Bayview Greenwaste Lays the Foundation for Sustainable Urban Agriculture

San Francisco isn't the only city in the U.S. in the midst of a sustainable urban agricultural revolution, but it's definitely one of the forerunners. Farmers and activists in the Bay Area are challenging zoning laws and regulations, planting seeds, shaking things up, and positioning themselves as a model for other urban gardeners to follow. It's an exciting time, and is enabled in no small way by innovative support from projects like Bayview Greenwaste. Bayview Greenwaste turns waste into free mulch which plays a key role in powering urban gardening and greening in San Francisco.

Bayview Greenwaste was founded in 1998. The company collects resident yard waste for a collection fee, grinds it into high-quality mulching material, and then gives it away for free! Mulch is particularly useful for fruit tree cultivation as well as for sheet-mulching. Sheet mulching involves spreading alternate layers of cardboard and mulch and other biodegradable, organic materials to build good soil on top of poor soil. Folks also use mulch for garden paths and to keep weeds at bay.

To make sure their mulch is safe, Bayview Greenwaste regularly tests for hazardous chemicals like lead and monitors the temperature of the waste pile, to ensure that the pile is hot enough to kill any dangerous organisms. Because much of the mulch is being used to aid the production of food, it needs to be safe. Some of the area organizations and businesses that utilize the free mulch include school garden programs, edible landscaping companies, church gardens, organizations growing food for the hungry, private urban gardeners, among others.

Bayview Greenwaste employs a simple yet innovative strategy: by slightly diverting the yard waste stream, they are able to not only make a profit but re-purpose the waste into a valuable product that they then give away for the good of the city. Seems like a pretty sweet and sustainable business model to me!

photo credit: silly smells