Compost for Brooklyn is entirely run by volunteers.
Information about our new leadership team is coming soon!
Margaret grew up on homegrown veggies that were nourished by her family’s compost bin in North Eastern Pennsylvania. For her college pursuits, she moved to Vermont where she also dabbled in organic farming and beekeeping before going back to school to complete her Master’s Degree in Nutrition and Food Science from the University of Vermont. A recent transplant to Brooklyn, Margaret currently teaches nutrition education and healthy cooking classes to youngsters all the way from Coney Island to a farm in Westchester County. She is thrilled to be a part of the Compost for Brooklyn team and is excited to meet her new neighbors.
Originally from suburban Philadelphia, Nancy has lived in Brooklyn for 35 years–25 of those in Kensington. She discovered compost through a class at Brooklyn Botanical Gardens in 1998, and immediately began composting in her backyard. It wasn’t long before she was certified as a Master Composter, and she began volunteering around Brooklyn at different community gardens. Carried away in her enthusiasm for composting, Nancy once accidentally stabbed herself in the foot with a pitchfork! — no broken bones, but she did need a Tetanus shot. Since retiring in 2007 from Interfaith Medical Center, Nancy spends time ice skating, singing in the Kingsborough Musical Society, and studying music (when she’s not in the garden, that is).
Abbe J. Penziner-Bokde can’t remember a life BC (before composting), but is happy to admit that this time last year (i.e., September, 2010), she hadn’t the foggiest idea of what compost–let alone composting–was. Now, she is a master composter. A Pediatrician by day, Abbe sees composting as a concrete way to get young children more involved in making healthy food choices, and in general, sees composting as an amazing process of nature that simply makes sense. Abbe’s slogan: “Compost: Because every living thing deserves a second chance!”xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Louise Bruce, Founder
Louise began Compost for Brooklyn while a member of NYC’s Department of Parks and Recreation’s Green Apple Corps, where she became certified as a master composter. She received her Bachelor of Arts in China and Asia Pacific Studies with a focus on environmental issues from Cornell University and is currently pursuing a Master of Urban Planning at NYU’s Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service.
Eduardo grew up in a small village on a small island. That village being Greenwich Village in downtown Manhattan. Born into a very creative family, he undoubtedly knew he needed to follow his dream to be in the New York City art scene. After graduating from SVA (School of Visual Arts), he eagerly jumped into the design professional by joining the The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Editorial Design Department. While there, he was able to increase his appreciation of art and design then decided to expand his talents by joining other very talented teams at over the next few years to finally become Art Director at ELLE magazine and most recently went “all-digital” by becoming the Design Director of award-wing style and fashion site, Refinery29. While all this was happening, there was a “DREAM” always in mind of the Larios Family — which was to bring to life their father’s visionand create a place where you would be able to enjoy healthy food from their family recipes. In 2007, they did just that, by opening SALUD to rave reviews. A brooklyn-based shop, SALUD is a “Latin-take” on organic food and drinks. SALUD is proud to share their organic scraps for composting with C4B. You can find Eduardo most days at SALUD (http://www.saludnyc.com) or skipping coins across the pond at The Temple of Dendur in The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Emily Osgood, Founding Communications Manager
Emily grew up in Putney, Vermont (population 2,500), where the compost bucket by the kitchen sink was as much of a fixture in the kitchen as the sink itself. She received her bachelor’s in English from Harvard, then worked for a web experience design firm in NYC for several years before returning to school. She is now pursuing her master’s degree in urban planning at NYU Wagner, and she works as a research assistant for NYU’s Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy.
Claude Rosen, Founder
Claude comes from a background in music and mathematics, and he is a performing musician. Composting and community development are new and blossoming passions of his. He also works as a Compost Coordinator for GrowNYC’s Greenpoint Greenmarket. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Piano Performance from The New School. xxxx
Nils is founder and owner of Brooklyn Butcher Blocks, and oversees construction projects at Compost for Brooklyn. He also contributes valuable sawdust from his business, as “browns,” to our compost piles.
While Suzanne has been a longtime urban composter, she recently discovered the depth of her passion when she moved to Brooklyn and collected a half dozen plastic containers of vegetable ends before discovering Compost for Brooklyn. Suzanne is also a writer and writing professor. Her memoir, Locavore in the City, will be published in 2012, with other recent essays and articles appearing in Edible Boston, Edible Buffalo, Culinate.com and New Plains Review among others. You can follow her at www.locavoreinthecity.com and on twitter at @locavoreincity.
Rosy is a longtime Brooklynite, having grown up in Coney Island and now living in Ditmas Park. Composting was not common when Rosy was young, but her mother composted–she could make plants grow from even the tiniest patches of earth. Rosy was often embarrassed to see her mother make her weird compost tea and bury egg shells in the dirt–she wondered why her immigrant family couldn’t buy the “good soil” like everyone else. Now, she recognizes the genius in what her mother was doing, the wisdom of composting, how it honors the soil and all of the ways it supports good eating. And, she would add, “It’s easy, and it doesn’t smell if you do it right!” When Rosy is not in the garden, she is either working as a Public Defender for the Legal Aid Society, or trying to do yoga, reading, cooking, or hanging out in Prospect Park.
