By Himanee Gupta
Are you a Saratoga Farmers Market regular who arrives each week with shopping bags as well as a can of kitchen scraps for our compost collection bin? If so, thank you!
Thanks in part to you, we’re expanding our compost collection efforts.
The market has partnered with a Saratoga-based small business Loving Earth Compost, to create a “Scraps to Soil” project at its Wednesday market. Loving Earth owner Hope LaBonty provides a bin for collecting food scraps and other compostable items each week. This material will be taken to Loving Earth’s composting facility to be turned into soil. That soil will be bagged and returned to the market in late fall. The market will then make it available to all of you on a donation basis.
Such soil is a perfect addition to backyard or container gardens, says LaBonty.
LaBonty grew up in western Massachusetts and is a member of the Wampanoag Tribe and has various ancestral European roots. Everyone in her family had gardens and believed in fostering connections between people, plants, and the earth. A desire to pursue those connections led LaBonty to the University of Maine to study ecology and environmental science and eventually to Upstate New York, where she has lived for about a decade with her family.
She took over ownership of Loving Earth in March 2022. The compost collection business currently services more than 100 households in Saratoga.
LaBonty describes the exchange of scraps for soil as an act of reciprocity.
“A lot of people don’t have access to a lawn or backyard they feel comfortable composting in, but they still want to be part of this movement toward being more environmentally conscious,” she explains. “They want to be contributing to soil health and toward mitigating climate change, all of which can be done through composting.”
Compost is a valuable aspect of the regenerative agricultural methods used by many Saratoga Farmers Market vendors. I am one such vendor. My farm’s co-owner Jim Carlson has been transporting compost brought to the market to our farm to generate topsoil. This year, the market’s pilot project with Loving Earth is part of my activities as SUNY Empire State University’s Turben Chair in Mentoring. As part of this work, Loving Earth will offer an informational table and one-hour workshop from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on June 7 and an activity during the Wednesday market’s summer Power of Produce Club for children on July 17 to teach children and families about the benefits of composting.
The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is open on Wednesdays from 3:00 – 6:00 p.m. and Saturdays from 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. at High Rock Park in downtown Saratoga. Find us online at www.saratogafarmersmarket.org, where you can sign up for our weekly newsletter, and follow us on Facebook and Instagram @SaratogaFarmersMarket.