At Lulu, we help content creators transform their brilliant ideas into real, tangible books. It’s pretty magical. It’s not our only power. We can turn an apple into a potato and help end hunger.
You too can become a magician and master the disappearing hunger act. We’ll teach you!
To begin, you will need to eat approximately 13 pounds of apples. Save the cores. Whisper sweet nothings to the cores as you gingerly place them onto a pile of shredded paper, twigs, and grass clippings. Cover the apple cores with more twigs. Leave alone until the first full moon, or two weeks, then turn the pile. Repeat layering steps.
Through the exciting process of aerobic decomposition, your scraps will undergo a miraculous transformation and become compost!
If you’re unable to dedicate the time end energy to tending a compost pile, don’t worry, you can still become a hunger magician.
Lulu works with CompostNow, a waste diversion service. We toss our apple cores and other food scraps into a bin. CompostNow collects the scraps each week to make nutrient-rich compost that is later donated to local community gardens.
We love working with CompostNow because it’s a great way to get everyone in the Lulu office involved in sustainability. CompostNow makes it even more fun by providing weekly metrics of waste Lulu saved from the landfill. We’ve diverted approximately 2,268 pounds of food scraps since February 2017 and produced 567 pounds of compost!
With your fresh compost, you’ll find a good plot of land and start your organic potato farm. You will grow your produce with love and donate everything to the food bank. We’ll endorse you on LinkedIn for your philanthropic farming.
If you can’t leave your day job to become an agricultural bad ass, don’t give up! There’s another option for our magic trick.
In the next step of our act, Lulu invited our friends at CompostNow to join us for a day of gardening with the Goodwill Community Foundation (GCF). You may know Goodwill as a place to donate gently-used sweaters or find furniture deals awaiting their Pinterest-worthy transformations. The Durham GCF branch also has a farm that grows and donates produce to local food banks and other non-profits that address food-insecurity. They’re the only Goodwill to own and operate a farm!
Fun fact – the GCF Farm is a CompostNow community garden partner. The Farm receives compost created from businesses like Lulu that use CompostNow’s service.
The GCF Farm grows all kinds of nutritious produce like green beans, kale, collards, tomatoes, squash, and potatoes. In 2017, the Farm donated more than 150,000 pounds of fresh produce. That’s nearly the weight of 4 transit busses!
Together, Lulu and CompostNow helped Farmer Charles of the GCF Farm sort through the last snap beans of the season.
Before we could get our hands dirty, we were required to watch an informational video about the harmful side effects of agricultural chemicals including fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides. These chemicals are not to be taken lightly. We learned that exposure can lead to both acute and chronic health issues.
Thankfully, Farmer Charles proudly stated that the GCF Farm works diligently to avoid unneeded chemical use. With the help of volunteers like Lulu, they’re able to use safer pest control methods like manually picking potato bugs off leaves or spraying crops with soapy water.
Not only does GCF’s chemical reduction create safer working conditions, it’s also better for eating. The community members that receive GCF’s donated produce won’t have to worry that their dinner plates are covered with pesticides. Nothing ruins a magic trick like toxic chemicals.
Read closely. This is the most important part of the trick. Your enchanted potatoes will turn into mushy, rotten pumpkins if they’re not distributed before the clock hits midnight.
Don’t panic, the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina (CENC) can help. The Food Bank regularly partners with the Goodwill Community Foundation to receive produce from the Farm.
Lulu spent a morning with the Durham branch of the Food Bank of CENC to learn about their massive food distribution program. While we didn’t run into our snap beans during our volunteer day, we did have the pleasure of sorting 3,900 pounds of donated enchanted potatoes!
The Food Bank is vital part of our community. Together with over 800 partner agencies, they provide food to food-insecure community members.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines food insecurity as a state in which consistent access to adequate food is limited by a lack of money and other resources at times during the year.
On a national scale, Feed America estimates that as of 2016, 41.2 million Americans live in food-insecure households.
The Durham branch of the Food Bank of CENC identified 106,210 people in their region that are food insecure. Of this group, 26.6% are under 18.
Research shows that you can’t thirst for knowledge on an empty stomach. Food insecure children have lower performance rates compared to their food secure peers. They may also face increased social and behavior problems like bullying and anxiety. Similarly, children facing hunger are more likely to experience developmental impairments in areas including language and motor skills.
During Lulu’s Food Bank volunteer day, we filled 161 boxes of food items including orange juice, dry milk, grits, green beans, corn, and pears. Each box weighed around 33 pounds. We boxed enough food to create 4,474 meals.
We also saved 3,900 pounds of non-grocery store quality potatoes from the landfill and created 3,284 meals.
In total, Lulu helped make 7,758 meals between both projects.
Additionally, Lulu held a company-wide food drive. This year we collected and donated 128 pounds of non-perishable food and household items. That’s almost 48% more than last year’s food drive.
Abracadabra Alakazam! That’s how you magically turn an apple into a potato and end hunger.
Curious about CompostNow? Depending on your location, you can try a two-week FREE trial. Check it out, here.
Sheridan is Lulu’s Coordinator of Sustainability and Outreach. She is an author advocate, B Corp Champion, friend to all cats everywhere, and a clog aficionado.