P3 Organic Exchange
The funny thing about the town where I was raised are the properties: old farm land turned suburban, small houses, vast lawns of grass. My beloved childhood home is no different. I grew up with no knowledge of agriculture except for the personal garden my grandfather grew. After he passed away in late 2009 I had a strong desire to connect with him through agriculture. I traveled across the USA on a live/work farming tour. When I finally arrived back to my home state of NJ, I became very involved in urban agriculture through Newark’s adopt-a-lot program. In early 2013 I started to grow produce with other gardeners on tiny parcels of land, much smaller than the backyard I grew up with. It’s incredible how much you can produce in a small space. I love “urban” agriculture so deeply not only because of the obvious need for green development, but because of the diversity of the city and its innovative pace. In 2014 I began a year in service with Foodcorps teaching youth about food systems and urban gardening. At the same time I became very interested in finding solutions to our country’s most unsustainable systems. Today I share the role of managing director for P3 Organic Exchange with two incredible founders, Victoria Petrovsky and Emilio Panasci. I dream to see our business survive and thrive, impacting both commercial and residential organic waste management in a way that benefits people and planet. I’d like P3 OrganiX to set an example for our city that sustainable businesses are not only possible but ARE the future.
P3 Organic Exchange is a vermicomposting company that partners with businesses to mitigate the effects of the conventional waste stream. We work with local businesses collecting their recyclable food scraps and cardboard which we use as an animal feed for our worms systems. In 2014, our first underground vermicomposting system was built with the help of community gardeners in downtown Newark, NJ. Since then we have partnered with businesses in food service, urban renewal and urban greening. Our affordable and cost-effective recyclables pick-up service helps contribute to the long term sustainability of cafes, restaurants, vertical farms, and schools. The food scraps and cardboard we collect is used to generate healthy vermicast, a naturally produced, nutrient-rich, living compost that we plan to distribute locally. Our current goal is to increase capacity, allowing us to gain clients and pick up from additional food service businesses, mitigating more waste and generating more vermicast. Our biggest challenge is legitimizing our operations through exemptions and costly permitting.
The loan will be spent on filing the A-901 Hauling permit application with New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection. The A-901 is expensive: The current base fee is $1,775 plus $600 per background check for each decision-making partner or manager. This permit is necessary to secure the movement of food scraps and cardboard from our clients’ location to our systems. Hiring a hauler would increase pickup costs drastically, in addition to disrupting the seamless relationship we try to build with our clients. Additionally, with this permit we would be able to safely and reliably increase our number of clients. Outside of the A-901 our second biggest priority is purchasing a cardboard shredder, a cost of around $2,500. Cardboard is a fantastic source of carbon for our worm systems and we need a lot of it! Our urban systems require feed with a carbon to nitrogen ratio of at least 3:1. Cardboard is the most sustainable and local source. Currently we shredding it wet, mostly by hand! A cardboard shredder would increase efficiency allowing our team to focus on building clients, system capacity and refining protocol.
Jamie’s loan is endorsed by Borrowers Network . The information below explains why her trustee thinks Jamie is a great candidate for a Kiva Zip loan.