Westchester County has partnered with Our New Way Garden, based in West Harrison, to close the loop on food waste. The partnership helps remove food scraps from the waste stream by composting inedible food, turning it into compost, and then using the compost to grow more food that is then donated to those in need. Our New Way Garden works with student volunteers, who learn about growing food that is then donated to various organizations for the food insecure. One of those organizations, Meals on Main Street, in Port Chester, supplies CompostED, the County’s compost and education center operated by the Department of Environmental Facilities, with inedible food that is used to make compost.

County Executive Latimer said: “In 2020, we launched the Residential Food Scrap Transportation and Disposal program to provide our municipalities the opportunity to host voluntary food recycling programs for the same cost as disposing of the scraps as garbage. In 2021, we opened up the CompostED Facility with a goal of creating a County compost education hub. Now, we continue our commitment to divert food waste from the County’s waste stream through creative partnerships with an eye towards giving back to the community.”

Meals on Main Street operates a mobile food panty and a home delivery program through which residents can receive fresh produce and prepared meals. In operation for more than 30 years, Meals on Main Street distributes 448,000 meals per year, impacting 213,000 people. Inedible food waste is received by the County’s Department of Environmental Facilities and processed into compost at the County’s CompostED Facility. In turn, the County donates the newly created compost to community gardens like Our New Way Garden.

Our New Way Garden operates several urban farms throughout the County to grow a significant amount of produce that is donated to food pantries. They also practice Community Supported Agriculture, whereby residents participate by paying for fresh produce to offset the cost of the donation program. Approximately half of the food crop shares go to the food insecure for free in Mt. Vernon, Port Chester and White Plains.

Westchester County’s CompostED facility provides compost to Our New Way Garden’s three farms. This year, a delivery was also made to Hutchinson Elementary School, where Our New Way Garden is establishing a large educational garden this spring. Our New Way Garden engages hundreds of students in classroom education and garden internships helping to promote future environmental stewards and leaders.

Latimer continued: “When DEF opened the CompostED Facility on Earth Day in 2021, these were the kinds of partnerships we envisioned supporting. To reduce food scraps from the solid waste stream and turn it into something that benefits County residents truly exemplifies the potential of composting.”