First United Methodist Church of Omaha Nebraska wanted to educate the congregation on everyone’s own complicity in global warming. How to get congregants to look at their own lifestyles and become aware of our impact on the environment.
They decided to help the congregation become aware of how much greenhouse gas was produced by food waste that is in the landfills. They worked with a company that has a vermiculure process (worms) to compost food waste in Omaha. Many bulletin inserts, meeting, presentations, and posters in the narthex later, they started to sign families up to begin bringing their compostable bags of food to church on Sunday. The goal was 50 families.
Their eco group was blown away by the 65 families that signed up to bring their food wastes to church. Their pastors invited the Kim Morrow Nebraska IPL director to preach and had a children’s message with real red wigglers to explain to kids (and adults) the process. The kids were both grossed out and all wanted to touch the worms. They also had a forum for all the adult and youth Sunday school classes about environmental stewardship. All of this on their first Sunday of collecting food waste! Now, seven months later, up to 80 families are participating and filling the 500 gallon drum weekly with food waste.
Their church’s eco team wanted a project that would educate about the need to change our lifestyles to be more sustainable. The need to be accountable for our own individual and community responsibility for green house gas production. Food waste was the means to an end. People, who signed up to bring in their bags of food waste, were amazed at how much food was thrown away each week. One 80+ year old was being helped with the ten pound of food waste she brought one week (she collects from all of her condo neighborhood) and she said, “This is such a fun way to make the world a better place.” They have had two other area churches ask for their process and plans for this composting project.
First United Methodist Church entered this project into the Cool Congregations Challenge and WON $1,000. If you have a great project going on at your congregation enter it into the 2016 challenge an you could win your congregation $1,000!