The Hobsonville Community Composting Hub is one of two pilot hubs being run in Auckland by the Compost Collective. The second one can be found at the EcoMatters Organic Teaching Garden in New Lynn. The idea behind them is to enable everyone to do their bit and compost, whether they have the physical garden space or not. The pilot hubs are there to see how we can meet the needs of local communities, and educate others who would like to set up a similar site in their areas. Judith Rosamund, Teaching Garden Coordinator at Kaipātiki Project, looks after the Hobsonville Point hub, and we’ve asked her to tell us all about it.

What is the Hobsonville Community Composting Hub?
It is a place where the local community can drop off their Bokashi food scraps, and we turn it into nutrient-rich compost.We’re enabling and encouraging people to divert their food scraps away from landfill, and instead use it to increase the fertility of local soil. We also want people to understand that our food scraps are a valuable resource that is wasted when sent to landfill.

Once a week we empty the Bokashi drop off bin and put them through our hot composters to make compost, a process that takes 3-4 months. All the compost is going to the community gardens and nourishes native plants at our nursery.

Bokashi is a great system for busy people who live in small spaces – it essentially pickles the food scraps allowing them to be stored for longer without going rotten, meaning people can drop off less frequently.

Our goal is to have a fully functional community composting site, where local residents can be a part of the solution and learn about soil regenerative processes, as well as being a showcase site to inspire and educate those who want to run their own Community Composting Hub.

How have you grown?
We started with four large hot composters in June 2020, and ran an initial trial with only ten members. This allowed us to iron out any problems and fine tune the system. Since then we have made positive progress composting over two tonnes of food scraps and we now have 36 members. We’re looking at 100 households at full capacity, and we are now ready to make this happen. We’d like to be able to have more members, but the space we have limits this. On the upside, we are well-established now and able to share our knowledge with other people who wish to get a community composting site up and running.

What have you learnt to pass on?
People want to do Bokashi. Many have done it before but have stopped due to lack of garden space to bury it. Community Composting Hubs like ours enable those people to get back on their journey as the hub provides a space in their neighbourhood where they can empty Bokashi buckets. They also reap the benefits of beautiful living compost, as well as feeling good for being part of regenerating the soil, drawing down Carbon and helping address Climate Change.

We also have been a learning platform for a number of different community groups, the most recent was in May for Albany Senior High School students. They visited us as part of their Sustainability project to learn about composting and get a little bit of hands-on practice. We also run Bokashi composting workshops from the hub to teach people the basics and show how easy it can be.

What more do you think can be done to encourage others to compost?
Increase the number of educational platforms around all communities to teach people how to compost, and explaining that food scraps when put in a rubbish bin, or down the insinkerator, do not make compost. Instead they end up in landfill and create leachate, and gases – methane and carbon dioxide, both are greenhouse gases which are contributing to Climate Change

What would you say for those who just started composting or are thinking about it?
Composting our food scraps is one of the most important things each of us can be doing at our homes or in our community to protect the environment and build healthy soil to feed and establish a healthy community. Find a Compost Collective workshop in your community and head along to it to find out what method of composting best suits you, and just get started.

More information:
To become a member of the Hobsonville Point Community Hub, email gardenhub@kaipatiki.org.nz. Membership is free once you have completed a Bokashi workshop. Free Compost Collective workshops are regularly hosted at our hub to ensure that everyone knows how to Bokashi correctly. Once you are a member you can empty your Bokashi food scraps into our drop off bin at any time that suits you.

If you want to know more about starting your own community hub, come and chat to us, or check out the Compost Collective website. You will also find upcoming composting workshops all around Auckland listed here.

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