Nevada County Juvenile Hall’s Black Gold Project powered by community collaboration |

Nevada County Juvenile Hall’s Black Gold Project powered by community collaboration

In 2013, the Nevada County Juvenile Hall started its “Black Gold” composting project, which uses food scraps from the facility to make compost for the facility’s garden.

The program is estimated to save as much as $200 per year on soil additives (future yields are expected to increase) and provides fresh fruit and vegetables for the cafeteria, according to a weekly memo from Nevada County CEO Rick Haffey’s office.

The program is run by the cooks for the Juvenile Hall, Jessika Rosenkild and Lynn Slay. However, the kids are responsible for operating and maintaining the facility’s on-site garden and orchard. The program provides a great learning opportunity, produces Nevada County Fair award winning produce, and has significant environmental benefits.

The program processes approximately 40-60 pounds of food waste per week. The food scraps are combined with yard trimmings, leaves from the orchard, shredded recycled paper/cardboard and coffee grounds from Starbucks and Rood Center Cafeteria. All of this material is diverted from the local transfer station and ultimately from the landfill. In Nevada County approximately 30 percent of the waste stream is food waste, so small programs like this make a difference, the memo states.

The bins and raised gardening beds were constructed by the youth at the facility with materials purchased through a grant from the Western Growers Association. Additionally, the program gets support from a number of local business and organizations, including: Nevada City Lions Club, Nevada County Master Gardeners, Weiss Bros Nursery, Hills Flat Lumber, Crown Tree, DOT, A to Z, as well as training and tips from local gardeners.

If you’d like to learn more about this program, visit their display in the Rood Center Lobby. For guidance on how to start your own composting program there are a number of resources available through the UC Master Gardeners of Nevada County.

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