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A Wacky Briana Project

Posted: 4:12PM July 5th, 2013 | Comments

Tonight, as with every Sunday night, I am standing at my kitchen counter looking down at a plethora of fruits and vegetables to which I am organizing to prep, slice and dice for the coming week. Convenience is everything, and the relief of coming home knowing half of dinner is already done is unrivalled. Most nights I end up throwing whatever happens to be in the fridge into a pan with some chicken and herbs. It is a method that has given me some of my more delicious meals, and has showed me brussels spouts are not so bad after all. You can’t always trust your 5-year-old self.

Anyway, I adopted this method almost year ago, because I noticed that if I didn’t cut everything up ahead of time, a hearty chunk would go bad before I had a chance to use it. Sad, but true. You just forget what you have sometimes. More recently, though, I’ve come to a second realization.

Since about 80% of my groceries consists of plants, the amount of scraps—sweet potato peelings, grape vines, pepper “guts,” strawberry tops, kiwi fuzz, banana peels, et cetera—pile up fast, making it that much more awkward watching these things get thrown away into the sterile white of a plastic garbage bag. It’s so bad, I know—especially given my recent “green” goals. Because, although, theoretically, organic matter can decompose anywhere, there is some serious flaws in that mode of thinking—like how 40% of landfill waste happens to be food waste and that energy can never be utilized again. The other kicker is that rotting food produces the greenhouse gas Methane that is 23 times as potent as CO2. In other words, I’m not going to stop using a car just so I can contribute to something worst. So, with that, the idea of urban friendly composting has made its way to my efficiency kitchen.

I knew I didn’t want anything plastic. Swapping out a plastic bag for a plastic container seems a little half-hearted to me. If I was going to be collecting dead plants from within my one-room apartment, then I was going to go all out. The brainstorming had begun, and, with it, the idea of creating a completely homemade plant storage box that could easily be transported to be composted somewhere and would be as organic as the materials in it.

Like with any of my little projects, I called my Dad. Mainly because he is the only person I can call, out of the blue, with the opening remarks of, “Hey Dad. I need your help. I want a wooden box, with a lid, that can fit in my bike basket. It will have decomposing plants in it. Oh, and it needs to look at least a little pretty, because it will be in my kitchen,” and all he says in return is, “Okay, kid. Let me think about how to build this, and I’ll call you back.” Done.

This exchange is partly due to him being wrapped around my finger—like every good Dad should be towards his daughter. When I was only a couple days old I solidified this by the fact I wouldn’t stop crying unless he walked me up and down the stairs. He ended up getting shin splints. True story. But it is partly because he knows I trust him—go to him for everything—and I think he appreciates my complete child-like faith in him. He’s my Dad—he can do anything. So a box to transport plants should be no problem.

Within hours he called me back. Of course, even in the planning stage he had designed a box that would have survive an apocalypse. The tendency to over engineer is his trademark. By the end of our conversation, though, a perfectly respectable, simple box made of scrap wood began to form in our brains. And within the next week or so, it was a reality.

My Dad had plenty of doubts. This was a wacky “Briana project” all the way in his mind, and the fact that the box wouldn’t have any way of really sealing in plant matter, including the smell, was a big concern. And because I wouldn’t let him use anything not deemed natural in my mind, this created a real annoyance for him.

So, how did it turn out? The funny thing is… my Dad ultimately won. I went home one weekend to find him waiting with a big catalogue filled with compost bins and carriers. “Your box is done. The idea still sucks, though. Pick something out, and I’m buying it for you.”

I now am waiting for a respectable, simple stainless steel container and have a wonderful homemade box to put all my charger cords in. And although it isn’t exactly what I pictured at the start, Dad knows best.

Now, all I have to figure out is where to take all this stuff… we will talk about that another time.


Happy Cycling,


Briana Rosenberg is Sustain Dane’s Communications Intern. After graduating from Winona State University, in 2012, with a B.A. in Mass Communication: Advertising, she returned home to work on various freelance projects. Now living in Madison, WI, she is falling in love with the city and thrilled to be working with Sustain Dane. When she isn’t working, or figuring out Madison’s bike culture, you can find her exploring downtown or held up in one of Madison’s many coffee shops, with a Mocha, reading a good book or working on her own writing.



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