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Geneva city, town join forces to battle food waste

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  • Staff Report 

The town and city of Geneva will receive a $149,000 grant for sustainability efforts, primarily focusing on food waste diversion. The grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Compost and Food Waste Reduction program, which has allocated $9.4 million to 45 cooperative agreements across the country. The funding comes from the American Rescue Plan Act.

The Geneva Compost and Food Waste Diversion project involves various partners to improve the environmental justice profile of the town and city. The project will divert food waste and other biodegradables from the waste stream, generate nutrient-rich compost, improve soil quality, reduce reliance on fertilizers, and engage in food recovery efforts.

The grant requires matching funds, and those are being provided by local non-profit BluePrint Geneva and Hobart and William Smith Colleges. The grant will also be used to promote “lake friendly” practices, decrease agricultural reliance on fertilizers, engage residents in food waste diversion with a special emphasis on renters in the city and homebound residents in the town, work to achieve a gold-level rating for both the town and city through the New York State Climate Smart Communities program, and enhance the “food recovery” strategy.

Residents of the town who are unable to get to the town transfer station on White Springs Road will receive weekly curbside compost service at no cost for two years. City residents at Lyceum Heights, Elmcrest, and Seneca Apartments will receive weekly compost service at no cost for two years, expanding a program offered to low-income residents in city wards 5 and 6.

Town Supervisor Mark Venuti said the grant was prepared by a community volunteer who saw an opportunity for significant local impact. The grant requires the project to demonstrate economic benefits, make compost easily accessible to farmers and community gardeners, integrate other food waste strategies, including food recovery efforts, and collaborate with multiple partners.