Greening Garbage

Activist Turns City Food Waste into Rural Soil

Jeremy Brosowsky had an epiphany at a Milwaukee, Wisconsin, greenhouse a few years ago that set him on a more sustainable path: “What if we could take our garbage and grow food in it?” He was in the Midwest to learn about urban agriculture at Growing Power, the pioneering urban farm of McArthur Genius Fellow Will Allen, and was considering starting a rooftop agriculture business. Allen’s emphasis on the importance and elusiveness of fertile soil intrigued him.

“If you don’t dramatically improve the soil, you cannot grow food in cities,” Brosowsky realized. His solution was to create Compost Cab (, a Washington, D.C.-based service that picks up and delivers urban food waste to local farms for composting. Nearly 100 cities already divert food waste from landfills, but Brosowsky emphasizes, “Composting is not just about waste reduction. It’s about food production, education, jobs and creating social benefits.” He hopes to roll out Compost Cabs in other cities.

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