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Cause Area

  • Children & Youth
  • Community
  • Education & Literacy
  • Environment
  • Hunger


179 Rivington StreetNEW YORK, NY 10002 United States

Organization Information

Mission Statement

We seek to reduce the organic waste misdirected into the garbage stream by encouraging neighbor participation and leadership in composting. We see that: There is one soil, one air, and one water, all commonly held and stewarded by one people, the nurturance of which is critical to a verdant world. Organic waste should not be part of modern landfills because the waste of any process is food for other processes. Transportation of waste far beyond the source unnecessarily despoils the soil, air, and water. Society needs to alter the way waste is treated as part of an integrated, long term solution to food, climate, and energy issues. The power to manifest global social change lies within each of us. The challenge to take action rests on our shoulders.


Earth Matter began in 2009 to address the dual problems of resource recovery and healthy soils with a single solution: promote local composting of organic waste into healthy soil amendment. The three founders, two of whom still lead EM, first worked together on the Brooklyn-Queens Land Trust’s healthy soils initiative (2007-08), which evaluated soil in 34 community gardens and promoted remediation with organic soil amendment. Concurrently, they helped lead the Fort Greene Compost Project (2005-10), a volunteer effort to capture residential food waste for composting in local gardens. Over 10 years later, Earth Matter is based on Governors Island where we operate: 1) a DSNY-funded NYC Compost Learning Center that processes tons of organic material from GrowNYC markets; 2) Soil Start Farm, where apprentices and interns learn urban agriculture; 3) The Lavender Field that offers an oasis for people to relax and Governors Island’s honey bees a pollinator habitat in the face of climate change stress; and 4) Zero Waste Island, a joint initiative with the Trust for Governors Island that aims to reduce the island’s organic waste, vendor serviceware, kitchen scraps, and landscaping cleanup waste to zero while creating compost for the island and NYC. In 2020, with rising food insecurity due to COVID-19, EM provided locally grown vegetables to Catholic Worker St. Joseph and Mary Houses on the Lower Eastside.


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