Experience Making a Difference

Experience Making a Difference

IVC Philadelphia/South Jersey Partner Faith Food and Friends Featured On CatholicPhilly.com

by | Sep 25, 2023

IVC Philadelphia/South Jersey partner agency, Faith Food and Friends, run by Old St. Joseph’s church in Philadelphia, was recently featured in an article on CatholicPhilly.com highlighting all the great work they and Ignatian Volunteer Corps members do for their community. Take a look at the article below and click the link at the bottom to read the whole piece!

“Composting: A Simple Act That Transforms Us Into A Culture More In Love With God
By Aaron Lemma

If you would have told Marie Nowak, the rectory chef at Old St.  Joseph’s (OSJ) in Philadelphia, that she would start a movement with eggshells and apple cores, she probably wouldn’t have believed you.

Marie cooks three meals a week for the priests serving at OSJ. In December of 2021, she started composting kitchen scraps from these meals.

Composting is when you take leftover bits of organic matter—like banana peels, that arugula you didn’t eat in time, or houseplant clippings—and place them in a designated waste bin. A composting company then collects this food waste, turns it into nutrient-rich topsoil, and returns it to you as organic fertilizer.

Composting not only makes healthier gardens—it also reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. When food waste enters a landfill, it rots ‘anaerobically,’ producing methane, a GHG that is 25 times more potent than CO2. So, reducing food waste in landfills can decrease your personal carbon footprint.

Marie continued composting on a small scale, encouraging rectory staff to add their lunch scraps to the bin. It eventually became community compost, as did the soil that came back.

It’s often hard to measure the impact individual actions like composting have on the environment. Luckily, Bill Stigliani, Professor Emeritus of Environmental Science at University of Northern Iowa and Chair of OSJ’s Creation Care Committee, has some experience.

With Bill’s leadership, the committee set out to measure Marie’s environmental impact. They determined that, in the 18 months since she began, Marie prevented 820 pounds of food waste from going to the landfill. In turn, she prevented more than 1,000 pounds of GHG emissions from entering the atmosphere. For her efforts, she secured 500 pounds of humus-rich topsoil for her parish and fellow parishioners.

OSJ’s composting story now has a sequel. Following Marie’s example, Bill’s committee worked with OSJ’s Faith, Food, and Friends program, which provides lunches and counselling services for homeless men and women who are welcomed as “guests.” Luncheon food wastes are now collected for composting. Along with the accrued environmental benefits, the guests view this effort as a source of pride, for they too, have become environmentalists.

Click here to read more on CatholicPhilly.com!