Green America: Growing the Green Economy for People and the Planet

CERO Cooperative
Boston, MA

CERO Cooperative turns trash into treasure in Boston. Every week we collect tons of food scraps from local grocery stores and restaurants and, instead of that stuff turning to toxic methane gas in landfills, we make sure it’s turned into rich compost. Then we deliver it back to the community where it is re-earthed to grow more food in gardens and farms. Last season’s food “waste” comes back to our tables as this year’s local crops.

Last summer we had a big party right in the bustling urban center of Boston’s Dudley Square. Folks walked and bike-toured less than a mile to see how CERO Co-op collects material and gets the composted soil over to the Haley House Thornton Street Farm. Then everybody helped harvest eggplant, peppers, and basil and brought the veggies back to Dudley Dough, where we had a giant pizza party with toppings courtesy of the farm. Of course there wasn’t any waste because all of the leftover scraps went right into CERO’s compost bins. This full food loop is the greenest part of growing a robust economy in the heart of the city.

Imagine a cooperative urban economy where we don’t export waste and we don’t import food. Not only are we doing the right thing for the environment and the planet, we’re showing that it’s possible to create a new circular economy based on closing the food loop. We’re creating good jobs and a cooperative composting community with a business owned by the workers, right where we live.

 

The whole community got into this movement to grow local food and jobs by putting their money with their values to invest in the CERO start up. Friends and neighbors helped worker-owners raise the cash to finance their cooperative social venture and now they share in the pride as they see us retrieving compostables and delivering soil in the neighborhood. Together we’re learning that we really can make a profit when we put people and the planet first.

In our urban neighborhoods most folks can’t set up to compost in their own backyards. When you vote for CERO to win the Green People and Planet Business Award we will use the prize money to set up community compost drop off sites at local farmers’ markets. When we make it easy for families to compost their household food scraps we take another step toward helping all Boston residents make the culture shift to be a super-green zero waste city.

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