Earth Matter NY Takes Composting to a New Level

by Cameron St. Germain

Part of the Food Policy Community Spotlight Series

What they do: Earth Matter NY accepts and processes food waste as part of DSNY’s NYC Compost Project. Earth Matter NY Inc. is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the art, science, and application of composting in and around New York City.

How they do it: Their cooperative farm and apprentice training programs’ goal is to demonstrate the “Table to Farm” cycle of compost as an integral part of creating and maintaining soil health. Everyone who is a part of Earth Matter contributes to the educational activities by sharing their skills they learn to visitors who come during their seasonal weekend open hours.

Mission: “We seek to reduce the organic waste misdirected into the garbage stream by encouraging neighbor participation and leadership in composting.”

Latest project/campaign: 

Earth Matter NY piloted the Lavender Field located on Governors Island at the South Battery. The Lavender Field aims to provide a healing space for both the earth and humans. It utilizes compost created on Governors Island from resident food scraps generated in NYC. The field provides ongoing volunteer opportunities to learn how to tend lavender and participate in healing practices such as yoga and meditation.

Also, they are piloting a program centered around the collection of oyster shells for the Billion Oyster Project (BOP) Shell Collection Program. They supply BOP with oyster shells. This oyster shell recovery initiative reinforces Earth Matter’s mission on raising New Yorkers’ awareness on urban ecology, circular economy, and the importance of individual responsibilities for taking care of the planet.

The Lavender Field and the Island Oyster shell collection program aims to become part of Earth Matter’s ongoing educational dialogue with citizens about the concept of zero waste and the close loop of organic materials, where all organic waste is simply a link among other interconnected ecological processes.

Major Funding: DSNY’s NYCCP, Earth Matter Friends, Governors Island Social Entrepreneurship partners

Profit/nonprofit: Nonprofit

Annual Budget: $700,000

Interesting fact about how they are working to positively affect the food system: They process 80,000 pounds of food scraps and yard waste a month. They have 80 chickens and two summer goats, in addition to their worms and bees, that help them with processing and educating volunteers and visitors.



778 Enright Rd

Brooklyn, NY 11231

Core Programs: NYC Compost Project, Compost Learning Center, Billion Oyster Project, Soil Start Farm

Number of staff: 10

Number of volunteers: 50

Areas served:

  • Bronx
  • Brooklyn
  • Manhattan
  • Staten Island
  • Queens
  • Governors Island

Year Started: 2009

Co-founder and Project Manager: Marisa DeDominicis

Contact Information:

(646) 734-6151
Photo credit: Earth Matter NY

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