There are times that Berkeley amazes me. Every last Friday of the month the Ecology Center pairs with the City of Berkeley to give away free compost. I’m not talking tiny bags either – I’m talking, back your pick-up truck in and start shoveling until it’s full of dark, rich compost. Yes, amazing.

IMG_1462photos: G Bucciarelli

It’s chaotic, happy, hopeful and hard work all at once. When G arrived 10 minutes after the gates opened, there were about 50 people there ranging from landscapers to front yard gardeners. Some were shoveling like mad loading their trucks and others were filling up whatever they could get their hands on and shoving it all in their car.

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There was enough so that I was able to amend almost every bed in the yard and still have enough left over to give a neighbor. Berkeley has given every resident in the city a green can for collecting green waste and food scraps in their push to send less and less waste to the landfill. Prior to this program they were finding that about 25% of the material going into the landfill was food waste. So now we have less waste and free compost.

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They also have a small pile of wood chip there to use as mulch. Which makes me want to mention something that may be useful to some of you who don’t live in this area. Recently I’ve struck up a friendship with a great arborist and now I have access to free mulch whenever I need it. Most arborists have more chip then they can get rid of, so don’t be too shy to ask them!

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