Daniel came to Brooklyn from Seattle to pursue his dreams in filmmaking, but that has always taken a back seat to his love for nature. You will often find him standing in the sun, or if you spot a tree (or a plant) amongst skyscrapers, he’ll probably be next to it. And, although he has no experience in composting, he loves to get his hands in the dirt. Now he can’t imagine living any other way. It doesn’t take much to make him happy, but if you happen to catch him on his grumpier side, a bowl of ramen usually does the trick.
Anthony hails from Youngstown, Ohio, and has been in Brooklyn since 2005. He is a New School-trained musician, owns his own record label, and has been with Compost for Brooklyn since meeting Claude Rosen in music school. Anthony began composting outdoors and turning the dirt as a child with his grandmother–an experience which instilled in him a lifelong affinity for composting eggshells. In addition, he sees the digestive tract as an internal compost system, so technically, he is always composting.
Megan is a dedicated transporter of the compost we collect at the Ditmas Park CSA back to the compost garden. She is also known for her brilliance as a baker.
Having lived as nearby as Queens and as far away as Japan, Denise landed in Brooklyn (for the second time) in 2010, with compost on the brain. For years, it had pained her to see so much organic material go to waste that could be used for farming, so as soon as she had the chance to start composting–first in Queens and now with C4B–she jumped at it. A truly dedicated composter, Denise treks her food scraps to the garden by way of public transit. So far, the bags have held up, but she frequently has images of all the goodies spilling onto the subway floor–she is still formulating a disaster cleanup plan, however, should this happen. Disasters aside, Denise encourages people to smell the compost when they visit the garden–she describes it as a wonderful, earthy, almost medicinal smell. It fits, she says, because compost is like medicine for the soil.
Kasia was born in Kalisz, Poland, but her family moved to the States (that is, Queens) in 1990, when she was five. She started composting in June 2010, dropping off scraps while picking up vegetables at the Flatbush CSA. In August, she and her husband Ilya stopped by Compost for Brooklyn for the first time and met Louise and Claude, and have been regulars ever since. She can’t imagine a time when she would ever stop composting. Outside of the garden, Kasia writes the creative prose blog, The Mayor’s Hotel. She is obsessed with the life cycle of objects, and will be launching a new blog on this topic this fall, so stay tuned!
Ilya was born in Moscow, but has lived in Brooklyn since 1992. He and his wife, Kasia, have been composting with Compost for Brooklyn since the summer of 2010. Ilya is a photographer; Better Than the Noise is his blog. Check out his Flickr page for past work, including Compost for Brooklyn photos. During the week you can find Ilya at Roy’s Sheepshead Cycle; the Village Voice called him “Brooklyn’s best bike guru.” He also sears a fierce chicken and brews a tomato soup that holds the winter at bay, and is a general man of wit.
We talk about native plants a lot here at C4B, but, though she is not a plant, Collette Russen is about as native to Brooklyn as you can get! She has lived here all her life–in Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, and Kensington. Her exposure to composting, however, originated in Canada, where her mother was raised on a farm. When she lived upstate for a few years, Collette began composting as a way to reduce the amount of garbage she had to pay to have the town to pick up. She spotted the Compost for Brooklyn garden after moving to 8th street from Avenue C and has been involved ever since. When not composting, she knits (she is currently involved in a knitting competition called Sock Sniper!), cooks, and plays music–and keeps up with the renovation of her house. How does Collette sum up compost? “Compost is Hot! Literally!”
We have Chris’s children to thank for steering her in the direction of Compost for Brooklyn, even though she has only been in New York since September, 2011. Chris spent her first 60 years living, working, and attending school in and around Philadelphia, where, when her daughter was a teenager doing some serious gardening, they spent many hours attending classes at Longwood Gardens and visited every Nature Conservatory in the tri-state area. After Chris moved to Brooklyn, her son forwarded her an email about C4B –he is not an avid composter himself, but is a staunch advocate of community involvement. Some of Chris’s favorite experiences with composting involve the people she meets, either at C4B or on my street when she is “feeding the trees.” She also enjoys talking to the children that visit C4B and introducing them to nature on this elemental level. “If we are very lucky,” she says, “I find some worms for them.”
A musician by night and an adviser at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music by day, Kyle first learned about composting through the Compost for Brooklyn garden. He lives in the neighborhood, and can’t get over the formerly vacant lot’s dramatic transformation into a source of nutrient-rich compost for fertilizing native plants and street trees. He hails from Houston, Texas, but has braved New York winters for eight years now. Nonetheless, on cold days in the garden, you might find Kyle with his hands buried in the steaming compost bins—it’s the best way to keep warm, he says. He just might be on to something!
Liv Yarrow came to Brooklyn from Minnesota via a decade in England. Her family has had a compost pit as long as she can remember. She loves how driving the compost cart brings her affinity for cooking and gardening full ‘cycle’. When she’s not on her bike, she can be found researching and teaching all things Roman History at Brooklyn College. Did you know that Roman agricultural writers recommended legumes as the basis for soil-enriching compost?