Tag Archives: Community Outreach

INTERNal Dialogue: Josh the Intern Geeks Out at Home Depot, Talks Social Media Appreciation, Tests Soil Quality

By Joshua Michael
Intern at Bootstrap Compost, Inc.

Wow! It’s been quite an adventure at Bootstrap over the last few days. I watched the garage door break, I took part in a very “social” and inspiring social media meeting, Emma and I had a moment bonding over garbage receptacles, and I was given a task to research the soil quality of Bootstrap’s compost. And I painted a wall. All in a week’s work, so let’s get right to it.

Hi my name is Josh and I’m your official Bootstrap Intern

If you own a small business or know anyone who operates a small business, especially a small business that relies on vehicles, then you understand that having your garage door malfunction is a pretty big deal. While Andy, Igor and Faith scrambled to find a quick and effective solution, the Boot remarkably did not lose a step throughout, continuing to serve all clients amid a minor crisis, everyone working together for the collective good. It was impressive to watch the teamwork and camaraderie that keeps Bootstrap succeeding, day in and day out.

“It’s cool to see Bootstrap use social media as a resource to push for causes that need attention or are under attack by government or otherwise. As much as this company is about having a positive impacting on the environment and the community through the service, everyone here is also focused on giving the public access to information, serving as a voice for individuals and inspiring others to make a difference.”

On the topic of camaraderie, I’ve been sitting in on weekly social media strategy meetings with Emma, Andy, and Igor. To say that the meetings are entertaining would be an understatement. Every Monday morning, we engage in a healthy discussion and a few healthy laughs as the company prepares its weekly messaging. It’s a time to share ideas, opinions and maybe a joke or two. From planning a Twitter campaign aimed at providing info on soil science, to pondering over Bill Nye as an option for Bootstrap’s Famous Friday feature (but ultimately arriving at the Great American Chuck Norris, no offense, Bill), everyone does their best to keep a smile on everyone’s face and a huge part of that is through Bootstrap’s creative and open approach toward social media. For Bootstrap, social media is a space to give shout outs to movements, agencies, companies, and individuals that partner with the company. It’s also a time to figure out what Bootstrap is all about from a social responsibility perspective: what message are we spreading & what message should we be spreading?

Chuck Norris appears on Bootstrap’s “Famous Friday” Instagram campaign

I appreciate the social media meetings because it is a brief hour to unwind and discuss what is important locally, historically, and environmentally. As the intern, I’m usually tasked with collecting information for the company’s Twitter feed. It’s cool to see Bootstrap use social media as a resource to push for causes that need attention or are under attack by government or otherwise. As much as this company is about having a positive impacting on the environment and the community through the service, everyone here is also focused on giving the public access to information, serving as a voice for individuals and inspiring others to make a difference.

A Bootstrap SimpleHuman compost receptacle, provided to our office accounts.

Now for the most important part of my week. Emma and I took off to Home Depot to buy receptacles for new commercial accounts. It was here that we learned how intrigued we both are by the variety of garbage can designs, shapes, colors and options, especially ones of the SimpleHuman variety that Bootstrap buys. More importantly, during our travels, Emma and I discussed the impacts of compost, the courses available to better understand composting, and what types of ideas help Bootstrap function more efficiently on a day to day basis. Thanks to Emma, I got a crash course in business development and soil science!

Speaking of soil science, my last task for the week was to collect samples of Bootstrap’s compost to test the composition of the soil. Essentially the process was collecting three separate compost samples from the farm, putting them into a zip lock bag and sending them over the labs at UMass Boston. Why does Bootstrap do test its compost? Well, the samples are taken to gauge nutrient density, check pH levels, the cation exchange capacity (the ability of soil to hang on to essential nutrients as a way to buffer acidification) and to screen for toxic heavy metals. Clearly, the test is super important when you’re in the business of distributing healthy and happy soil amendment back to the community. I will keep you posted on what we find out.

Oh wait, there’s more. In my downtime, I also painted a wall in the office and jumped on a conference call with our insurance agent. So yea, just another week in the life of an intern at the Boot!


Client Q&A: Sarah Robinson

By Igor Kharitonenkov
Co-Founder at Bootstrap Compost, Inc.

Could Sarah Robinson be our #1 fan? The Boston-based green entrepreneur is certainly up for consideration. Shortly after Bootstrap expanded beyond Jamaica Plain and into the high-rises of downtown Boston, Sarah signed up and became a promising rookie in our inaugural class of 2011. The next year, she rose to prominence as a Bootstrap all-pro when she enrolled her company WeSpire, one of our first office accounts. Throughout the years, Sarah has sent many leads our way. And being an early ambassador of Bootstrap and having the perspective of a residential as well as commercial client, she had a lot to share with us about her experience. So here’s to you, Mrs. Robinson!

