McGraw resident takes area food waste reduction into his own hands

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A local resident is working to address the problem of food waste in the community little-by-little.

Some years ago, David Hammon and his wife purchased their home just outside of McGraw with plans to build a garden. However, the soil was poor — full of rocks and stones –and certainly no place they could grow veggies.

“I dug the garden up and sifted the stones out,” said Hammon. “From there, I began adding compost to bring the soil to life. My efforts have paid off over time, and the garden has given us more than enough food for ourselves. This past year we donated some veggies to a couple local churches to help those in need.”

Hammon began expanding his garden over the last couple years. To-date, it now covers an area of 30’ by 150’.

“This has been made possible using the compost I have made,” added Hammon.

He gathered materials from various sources and composted them down into a nutrient rich soil. Hammon said this allowed him to offer extra compost to other gardeners in the area, as well.

Citing a lack of an established food waste program in the area, he decided to create one himself and start a curbside composting program.

“I have obtained buckets and lids that will be used in the collection of food waste,” says Hammon, “and I have been working on literature that can be handed out so others can learn why composting is so important.”

His effort has been joined onto by people as far away as Binghamton who have brought their food waste to him in McGraw.

He has also partnered with Coffee Mania to obtain their used coffee grounds. Additionally, Hammon said he has also contacted a couple local restaurants in hopes of getting their food waste.

Food waste that is sent to landfill does not harmlessly breakdown, according to Hammon. It has a big impact on the environment as it rots and releases methane – a harmful greenhouse gas that is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

However, he notes that it’s not all bad news, as many of us will be able to recycle or compost our food waste.

“I have begun a collaborative effort with the Seven Valleys Health Coalition (SVHC) to help steer people away from sending their foodwaste to the landfill,” Hammon continued. “On February 8th, I had a phone conversation with one of their project coordinators, Adrianne Traub. Together we learned what each one of us can do.”

Additional fundraising efforts are underway to help defray some of the costs that he has run into trying to do this alone.

Hammon says he was able to raise around $500 in the past year; but he still deals with significant out of pocket expenses and has found little success with potential grant opportunities.

“Overall, my goal is to help save our little corner of the environment one small part at a time. Sometimes all we need is a little push to get us going in the right direction,” closed Hammon.

For more on how to support his initiative, visit any of the following pages:

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