Tuesday, February 9

2009 Success and 2010 Vision

Thanks for checking us out! If you are new to this site, please poke around a bit.

MoCoPro kicked out some serious compost last semester. With 21 volunteers spending a few minutes each on 40 different weekly routes, we stacked the steaming grounds without mercy from October to December. Having filled the compost bins at the Soil Stewards Farm and the PCEI community gardens, MoCoPro went domestic. One post to Cragslist offering free u-haul coffee ground compost got us over a dozen new friends, all of them eager to get truckloads of our grounds in their gardens.

From home brewers who grow their own hops and botanicals (and offering us some free brews in exchange!) to thrifty families fighting the woes of the economic recession by growing more of their own food, MoCoPro injected piles of coffee grounds straight into the organic heart of the Palouse community. Our grounds went to Potlatch, Moscow, Pullman, and Troy. In exchange for these free grounds, people were willing to help us out, too. With a small wish list on the Craigslist advertisement, the project was donated a real shovel and a set of locks for our trailer by folks who had these extra things lying around. We were very excited that this bartering worked out. We got supplies and they got compost, and no one had to pull out their wallet.

The foggy days of February are here, and that means MoCoPro needs to start thinking about gearing up. Because of the amazing response we got from the community last semester, MoCoPro has a new vision for the first year of the new decade.

That vision is to not only intercept and make use of the nutrients that we are importing from other countries, but to send something back.

We're not talking about barges full of compost headed to Sumatra and Brazil. We're talking about promoting small-scale and responsible agriculture in the countries that have been stripping their resources grow and sell us coffee.

Here is how it will work:
After another crew of intrepid volunteers is assembled and off, MoCoPro is going to think outside the Palouse. Once the grounds pile up, we will again offer them to the eager spring gardeners in the community. However, this time we will be suggesting a ridiculously low price for them; something on the order of 5 pennies per pound. After a semester of grounds, we'll be sitting on over $100. At the end of the semester, we'll loan this money to responsible agricultural entrepreneurs in some far reach of the world through a microloaning site such as Kiva. These small loans have repayment rates that are higher than many of the banks you currently bank with, and instead of buying a new car with their loans, these folks are creating local businesses that can stand on their own for only a few hundred dollars.

It might not seem like a world-changing contribution, but after another $100 from another semester and the repaid loan from the previous, MoCoPro will be lending $200. Another year will have us loaning out $400, and after the time it takes one rowdy undergraduate to get her/his degree, MoCoPro will be flashing a small fold of gritty Bejamins.

We look forward to getting the project rolling this spring. We're going to need some more volunteers, so if you are interested, please check the volunteer page on the right side of this page, near the top.


Owen Baughman
Director, MoCoPro

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