NewsQ&A with Farmer Jon of Healthy Soil Compost

Posted Feb 13, 2019

Nutritious food and sustainable food systems starts with healthy soil. That’s why at every Green City Market location and event, you’ll find composting receptacles to collect organic waste like food scraps and paper plates. With the help out our compost partner, Healthy Soil Compost, we’re repurposing this “waste” into nutrient-dense soil. Last year alone, we diverted over 11,000 pounds of waste from landfill, which equates to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by over 8,000 pounds.

At every market, shoppers can bring their own container or bag of organic waste (up to 5 gallons) and drop it off for just $3.  During the Indoor Market season, compost drop-offs are located outside just behind the Green City Market Info Booth. Just stop by the Info Booth and our volunteers will help you out.

Curious about compost? We asked Healthy Soil Compost founder Jonathan Scheffel to tell us a little more about his company and composting basics, so you can get started in your kitchen at home!

Q.)  How can someone get started composting at home? To get started composting at home with Healthy Soil Compost you can easily sign-up on our website and we will have a bin delivered to start at-home pickups.  Or,the Green City Market program is an excellent way to visit the market and compost. To use the drop-off program at the market, you will first need to start collecting your organic waste (food-scraps)! You can collect it in any kind of container.  Finally bring your bucket/bin to the market and deposit material into the compost bins located near the market manager table. Please use our Composting Guide and also our Compost Text line 312-667-8015 for any compost related questions. Please only dump compostable material into the bins and not any plastic bags.

Q.) What types of waste can be composted? Any material that once was alive can be composted.This means all your kitchen food scraps (plant and animal), garden/plant trimmings, leaves, paper towels, non-glossy paper products, food-soiled cardboard like pizza boxes, and any BPI Certified Compostable products or 100% compostable products.

Q.) What Can NOT be composted? We Say NO To:

  • Feces and/or Litter from any animal (regulated by the EPA)
  • Landscape Material that has been subjected to synthetic fertilizers.
  • Plastics
  • Glass
  • Metal
  • Non-Compostable items

Q.) What are the environmental benefits of composting? Why send food scraps to the landfill when there are better uses for it? There are so many benefits from composting to our soil and the environment. Here are three things that composting accomplishes:

  • Divert material from a landfill: Illinois landfills are nearing capacity and composting food-scraps means less waste goes to the landfill which extends the life of the landfill and keeps a valuable Earth resource (food) from going to waste.  Food-waste does not decompose properly in a landfill and results in the production of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. 
  • Feed the SoilCompost puts valuable nutrients back into the soil, farmers using compost grow healthier produce while reducing the need for synthetic fertilizers, compost holds more water than regular soil so this means farmers need to water less and reduce the use of another natural resource. The farms we help to grow here in Chicago serve a greater purpose of becoming a storm-water filter and an overall carbon sink as carbon is sequestered from the atmosphere and held within the soil.
  • Part of a healthy ecosystem: Composting is the final piece of a healthy ecosystem and is how the earth recycles itself and how energy from the sun is transferred back into a form we can use to grow more food and earth!

Q.) Where does the compost from the market go once you collect it? 100% of the material we collect is taken to our partners at Nature's Little Recyclers. Nature's Little Recyclers is an urban farm developer that specializes in breeding earthworms and rehabilitating soil.The finished compost product (worm castings) is then redistributed to urban farms/gardens, schools, and the overall Healthy Soil Compost community for home gardens or any soil-feeding projects.

Q.) Tell us more about your company, Healthy Soil Compost. Healthy Soil Compost is an organic waste hauling company that specializes in the transport of organic waste (food-waste!). We provide a variety of Chicago locations with an environmentally-conscious and more community-focused solution to a commonly wasted resource.We develop community outreach and education projects that involve composting, vermicomposting, soil-rehabilitation, general waste reduction techniques and connecting the community to local agriculture projects. Since the start in 2015, the Healthy Soil Compost community has successfully diverted over 800,000 LBS of compostables from the landfill while reducing over 288 tons of carbon emissions from the atmosphere!