Tag Archives: Jamaica Plain

Ringing in Spring with Compost Week!

After months of collecting and composting food scraps through rain, snow, and sun-deprivation, we were thrilled to announce our spring edition of Compost Week! — our seasonal distribution of finished compost back to the community. Between April 4th and 15th, a six-pound share of our black gold (hand-sifted and mixed) made its way to your stoop, with hopes of boosting the health and yield of your houseplant, raised bed, or garden plot. And modesty be damned, this batch of finished compost is likely our best yet — dark, moist, and fluffy. It’s truly Boot-iful. And we’re hoping your flora feel the same way. So how did we do?

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Largely hidden from public view since 2011, Buckethead reappears to spread soil for the soul.

As we salute our largest Compost Week! effort ever, we take pride in its monumental impact: the distribution of a whopping two and a half tons (5,144 lbs) of compost back to the Greater Boston community (a feat only made possible by the hardworking, hard-core individuals that make up Team Bootstrap). Let’s break it down, town by town…

The fertile soils of Jamaica Plain will rejoice, as our founding neighborhood stayed true to its green roots and pulled in a healthy share of 1,190 lbs of compost. Across the river, the Fluffernutter-loving people of Somerville weren’t far behind, amassing 1,012 lbs of compost. Up third, Cambridge collected 380 lbs of black gold, amounting to a treasure of growing power for The People’s Republic. Capturing fourth and fifth place, respectively, were Brookline with 334 lbs of soil amendment received and Arlington, which took in nearly 200 pounds. The remaining 2,032 pounds were hand delivered across the Hub, from Malden to Quincy, Southie to Wellesley, and everywhere in between. Big shout to each and every one of you making good use of your soil amendment. As a quick tip, remember that a ¼” of compost on top of your soil will help your plants retain moisture and nutrients. If you’re mixing soil and compost, a ratio of 3 parts soil to 1 part compost is ideal. Stay tuned for a series of blog posts and Tweets that will provide additional gardening info and tips.

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Six pounds of black gold spotted in Cambridgeport.

Lastly, we’d like to highlight the gardens and organizations that took part in our donation program, while thanking our residential clients who elected to have their share donated. This year’s crop of donation recipients includes Glen Park Community Garden in East Somerville (which will put 90 pounds of Bootstrap compost to use) and the Cambridge Community Center garden and Malden Community Garden, both of which received 60 pounds. Our donation program is first-come, first-served — so give us a holler if you have any compost needs for your school, community garden, or organization.

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In total, 858 containers of compost were signed, sealed and delivered, courtesy of Jacob & co.

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Client Q&A: Zachary Patten

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

Last week we gave a melancholy farewell to one of our long-time supporters, Zak Patten, as he packs his bags and moves out of the area. A Northeastern University graduate and marketing professional, Zak is a true Bootstrap OG, having been with us for almost our entire run of 5 years. Zak started Bootstrap services on March 7, 2011, just three months into our founding. Those were primitive times, back when we had about 40 clients (that’s roughly 1360 fewer than we have today), with only Andy to run the show with a bike and trailer. Given his commitment to composting and Bootstrap, we thought it would be fitting to sit down with Mr. Patten for a quick Q&A.

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How did you hear about us?
I don’t remember, but I might just have googled “compost pickup.”

Why did you sign up for Bootstrap?
I wanted to reduce my environmental impact in a variety of ways and this seemed like a solution that had multiple benefits.

In what other ways do you recycle, conserve and stay environmentally sound?
I recycle as much as possible and use public transportation when possible.

Do you have children? If so, are they apart of the composting process? If not, do you have
roommates? Have you influenced others to compost? (Roommates, family members, neighbors, etc.)
Yes, two children. They are helpful in dumping their leftovers into the bin. I have also told lots of friends about Bootstrap whenever composting has come up. They always think it’s a great idea.

How have you enjoyed the service?
It’s a great service, very convenient, especially with automatic payment set up.

Wake Up to Compost: an Introduction

By Lucy Dilworth

lucy headshotHi everyone! I wanted to formally introduce myself as the newest addition to the Bootstrap community. My name is Lucy and I’m a fresh faced blogger from Maine who recently planted roots in the big city. I graduated last spring from Miami University in Ohio where I studied creative writing. Post-graduation, I indulged in my wanderlust and traveled to the opposite side of the world where I lived with an array of fascinating individuals, including a citrus farmer and a taxidermist. At one point, I found myself composting New Zealand soil with the locals! Despite my ever-changing scenery, I’m grateful to now be in a city where I have the opportunity to be educated on urban composting and pass my knowledge onto others.

Although it’s been awesome to see residential and commercial food scrap collections in an urban setting, I was even more astounded when I saw a composting bin at my 86-year-old grandmother’s house a few weeks ago in Manchester-By-The-Sea. In terms of my own awareness of composting, it’s been very limited until recently. During college, I lived with seven other girls. We certainly produced enough organic waste to compost. Sadly, our priorities lay within what we were going to wear out on the weekends rather than learning to recycle and reuse. When I saw my grandmother’s composting bin, I knew that I was way late to the game. Most people don’t compost because they don’t know how to or why it’s beneficial, which is a category I am guilty of falling into. However, with my new gig at Bootstrap and all the resources I have access to here and online, I can now start to learn about more sustainable practices at home and beyond. And composting? I guess it’s so easy my grandma can do it.

WUTE sponsorSpeaking of revelations, last month I worked my first Bootstrap event at the Wake Up the Earth Festival while also entering Jamaica Plain territory for the first time (or JP as the cool kids say). The festival was a perfect exposure to one of the communities I’ll be working with and an alternative and educational way to spend my Saturday afternoon. It was also the perfect place for anyone trying to get over their agoraphobia. It was a humbling, yet successful experience considering I ran out of flyers within the first hour and one of my managers mistook me for an eager client with inappropriate personal space as I stood with him behind the Bootstrap table. On a positive note, Continue reading

The Quick and Dirty: The Story of Greater Boston’s Food Scrap Go-Getters

The early days: Andy and the USS Bootstrap (via Boston Globe)

The early days: Andy and the USS Bootstrap in 2011

Jobless in the midst of a severely depressed economy, Andy Brooks launched Bootstrap Compost in January 2011 as a means to a paycheck. Equipped with a hand truck, a T-pass, flyers and a desire for meaningful work, Andy began collecting the food scraps of a few subscribers in his Jamaica Plain neighborhood, processing the organics in his backyard. When the DailyCandy, a popular cultural blog in Boston, caught wind of his composting business, the response was nothing short of bananas.

Keeping it green: Upcycled and homemade

Bootstrap Compost keeping it green with upcycled and hand made business cards

Flash forward five months: Igor Kharitonenkov, an up and coming multi-media producer (and coincidentally, an unemployed one), created a video short about Bootstrap. Igor was interested in profiling and promoting sustainable businesses through new media. Impressed with his work, Andy hired Igor to help with marketing and administrative tasks. At this point, the company was serving 101 subscribers and had forged a partnership with a local farm, eager to make use of the nitrogen-rich scraps.


Flash forward one year:
Bootstrap had grown to 250 subscribers, matching the gray hairs suddenly appearing on Andy’s head. To add to the workload, the company was selected as a finalist for
MassChallenge 2012, an internationally renowned 4-month long start-up incubator. Help was needed Continue reading