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Cork soil

Quick facts

Located in Cork, Ireland

Involved in community- scale composting

Focused  on:  bio- diversity,  circular conomy, education, urban agriculture

SDGs impacted by the companies’ activities:  9 ,  11 ,  12 ,  13 ,  14 ,  15

Cork Urban Soil Project ( CUSP) is a non for profit organization with the aim to model new ways of addressing the city’ s waste stream and support food sovereignty. CUPS is currently running an experiment in circular waste system that compost urban food scraps and use the resulting soil for three planting initiatives and local food growing in the middle of the city of Cork.

How does the organization address societal challenges in an innovative way?

Cork Urban Soil Project is changing the way society sees waste, from a pollutant to a resource. During a working day in a farmer’ s market in Cork city they developed  CUPS’  Vision:  “ It’ s  Compossible” which involves questions such us “ What if the words waste, rubbish and trash did not exist? Imagine a  language without the idea of ‘ throwing away’. Can you look at a takeaway box or an apple core and see a resource?”. The Urban Soil Project replicates the patterns and relationships of nature, using modern technology and the spirit of the meitheal and attempts to model ways for Cork City and its communities to create a more sustainable, green, and respectful future.

CUPS works with a small composting machine ( a Joraform aerobic biodigester) and My Goodness, a strong ecologically minded community food company which produces weekly a large amount of food scraps from its meal production. Weekly, CUPS collects and brings all My Goodess’ s food waste ( and compostable packaging) to the biodigester, where during the process, it’ s then shredded and broken down by microbes. After 4 weeks, a soil substrate is produced. This substrate is cured for a certain amount of time and is then used in the CUSP microfarm, closing the nutrient cycle within the community from which it came from.

The impact of CUPS’ project is impressive. 10, 200 are the chilograms of food waste diverted, toghether with 8000kg of cardboard and 6000 litres of soil produced.

What societal benefit does the organization create?

Thanks to the project, CUPS offers training programs around composting and can  employ a small team of people. In April 2022 , CUPS hosted a lecture about composting with Donal O’ Leary, composter at CUSP and owner of Waste Down environmental consultancy. During the informative lesson various myths and tricks about home composting have been shared.Different people participated, from complete beginners to more experienced. Everyone can give composting a go, it’ s a great way to reduce our food waste and play a part in creating a healthier ecosystem. This is what Donal O’ Leary believes and teach the participants.

What makes the organization particularly interesting as an example?

CUPS is definitely an interesting project for the way they rethink the fate of their waste. The process is not revolutionary but regenerative. The Urban Soil Project is attempting to replicate the patterns and relationships of nature, using modern technology and the spirit of the team, to help Cork City and its communities create a more sustainable, green, prolific, and respectful future.

This project is the f irst of its kind in Ireland and their idea to convert food waste in Cork City to high- quality

compost/ bioenergy to then grow nutritious food, support tree planting, reduce f looding impacts and erosion, improve water quality, and to remediate polluted soils is a great example that could, ideally, implemented in each city in Ireland.

What new urban trades are created in the project?

Community educators, production manager, administration, urban farmers/ farm hands, installations manager, horticulture specialists, canvassers for markets and events.

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