Penticton local taking in food waste to build a compost pile and garden to feed those in need

Using food scraps to garden

A Penticton resident has spent the last eight months diverting over four tons of waste from the landfill to start a food forest in her yard.

Katie O'Kell, who was a city council candidate this year and is the winemaker for Serendipity Winery, shared her story on the efforts she's made in building a large-scale residential compost pile in preparation for the 2023 growing season.

Food waste was brought from local restaurants, including Honey Toast and the Serendipity Winery Bistro, to start a large compost.

O'Kell said she also collected over 50 pumpkins after Halloween from locals to add to the mixture. The vessels themselves are made from wire fencing she found while picking trash up from the Channel, and burlap sacks from the fire department.

The grape stems from the winery, which would normally be destined for the landfill, are used as a drainage system for the raised garden beds.

O'Kell is planning a 250-square-foot garden for 2023, with hopes of expanding it each year.

In order to keep organic farming and water conservation as priorities, O'Kell said she will need more compost and an irrigation system to expand.

"The goal is to provide fresh homegrown fruits and vegetables for locals who need it, with no questions asked."

Any restaurants that wish to contribute their food scraps to this project can contact O'Kell at [email protected]

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