The Moffat Street Community Garden, located at 9 Moffat St., is now a food scrap drop-off and composting site. The gates are open on Saturdays from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. until December 11, when it closes for the winter season.

Though founded in 2016, the garden experienced a period of dormancy, especially after the initial Covid-19 lockdown, according to Debbie Holloway, a Moffat Street Community Garden member. A core group of people kept an eye on the garden during the time when it wasn’t open to the public. 

“We’re small. We have a small membership, but we’re hoping to grow over the next few years and let more people know that we’re here ‘cause we’re easy to miss. We’re such a tiny little slice of a garden,” Holloway told Bushwick Daily. “We’re mostly on the side of raising awareness right now, to get people thinking about composting. It might be a slow start, but it’s worth a try.”

Now an official GreenThumb city garden, Moffat Street Community Garden is flourishing, despite the cold weather, with raised private and communal garden beds sprouting eggplant, peppers, tomatoes and kale, among other vegetation. 

A back view of the Moffat Street Community Garden. 

Vanessa Ventola from GreenThumb reached out to the garden members to ask if they wanted it to be a compost drop-off post and, according to Holloway, GreenThumb now visits once a week to swap the full larger compost bin for an empty one. Residents can bring food and veggie scraps, tea bags, coffee grinds or anything that is considered organic waste and can break down. However, because the composting site is small, the Moffat Street Community Garden cannot take bones, cheese, meat, dairy or BPI-certified compostable products.  

For Mike Pate, another Moffat Street Community Garden member, the garden is an exciting opportunity to network with other people in the neighborhood, including with the senior centers in the area such as the Moffat Gardens senior apartment complex across the street. 

“During the initial Covid lockdown, I was just walking past this space because I just moved into the neighborhood. It was on my mind . . . and once people started coming out this past spring in 2021, there were people in the garden and I was like ‘Hey, I’m a neighbor! What’s going on?’ It was a decent way to start to get to know your neighbors,” Pate said.

According to Pate, the Moffat Street Community Garden group connected with other local community gardens, such as the Phoenix Community Garden located at 2037 Fulton St. and the Halsey Community Farm located at 462 Halsey St., among others, to exchange ideas. 

“When your gates are open, you never know who’s going to come in! It’s very rare that I’m here and not anyone says’ Hey what’s going on?’ It’s just about being present and the gate being open,” Pate told Bushwick Daily. “Community gardens are a great way to learn how to grow your own food, but it’s so much more than that. It’s a great starting point to meet people with ideas in anything . . . In fact, a community garden might be the new coffeehouses, where the ideas come.”

Mike Pate and Debbie Holloway in front of the kale and arugula garden bed which are faring well in the cold. 

Currently, garden members are discussing possible workshops for the upcoming spring season, working towards having more garden open hours aside from the Saturday time slot, and plan on rebuilding some tables and benches once a new lumber shipment from GreenThumb comes in the spring. 

Holloway also mentioned having a more concrete schedule for food drop-off at the Bushwick Community Fridge outside Little Skips East at 1643 Broadway, and, according to Pate, members are also looking to attend city classes to better understand how to get funding from the city. 

“When I started composting, I don’t think I realized how much I threw away that I actually didn’t have to throw away in the trash. I have been composting since 2014 and I take out the garbage so infrequently,” said Holloway. “It’s been such a life change and it’s super fun to be able to stick most of your trash for the week in the freezer and walk it over to the garden once a week and know it’s going to become dirt to grow more food for someone to eat.”

The Moffat Street Community Garden is always looking for volunteers. You can message the garden on Instagram, and members can join an email list and WhatsApp group.

And for those who want to continue composting throughout the winter, this article lists a few year-round composting drop-off sites in the neighborhood.

Images provided by Allie Iliana Herrera

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