On September 21st, a group of volunteers from SP&SA caught a ferry over to Governors Island so that we could volunteer at Earth Matter, a composting site that processes 200 tons of food waste per year, diverting it from landfills and turning it into valuable soil instead.
Once there, we met the Earth Matter team, and then got to work walking their two goats and aerating compost. Earth Matter’s primary mission is to create leaders in the community by way of example and education, and we learned a lot! We saw how different creatures all play a part in the process, from the chickens and goats who pick over the new scraps and add nutritious manure, to the micro-organisms that break down the matter and turn it into soil, to the people who oversee the process and allow it to happen on a large scale.
It was inspiring to witness the sense of joy and well-being that comes when interacting with the earth and its creatures. Many of the volunteers at the site were children, who seemed to especially relish the animal-care aspect of the work. At one point, a team member pointed out a lady who rides her bike down from the Upper West Side every week to personally deliver her scraps: she incorporates earth care into a healthy routine.
Personally, I felt enlivened and enriched by my hours at Earth Matter. Breathing in the fresh air, enjoying the company of happy and healthy animals, and contributing my physical efforts to a sustainable system, I couldn’t help but think “this is how it is supposed to be.” I can’t wait to go back.
We will be organizing a return trip some time in the next few months, but you don’t have to wait! Earth Matter accepts volunteers on a regular basis.