Beautiful flowers and plants, and 265 bags of the City’s finest compost provided by the Department of Sanitation, were waiting to be picked up at Assemblywoman Jaime Williams 59th AD Annual Compost Giveaway on Sunday at the Marine Park parking lot, 3226 Avenue U.
“I came from Bensonhurst to get some of this beautiful compost,” Sonia Valentin said. She learned of the event from State Senator Andrew Gounardes’ social media posting and was so excited that she was one of the first to arrive at the 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. event to make sure she got her free bag of compost.
Like many others on the growing line, she also picked up one of the free flowering plants, entered a free raffle and took a copy of the calendar of upcoming events at the park from the Marine Park Alliance table.
When asked what she plans to do with the compost, Valentin told the Canarsie Courier that she mixes it with her regular soil and plants flowers and vegetables in it. She grows her plants in pots using natural methods that are free of pesticides and likes to use household items like used coffee grounds, eggshells and other organic materials to fertilize her soil. Her knowledge stems from her roots in Puerto Rico where her parents lived off the land and her grandmother had a farm.
“An important thing I do is I teach my granddaughter how to live off the land and grow things from the seed all the way up,” Valentin said. “She doesn’t like vegetables, but this summer, I told her we’re going to plant vegetables and you’re going to see them grow.”
Each 40-pound bag of compost is made from New York City foods, scraps and yard waste that are processed in Staten Island.
“People are coming from throughout the community,” Williams said. “For this particular event, you don’t really have to live in the district.”
She said that she has been doing the compost giveaway for about five years and that the entire district is residential so everyone can benefit from these events.
Co-sponsors include Gold Sponsor Senator Gounardes, NYC Department of Sanitation, NYC Parks Department, Marine Park Alliance, Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy and Millennium Development.
“This is the season where everybody is prepping their beds and getting their stuff together for planting,” Williams said. “It’s also good for the environment.”