Sarah Robinson

What goes around comes around. Sarah using our compost – made in part from her food scraps – in her garden.

How long have you been a client of Bootstrap Compost? I’ve been a residential client since November 2011 and enrolled my business in 2012.

How did you hear about us?  I co-founded Practically Green (now WeSpire) and I’ve always enjoyed keeping an eye on upcoming green companies and entrepreneurs who were building companies to conserve resources.

Why did you sign up for Bootstrap? I’ve been composting for years in the country. I am continually flabbergasted by food waste, especially here in the city, and saw Bootstrap as an awesome, local urban solution to this problem. I also enjoy that as part of their service, I receive a pot of black gold for gardening at home and at my summer house in Rhode Island.

In what other ways do you recycle, conserve and stay environmentally sound? Oh, in every single way you can imagine. Outside of my personal  life, I built a business on conserving (WeSpire), launched our One Small Act initiative with large corporations and actively promote composting within other companies.

Do you have children? If so, are they apart of the composting process? Sure! I have three adult children and you know I make sure they know to compost. Mom’s orders! All jokes aside, I’m happy to say it’s part of our family’s way of life.

How are you enjoying the service so far? Bootstrap is flawless. I give them 5-stars.

Compost Round Up: “My Cup of Tea”

For this week’s edition of Compost Round Up, we thought we’d delve into the wonders of Compost Tea. It came up briefly at a recent Bootstrap team meeting and we thought it was worth expanding on. And given that Compost Week! just ended, here’s a way to stretch your supply of black gold. Without further ado, let’s learn the basic ins-and-outs:

What is compost tea?
It is the liquid extract of compost that contains plant growth compounds and beneficial microorganisms. It is NOT leachate, the dark-colored solution that leaks out of the compost pile, or the juice found in worm bins.

Why compost tea?
The healthy bacteria and fungus in compost tea protects plants from diseases. It can add key plant nutrients and microbes to soil without adding bulk (good for rooftop, balcony or container gardening). Compost tea is a way to maximize your compost resources to perform a more widespread application.

How do I make it?
Here is video making compost tea with equipment (pump, hose, etc):

Don’t have equipment? Not to worry, here’s a method for you:

How is it applied?
Compost tea can be applied once a week to the leaves or root zones of plants with a pump sprayer or watering can, ideally within two hours of the brewing process.

A Green Gospel: Tiny Kitchen Scraps Have Big Civic Impact

Greetings compost nuts!

Since May, we’ve welcomed over 200 new Bootstrappers into our growing community of urban composters. With so many of you new to the Bootstrap game, we figured it prudent to take a moment to outline the tremendous benefits of having you on board. Your commitment to composting (a completely voluntary commitment at that) is laudable. So please, take a bow.

Now, let’s look at the impacts!


Tiny kitchen scraps; big civic impact!

As a Bootstrap customer, you’re reducing your own carbon footprint (to date, you’ve helped to eliminate the emission of more than half a million pounds of harmful GHGs into the atmosphere), while helping to produce a over 250,000 pounds of natural soil amendment for local growers. Talk about a twofer! Additionally, as a BSC client you’ve helped create and fund over a dozen green jobs; support educational programming for students from kindergarten to college; and reduce the detrimental effects of landfills. So whether you know it or not, every Bootstrap subscriber is part of a community of activists that is spreading a profoundly more sustainable way of life. As a result, your membership allows The Boot to fulfill our biggest mission: empowering residents of Boston and its environs to Continue reading

The ABCs of BSC

Why Compost? Spell it out with B-O-O-T-S-T-R-A-P

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e the envy of your neighbors. With other fools tossing out their food scraps like it’s 1987, Bootstrap brings convenience, practicality, and oodles of cachet to the radical act of food diversion. Get with the future now.

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MG…It’s so easy. Seriously, composting with Bootstrap is essentially hassle-proof: Signup online, get a bucket, start collecting organics.


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ffset landfills. Landfills are fundamentally unsustainable, releasing pollutants into the ground, air and water. By removing organics from the conventional waste stream, we are challenging — and transforming — the very notion of trash.

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ake aim at GHG emissions. Carbon dioxide and methane gas (prevalent offshoots from landfills) contribute to global warming. Composting a pound of kale offsets the emission of .95 pounds of Co2. That’s a Continue reading

Green Plate Club seeks members

Bootstrap has again joined forces with our friends and neighbors Boston Organics to lick wastefulness. This easy-as-pie promo (ingeniously dubbed The Green Plate Club) serves to bind the ties between two locally owned businesses specializing in organic produce delivery and organics pickup, respectively. Together—with your help — we’re reshaping the loop of food production, consumption, and refuse.

