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The Sustainability Initiative at the Denver Rescue Mission

Last year, I began a project on nutritional literacy for those in lower socio-economic standing because access to healthy food is a human right. This year's project looked at creating a holistic healthy lifestyle – by integrating composting into the sustainable food cycle. I partnered with the Denver Rescue Mission (DRM) to repurpose their food scraps for healthy soil by composting. Scraps, a large-scale composting initiative in Denver, picks up 100 pounds of compost twice a week from the Mission. With the help of the Ace Grant Scholarship, this process will be carried out for 10 months, accumulating to 4,000 pounds of food scraps directed away from landfills and use to better the soil. Initial plans were to then use compost to support a community garden at the DRM; however, the current COVID-19 pandemic has inhibited that. The focus has changed to emphasize education about composting and also analyzing the amount of food waste diverted into the compost. Currently, DRM depends completely on donations for food, but this project sets the foundation for a self-sufficient system. It will eventually allow DRM patrons to contribute to keeping themselves and their community nourished.

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