Delicacies from the Dregs: the Spirit of Life, Compost and Rebirth

by Karen Krolak
Artistic Director/Founder of Monkeyhouse and Faculty Member of Impulse Dance Center

Who would have ever guessed that your table scraps would keep my brother’s quirky spirit alive? As Bootstrap Compost geared up for their second Compost Week!, I thought they would appreciate knowing how my husband, Jason and I had used our first batch. After they read my email, they invited me to share my story with the larger Bootstrap community.

I grew up in a very eccentric family. My older brother, Patrick, was legendary among our friends for the obsessive way that he dove into subjects ranging from paranormal phenomenon (he contacted scientists at MIT about his theories on sonar problems in finding Loch Ness…when he was in the fifth grade) to physics to the plight of the American Chestnut. No one is sure why he decided to grow 75 heirloom tomato plants in the early months of 2012. He had never really shown any interest in the fruit before but according to his wife, he spent hours nurturing them and conversing with them as they grew to over 6 feet tall!

Original tomatoes from Patrick’s garden

On August 25, 2012, an SUV crossed the median of a highway in upstate New York and crashed into my parents’ convertible. My mother, father, and Patrick were instantly killed. At the time Jason, our mutt, Kwaq7aj’ (The 7 is silent and it is pronounced Quacks), and I were in the midst of moving. We were crashing at our dear friend, Nicole’s, apartment when the police arrived to notify us. May you never have to know the dizzying sense of being so fundamentally lost and shattered. (more…)

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Serving the Business Community Since its founding, Bootstrap has made composting accessible for traditionally underserved work environments. At a time when buildings account for a higher percentage of carbon emissions than transportation, we're…

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A Summer Job: Bootstrap Compost Gets Busy at an Array of Local Events

So much for summer being a time for rest and relaxation. It seemed that as soon as the temperatures really got cooking, Bootstrap did too — serving and/or presenting at several Boston-area events, festivals, marketplaces, and community forums. As a result, we made some new friends and reconnected with old ones, all the while spreading a message of sustainability, waste diversion, and easy tactics for leading a green lifestyle. Here’s a quick rundown of our wildly busy lazy season.

At the first annual Egleston Square Farmers’ Market Summer Kickoff in early June, hundreds of area residents gathered in this nook of Jamaica Plain to scoop up the choicest locally grown produce (including goodies from BSC partner Buckle Farm). It was there we set up several bins to collect compostable material as our neighbors hung out under the sun to enjoy the bounty and live music.

Happy pigs at Buckle Farm make for a happy local food system!

On June 6 we paid a visit to the Roslindale Farmers’ Market, where Andy set up and monitored a pair of BSC cans to capture compostables. With over 20 vendors offering potatoes, pottery and petunias, the (more…)

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The Quick and Dirty: The Story of Greater Boston’s Food Scrap Go-Getters

The early days: Andy and the USS Bootstrap (via Boston Globe)
The early days: Andy and the USS Bootstrap in 2011

Jobless in the midst of a severely depressed economy, Andy Brooks launched Bootstrap Compost in January 2011 as a means to a paycheck. Equipped with a hand truck, a T-pass, flyers and a desire for meaningful work, Andy began collecting the food scraps of a few subscribers in his Jamaica Plain neighborhood, processing the organics in his backyard. When the DailyCandy, a popular cultural blog in Boston, caught wind of his composting business, the response was nothing short of bananas.

Keeping it green: Upcycled and homemade
Bootstrap Compost keeping it green with upcycled and hand made business cards

Flash forward five months: Igor Kharitonenkov, an up and coming multi-media producer (and coincidentally, an unemployed one), created a video short about Bootstrap. Igor was interested in profiling and promoting sustainable businesses through new media. Impressed with his work, Andy hired Igor to help with marketing and administrative tasks. At this point, the company was serving 101 subscribers and had forged a partnership with a local farm, eager to make use of the nitrogen-rich scraps.


Flash forward one year:
Bootstrap had grown to 250 subscribers, matching the gray hairs suddenly appearing on Andy’s head. To add to the workload, the company was selected as a finalist for
MassChallenge 2012, an internationally renowned 4-month long start-up incubator. Help was needed (more…)

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