"...we can take responsibility for recycling our own "waste" into resources at a community level, as well as supporting the local economy."

There are so many small tweaks we could be making in our homes; less plastic, using sustainable materials, minimising food waste... the list could go on! 
This year’s Earth Day theme is “Together, We Can Restore Our Earth", can you recommend a small daily change everyone could make either at home or within their community to care better for our environment?

Composting your food scraps is an easy and impactful way to start - between 30% and 50% of what Aucklanders send to landfill is food scraps, which produces large amounts of methane when buried in landfills, and takes up a whole load of unnecessary space in our rubbish trucks, meaning more trucks on the road.

There's a lot of composting options out there now, from traditional heaps or bins, to worm farms, to bokashi buckets, so there is a solution for everyone, whether you have a big garden or an apartment.

Once you start composting, it changes your mindset from seeing your offcuts as waste, to seeing them as a resource, and in our experience, you'll never go back to putting it in the landfill bin again. It's especially true if you also start a garden, as then you have a real interest in producing some compost, and you definitely won't want to waste those resources because you need them to feed your garden!

Composting is pretty simple really - if you imagine a forest floor, with different materials piling up and breaking down, we're just trying to bring those materials together to break down in a more convenient and faster way.

For composting, there's just four basic ingredient types:

Greens - which are materials with more nitrogen content, and normally more moisture - for example, food scraps, weeds, grass clippings, coffee grounds.

Browns - which are higher carbon materials, generally dry - paper, cardboard, twigs and sticks, wood chips.

Water - you want your pile to be moist but not wet.

Air - you should normally have plenty of this, as long as you don't make your pile too wet.

As long as you have those in a reasonable balance (about 50:50 greens and browns), then you'll be okay, and you'll get a feel for the process and how to adjust your recipe as you go.


For those with busy lives, Soil Factory community composting looks like it could be a great alternative if you aren't able to compost at home.
How does this work, and what would the environmental benefits be?

If you don't have the space or time to compost at home, we operate Soil Factory as a community composting service for people in our area. For a monthly subscription, our team will collect your food scraps on our e-bike and trailer, and bring them back here to hot compost, providing fertility for our vegetable gardens.

If you don't live in our collection zone (parts of Grey Lynn/Ponsonby/Herne Bay), we also offer a drop-off option, for a smaller fee.

By signing up to Soil Factory, you're helping us to create a closed local food loop, and showing that we can take responsibility for recycling our own "waste" into resources at a community level, as well as supporting the local economy.

Once you've got your composting sorted for home, it's also worth thinking about what happens to food scraps from your workplace - we've found that even fairly small offices will generate more than you think, in banana peels, apple cores, last week's forgotten sandwich, and those compostable cups from the times you forget your reusable one.

How can we as a community become involved with Kelmarna? The Saturday shop is a good place to start right?

The easiest ways to come and get involved are to come and buy our produce, or to volunteer and help us grow some more!

Our Farm Shop is open twice a week, on Wednesdays from 10am - 4pm, and Saturday mornings from 9am - 12pm, and we sell a whole range of fresh veg, fruit, herbs, and our salad mix.

Volunteers make almost everything happen at Kelmarna, and there's lots of different roles to get involved in, whether you're a keen gardener, or a beginner, or would be happier staffing the shop, helping us teach school groups, or cycling round to pick up food scraps.

Aside from that, we'd love to get more local businesses involved in supporting Kelmarna, whether that's by composting with Soil Factory, spending a day with us working and learning about what we do, or just booking in a tour of the farm for your team.

People can head to our website, kelmarnagardens.nz, to find out more about what we do here and all the ways to be part of it.