamboo cutlery, and cloth napkins. This event really showed how any community event can be planned more sustainably with just a little bit of extra effort, which is worth it to help the planet!

Thank you to Traci with Sunshine Community Compost for having Vegan Action at this event and for supporting our mission. We met so many lovely people and families at this event. We’re already looking forward to next year’s celebration!

Ready to start composting? Find drop off locations via Share Waste: https://sharewaste.com/ and the US Composting Council.