Closing the Food Loop: A Compost Firm Grows

CERO helps local farms produce healthy vegetables

by Yawu Miller

Every day as tons of Boston’s food waste gets hauled off to landfills, two garbage haulers with the acronym CERO (Cooperative Energy, Recycling and Organics) divert a small portion to a farm in South Hamilton. There, microbes do the hard work of breaking down orange peels, onion skins and wilted lettuce into compost. After a year of microbial digestion, the CERO trucks return, load up and bring that compost to Boston farms, which in turn supply local consumers with fresh vegetables. . . .

“We’re part of a bigger food-centered economic loop,” said Lor Holmes, who leads venture development and capitalization strategies for the Dorchester-based worker-owned coop. . . .

The workers founded CERO as a worker-owned cooperative as a way to keep profits in the community.

“By having workers in the role of owners, we’re bringing down the antiquated structure where a few people make decisions for the many,” said Maya Gaul, one of the firm’s worker-owners. “We’re asking people to educate themselves and determine their own fate. I think that’s really cool.”

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