The Friends of Van Cortlandt Park are happy to announce our September 2016 Friend of the Month- Braeden Cohen. As the Organics Recovery Coordinator for the NYC Compost Project hosted by the New York Botanical Garden, Braeden has played a key role at our Garden & Compost site since the spring of 2015. In a short time he helped to lay the foundation of our weekly food scrap collection, picking up where the previous person had left off and taking it to the next level. He is always willing to jump in and show our interns the finer points of a compost system, helping them to understand that there isn’t always a quick answer to a problem but that they need to observe and think through what is happening to come to the best solution. Rain or shine, Braeden is a welcome addition to the work we do and while he is now only dropping by to check on us while we manage the system on our own he is always available to trouble shoot or tell a joke. Thank you, Braeden for all that you do for the Friends and our Garden & Compost Site.
How and when did you get involved with the Friends of Van Cortlandt Park?
I started working with the Friends of Van Cortlandt Park in April of 2015. That’s when I started my job as an Organics Recovery Coordinator for the NYC Compost Project hosted by the New York Botanical Garden. Last year, with the help of awesome volunteers, I staffed the Tuesday Food Scrap Drop-Off where we currently accept food scraps from the public and use them to make compost for the Friend of Van Cortlandt Park’s Garden. I am no longer staffing the Tuesday drop-off because I am setting up new sites in the Bronx, we have passed the pitch-fork to FVCP. Next time you drop off your scraps, be sure to thank Alex for doing such a great job!
What is your favorite place in the Park?
The Friends of Van Cortlandt Park’s Garden and Compost Site is my favorite, not just because it is the site of the weekly NYC Compost Project Food Scrap Drop-off, but because I love food, people and composting. This hidden gem has it all! There is nothing better than processing food scraps when you are surrounded by happy people and the smell of fresh tomatoes, basil and other herbs. It also helps make some of the stinky scraps people bring much more tolerable.
What is your favorite memory of the Park or event you have participated in?
My favorite memories of the Park are the Tuesday evenings I spent at the drop-off site. I loved working with the FVCP’s interns. It was great watching them transform into food scrap processing machines and become more confident in their composting abilities. There is a special, crazed look people get in their eyes when they chop food scraps. It was great giving the interns a fun, educational way to get involved in community composting and the opportunity to help them release all that pent-up teenage angst.
Parks just completed a Master Plan for the Park, what improvements would you like to see in Van Cortlandt Park in the next 20 years?
I would like to see continued preservation of the Park’s beautiful forests and trails.
I would like to see community garden spaces in the park so more people can compost and grow their own food.
I would like to see the creation of infrastructure that will allow the park to compost its own leaf and woody debris to be used in future Van Cortlandt Park projects.