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Home » Connected by the land: building community through composting in Lisbon, Portugal

Connected by the land: building community through composting in Lisbon, Portugal

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Maria Ressano Garcia

Before the end of the Season of Creation, some of the youth in Casa Velha who lived in Lisbon had a chance to learn about composting through the app ShareWaste, which helps people find someone in their neighbuorhood who is willing to accept kitchen scraps to turn them into healtsoil instead of adding to the landfill.

This is how we met Manuel, who has been doing composting in his own backyard in middle of the town of Lisbon. He started it a couple of years ago, taking after his grandfather’s habits, who came from the countryside to Lisbon many decades ago. Manuel receives leftovers from many of his neighbours and shares the fertilizer back to them. He also uses some of the fertilizer in his own vegetable garden, where he grows vegetables that he also gives back to the community.

Youth volunteers of Casa Velha learning from Manuel about the composting process

He always wishes to invite the cooperators to see the yard and understand the process that the leftovers will undergo. He shares why and how he started this, referring to his hope that this brings to the neighborhood an experience and a sense of community, of “fratelli tutti”. He talks as the teacher of sciences he is, but also as a brother who shares what he is grateful for, what moves him and amazes him.

Four of us, young friends from Casa Velha, who live in Lisbon, now wish to adhere to this movement – one is doing compost at home, the other two will start bringing to their neighbour Manuel their leftovers – but mainly, we wish to receive Manuel at Casa Velha soon and, with his presence, his company and motivation, activate the composting process. The box is already there, but Manuel’s accompaniment can bring us knowledge and helps us root the motivation in our faiths!

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