Organic waste from a farmer's perspective

Keep your waste please
“I don't want urban organic waste on my farm. Keep your waste please. Wood chips on the other hand you can drop off as much as you want.”

Tijs Boelens, farmer of De Groentelaar

Usually discussions about repurposing the large volumes of organic ‘waste’ produced in cities for soil building and food growing start from an urban perspective where the views of farmers are sometimes seen as of less importance. However, farmers are rather apprehensive about the use of urban organic waste and are interested in specific nutrient sources, especially those that are hard to resource on farm. There are examples of farmers working with the parks & green departments to recuperate for example leaves, but a lot of barriers need to be tackled such as transport or legislation. 

Thinking about resourcing nutrients in (peri)urban environments could start much more from the specific needs of agroecological actors and then look at how to find, produce, collect, store and make them available in an appropriate way.  This has been the strategy followed by the urban agroecology centre in Rosario, where research is being carried out on urban waste streams to ensure farmers are clear on what they contain and whether they are suitable for incorporation into agroecological production.

Building Block: Healthy Soil Scape