Green Plate Club BSC Jan 2014
So what’s in it for me, you ask?
As a Bootstrap subscriber, you’ll receive $10 off your first Boston Organics delivery and a pair of Bootstrap pickups (a prize package worth up to $30!!). Clearly, if the notion of receiving fresh organic produce right to your door ever appealed to you, now is the time to enroll! To join the Green Plate Club, sign up with our pals at 
bostonorganics.com with the promo code “GPC14.” If you feel like spreading the joy online, our hashtag is #greenplateclub. The offer is good through Feb. 7, 2014.

For an inside look into Boston Organics and their philosophy, check out the video portrait below created (coincidentally enough!) by BSC co-founder Igor Kharitonenkov.

A Summer Job: Bootstrap Compost Gets Busy at an Array of Local Events

So much for summer being a time for rest and relaxation. It seemed that as soon as the temperatures really got cooking, Bootstrap did too — serving and/or presenting at several Boston-area events, festivals, marketplaces, and community forums. As a result, we made some new friends and reconnected with old ones, all the while spreading a message of sustainability, waste diversion, and easy tactics for leading a green lifestyle. Here’s a quick rundown of our wildly busy lazy season.

At the first annual Egleston Square Farmers’ Market Summer Kickoff in early June, hundreds of area residents gathered in this nook of Jamaica Plain to scoop up the choicest locally grown produce (including goodies from BSC partner Buckle Farm). It was there we set up several bins to collect compostable material as our neighbors hung out under the sun to enjoy the bounty and live music.

Happy pigs at Buckle Farm make for a happy local food system!

On June 6 we paid a visit to the Roslindale Farmers’ Market, where Andy set up and monitored a pair of BSC cans to capture compostables. With over 20 vendors offering potatoes, pottery and petunias, the Continue reading

Reading, Writing and Compost: Bootstrap Goes Back To School


Kids from the Warren Prescott K-8 prepare soil for their new gardens

With the longer days and the warm weather having finally arrived, it’s safe to say that the students of Boston are getting ready for summer. But before anyone has a chance to chuck their homework, Bootstrap Compost brought its lesson plan of environmental stewardship to several area schools.

Andy chats with the students of Conservatory Lab Charter School

Andy chats with the students of Conservatory Lab Charter School

Kicking things off, Team Bootstrap took a field trip to the Maurice J. Tobin School in Mission Hill (in partnership with a City Year Boston after-school program) where Bootstrap VP Igor Kharitonenkov championed the merits of composting and food scrap diversion to a group of worm-crazy 3rd, 4th and 5th graders.

Our Compost Specialist visits the EC Language School

Our Compost Specialist visits the EC Language School

Reportedly, the kids are still talking about saving their banana peels to feed our army of wigglers. Next, Andy Brooks, Bootstrap president, ventured to the Conservatory Lab Charter School in Brighton, where he addressed the intersection of climate change and healthy soil to a class full of knowledgeable 6th graders. Finally, Compost Specialist Everett Hoffman dropped compost wisdom to a group of international students at the EC Language School. Next up, the United Nations!

Although we at Bootstrap try to impress, it was really the students that directed the conversation. These kids really get it! It’s totally rewarding to hear them echo and support the value of our daily efforts.

Big thanks to the Tobin School and City Year for having us visit

The Tobin School expresses their gratitude for our visit

The Bootstrap crew also made their way to the Warren­ Prescott K-8 School in Charlestown to help students prepare new raised garden beds. We donated 40 pounds of some of Boston’s best black gold to the cause. The vibe was loose and fun as students, teachers and community business reps pitched in to prepare the school’s soil for spring gardening. School is way more awesome than we remember!

Undergrads at Boston College listen to  Bootstrap's take on social entrepreneurship

Undergrads at Boston College listen to Bootstrap’s take on social entrepreneurship

Finally, we delved into the world of higher education, as Igor travelled to Boston College. Speaking to a room full of undergrads, he lectured on the journey of Bootstrap and the significance of social entrepreneurship.

The kids of the Warren­Prescott K-8 School and Igor dig in to the fresh soil

Warren Prescott kids “dig” soil

And while school may be winding down, here at Bootstrap HQ we’re plotting our summer schedule with further educational opportunities at new venues. (Spoiler alert: Farmers’ markets). Stay tuned through Facebook.