Resources / Rhode Island Stories

Groundwork RI

The Challenge

Many people understand the amazing impact composting has on the environment and are interested in getting started, but backyard solutions can be confusing and require a lot of work.   

The Approach

Groundwork RI’s composting program treats scraps like a valuable resource that is to be processed and utilized within the community, rather than waste to be taken away and disposed of. They are working to shift consciousness around composting – ensuring that people understand the incredible benefits and know that it is easy to do.

By The Numbers

  • Number of households served: 583
  • Number of food scraps collected annually: 152,000 lbs
  • Number of low-income families (SNAP recipients) provided with free services: 56 families
  • Number of students employed by the youth employment program: 12

Transform Wasted Food into a Community Resource

This program enables residents of Providence, Rhode Island to transform their food scraps into nutrient-rich compost instead of sending them to the landfill.

Program Description

Groundwork RI aims to build healthier, more resilient, and more equitable urban communities through environmental sustainability and economic opportunity. One way they do this is by collecting food scraps and creating compost to be used by urban growers in the community through their Harvest Cycle Compost program. They have a variety of other programs supporting urban communities such as a youth “Green Team”, Adult Job Training, and a landscaping program. 

Their Harvest Cycle Compost program is helping urban communities incorporate more sustainable practices into their everyday lives. They aim to increase economic and environmental stability by providing youth and adult employment, collecting food scraps, and lowering possible car emissions. Although most programs of this nature charge fees to pick up and drop off, the harvest cycle is proud to provide drop-off free of charge for low-income SNAP recipients in an effort to remove financial barriers to sustainable practices.

Future Plans

Groundwork RI is in the process of building a new composting facility – the West End Compost Hub – where they will create significantly more high-quality compost that can be used to grow food and rejuvenate urban soils.  It will also create economic and educational opportunities through job training and workshops for all ages to encourage urban and environmental stewardship.

This story was prepared by Lorraine Quintero.