Big (Green) Deal: TILT Event Educates Children on Compost

Originally written for the Watertown Daily Times by Amanda Taylor, who covered TILT’s (Com)Post-Halloween event at Zenda Farm Preserve over the weekend.

Christopher A. Nevala, 7, smashes leftover Halloween pumpkins with a mallet during the (Com)Post Halloween event at Zenda Farms in Clayton on Saturday afternoon. Photo by Amanda Morrison for the Watertown Daily Times.

TILT Event Educates Children on Compost

CLAYTON — Creating a manageable compost heap is not as difficult as many may believe.

“It’s quite simple and should not be intimidating to anyone,” Corinne M. Mockler said.

Ms. Mockler is the coordinator of education and outreach for the Thousand Islands Land Trust. The group organized a (Com)post Halloween on Saturday to educate children and their families on maintaining a compost heap.

“A lot of families have gardens, but we’re not sure how much kids are involved in the gardening or if they are aware of the fact that anything can be composted,” Ms. Mockler said.

People were invited to bring their leftover pumpkins and jack-o’-lanterns to Zenda Farms at 38973 Zenda Road and smash them up in a wooden box with a shovel. The pumpkin pieces were combined with old leaves to create compost that will be used in the spring on TILT’s Community Garden.

“Who can resist? You get rid of grass, old jack-o’-lanterns and kids get to go around and smash stuff,” she said.

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GRE(v)EN(ts): (Com)Post-Halloween November 10th with TILT


(Com)Post-Halloween is based on an annual event my Permaculture teacher, Claudia Joseph, hosts at the Old Stone House in Brooklyn. This will be my first time hosting it through TILT and in this community, but based on what I’ve heard so far, the buzz is abuzz and I should expect a good turnout. I mean, kids get to smash pumpkins into pulp and parents get rid of the rotting Jack-o-lanterns from their front porches – everybody wins!


Spotlight On: North Country Community Gardens

In a 2010 article from North Country Public Radio on Zenda Farm’s community garden, the benefits of such gardens is described perfectly: “The Community Garden Initiative brings neighbors together and empowers them to supplement their food supply by growing healthy and nutritious food themselves.  Community gardening stimulates social interaction, encourages self-reliance, truly beautifies neighborhoods and produces nutritious foods, while reducing family food budgets.  Also, the community is connected to the source from which their food originates, fostering a sense of trust and collaboration among the participating residents.”

A more recent article from the Trust for Public Land, has farmer Jen Smith elaborating: “It’s so important that people have the option to get food locally,” says Jen. “One can see, from looking at the current food system, that it’s just not sustainable to truck and transport food. There’s real strength in having local agriculture in cities and towns…We want to offer super-fresh local produce, but also a place to see your neighbors, a place for kids to camp, run through a field, and watch a carrot come out of the ground—places like this are hard to come by these days.”

Naturally, Zenda (pictured above) is the first community garden I’ll mention, the farm being a TILT preserve, but other established, and fledgling, community gardens are available in the North Country as well:

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GRE(v)EN(ts): Tommorow! Plant Trees with TILT for Arbor Day

Plant Trees on Arbor Day in memory of Michael Mead with the Thousand Islands Land Trust

9am – 1pm at Zenda Farm Preserve (map)

Celebrate our national holiday in honor of trees by planting some at the Zenda Farm Preserve. Bring work gloves and tools and we’ll get our hands dirty, as we beautify the neighborhood…, provide new habitat for wildlife…, help pull carbon out of the air…, and give back to the community.

This year, we are also planting trees in memory of Michael Mead, a TILT founder and trustee. If you’d like to make a donation to the tree planting in memory of Michael, please click here, and mention Michael in the “Memory” box.

Join your friends and neighbors for a great community effort!  Please sign up at the TILT website.