On the 6th of November the newpaper dnevnik published an article about Food For the Earth. Read the article in Bulgarian here.
Neighborhood you like
For nearly a week there are some billboards on Sofia streets from where an affably woman is smiling and a composter can be seen at the background. Through that approach of smiling Irena Sabeva achieved most things in life, and this is obviously profitable. The billboard campaign is the award for Irena and for all members from the Association for sustainable practices, “Our neighborhood” for their neighborhood composting project.
This community initiative is a national winner in the European Commission Contest “A world you like, with a climate you like.” But in practice its implementation steps are made in four consecutive Sundays in “Knyajevo” neighborhood.
It’s mainly for sturdy physical work with a shovel, hoe, rake and garden secateurs. At the beginning of the week the three Irena’s children circulated in neighborhood mailboxes polite invitations for inclusion in the activities.
Compost area “Kniajevo”
On the corner of “Mecha Polyana” (near Panoramen Road), where she lives, Irena and several volunteers, neighbors and their children, built up gradually 40 sq compost area for garden and kitchen vegetable waste, which will benefit everyone in the neighborhood. An excellent example of how a collective effort can prevent the disposal of biodegradable waste and use them for their own purposes. And this waste is at least 40% of the “garbage”, which is one of the reasons for the formation of greenhouse gases.
“Here each of us has the opportunity to participate directly in the natural process of converting garden waste in an eco-fertilizer with which to maintain green areas, and there will be enough for anyone who needs a fertilizer for their garden”, says Irena with her radiant smile. We are walking around the site. We find that freshly planted the day before the infront the composter area hydrangeas are broken. We wonder who could have done this. Days later, Irena realized that the culprits were goats, which usually go there. “I hope the goatherd led them on other paths,” she wrote me no other comments on the case.
Their project is not just about compost area. The idea is close to it to be delineateed some pleasant places where people can relax, meet and communicate, children to play – with each other and with nature. So cleaning the ravine of the river that descends from Vitosha mountain, cultivate green spaces, restoring small forest trails and build a safe forest playground with a sandbox in the park “Knyazhevska Forest” – theese are other important things that are happening there gradually.
While Irena was telling me this things, a man with a dog came right up on the purified forest paths, approaching to the sandstone and saw daisies planted in the shape of a heart. Gasped appreciatively of the change around.
It’s all part of the project “Living together” which was developed by the Association and approved for implementation by the Sofia Municipality under the program “Green Sofia” 2013. The project’s name speaks for itself and reminds something essential that for a long time and severely lacking in our neighborhoods.
On an area of 3 acres volunteers mainly prune shrubs, cleaned of weeds and stones, and piles of construction waste into the ravine, many of which “were planted deep in the ground.” With this latest action we even succeeded to liberate the natural course of the river. Hoeing and planting (in season) flowers and other suitable vegetation. There are already hundreds of planted shrubs and 400 tulips, 200 daffodils, many carnations and daisies, and 180 shrubs that form a “bed” for “River of the Flowers.” So far, some of the seeds and seedlings were stocked in the yard of Irena`s family, who has consulted for color selection with a landscape architect. Municipal finance is 90% of the materials and flower bulbs, shrubs, trees, pergola and benches, but the labor is voluntary.
During the last campaign volunteers received spontaneous support from the owner of the store from where they buy construction materials for compost area. “Having realized that doing something voluntarily, he said:” I can not believe someone makes such things. Then, the construction of the door of the composter will be free, and we want to help in this good initiative.” People was stopping their cars and visibly enjoyed the change we’ve seen. A man advised volunteers to employ guards to protect “that good thing, because vandals live here.”
The municipality has promised to deliver colored containers for separate disposal. They intend to procure a shredder which fit perfectly in use in this type of neighborhood, explains Irena to me, near by the pile of branches, which the municipality has promised to transport out.
So far, at the site there are two wooden benches, stiff from a fallen tree, and will be set more. Around the compost area is planted evergreen hedge of Ligustrum, which will provide fast decomposition of organic waste.
“Our neighborhood” is going to be prettier
“Our neighborhood” is beautifying with the general voluntary efforts of all of us, wrote in the recent invitations to neighbors and friends Irena, and to the question of why we do all this she said, “We want to create something beautiful with a tangible effect on improving life in the community and put into practice a better relationship with nature around us. We believe that this will help us to learn to live together again. ”
This weekend we took a walk with my children into the cleansed forest. After a long play in the sandbox we went down to the little river. With a smile we found traces of volunteers – a small bridge have built there and we could see prints of hands on it of all participants in the project.
Details and photos of the project for composting read in the blog Food for the Earth.
Association for Sustainable Practices “Our neighborhood” is currently seeking funding to continue the project “Food of the Earth” in order to implement it in other neighborhoods in Sofia.