The Fresh Beet’s New Years Resolution + DIY Compost Bin

By January 4, 2015 Food for Thought

Another year has flown by and we’re left to ponder all that the year has brought us; the good, the bad, the ugly, and of course, the beautiful. It’s important to look back and reflect on all that you have accomplished, both large and small. It is in these reflections that we acquire personal growth by realizing who we are becoming and where we want to go from here. There couldn’t be a fresher way to start a new year.

Normally an optimist, I try to see the good in those once completely undesirable experiences. Like my 5 month stint of unemployment in 2013 upon coming back to the states after backpacking abroad for 4 months. Yeah, that was rough; mentally and emotionally. I submitted countless numbers of applications and either didn’t hear back from the company, or was denied an interview. It was so disheartening; here I was, an educated (masters degree) person with a couple years of work experience and the passion to work hard, yet no one wanted to hire me.

“The job market is rough out there,” everyone would say. Hell yeah it is.

So when do I get to the part where I see the good in this experience? Right now.

During that 5 months, I:

  • discovered a new love for rock climbing
  • trained for my first real triathlon (and placed first in my age group #gavemyselfapatontheback)
  • brewed my first batch of Kombucha
  • started doing some freelance nutrition writing work
  • was fortunate enough to not have to pay rent because I lived with family

But most of all, I learned to swallow my pride while, at 26, living with my fiance’s parents felt like the opposite of what I should be doing. I should be out on my own, making a name for myself, living an independent life and financially supporting myself. But looking back, all those shoulds are where our thought processes go wrong. All those shoulds are what makes us compare our lives to others and creates feelings of discouragement and doubt when we believe that we should be doing things that we’re not. It was hard to see it at the time, but through a positive perspective I was fortunate enough to spend that time getting to know my soon-to-be family and I wouldn’t change that experience for anything. What’s not to enjoy when living among a loving, kind family with an enormous sense of humor? They love me so much they said they’d adopt me if it didn’t work out between David and I. Hah!

Seeing the good in those unexpected situations is always easier to do when those days have passed and you’ve come out alive though, isn’t it? Sure. But you owe yourself those reflections, as they help you to better deal with the next unexpected situation. Luckily, this past year has been pretty good to me. The ultimate highlight of my year was when David and I got engaged, which trumps any negative experiences that may have happened 🙂

New Years Resolution (yep, just one!)

To ring in the new year, I thought I would share The Fresh Beet’s resolution. This year, I have a personal goal to reduce food waste at home.

Food waste is the single-largest source of waste in municipal landfills. An incredible 35 million tons of food were thrown away in 2012, according to the EPA. As it decomposes in landfills, the waste releases methane and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Meanwhile, 1 in 6 Americans struggles with hunger and the world wonders how to address the challenge of feeding 9 billion people by 2050.  —

As a dietitian with a passion for all things food, I aspire to stay true to my number one value: that all people have a right to nutritious food. I hope to share more information on The Fresh Beet that makes your life easier in reducing food waste at home. I also hope to help you become more involved in the community to help alleviate the issues of food waste and hunger in America.

DIY Compost Bin

To start off the New Year right and honor this resolution, I bring you this DIY compost bin! (If you’re already composting than kudos! Maybe you can get some friends and/or neighbors on board.) I would have to say that at least 40% of my trash is made up of food waste (another 40% is recyclable and the remaining is non-recylable). That’s huge. If you’re a big cooker like myself than that’s probably true of your home too.

Why Compost?

  • It creates healthy soil for your garden (food and flowers). Healthy soil = healthy plants = healthy food.
  • It’s a way to keep organic material out of landfills, thereby avoiding climate warming gases generated by organic materials in landfills.
  • Because it’s the cool thing to do

  • Start with a large plastic bin like the one below (I got this at Lowe’s for $5) and drill holes all along the outsides, the bottom and the top. This will allow for air circulation.
  • Add a bit of fresh soil in the bottom to get things started.
  • Add your compost.
  • Cover and shake.

Composting Tips

  • The smaller your food pieces, the faster they will decompose.
  • Compost needs green (organic; aka food and grass clippings) and brown (shredded newspaper, dry leaves, wood chips) material. Every time you add green material, add some brown as well. You may even want to add a glass of water during the hot months to maintain optimal moisture levels.
  • No dairy, meat, salt or butters/oils please.
  • Egg shells and coffee grinds are great.
  • Mix up or turn your compost pile every week or two to make sure all materials are blended together and working.
  • Matter will decompose much faster during the warmer months.

What do I do with all this soil?

  • Throw it in your garden beds or potted plants.
  • Give it away to those seeking some healthy soil.


Happy New Year! Make it a memorable one 😉



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  • Reply January 6, 2015 at 10:08 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story! One of my resolutions is to see the positive in situations, because I tend to be rather negative and judgmental. I’ve been writing down things I am thankful for for the last few days, maybe just one or two things, and it has helped me so much because I have a quick list of things that are amazing in my life to be grateful for! Just taking that moment for reflection each morning sets me on the right path.
    I really enjoyed this post 🙂
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    • Reply Ashley M Galloway January 7, 2015 at 2:11 pm

      Your comment makes me so happy inside 🙂 I love your morning reflection practice; it sounds like a great way to start the day. Cheers!

  • Reply Melanie Gamble January 14, 2015 at 12:49 am

    I have begun composting!! Thanks for the tip on turning the compost. Its pretty cold here in PA and the home we just bought came with a compost contraption that already has soil and compost in it. I have begun using a folgers (big blue plastic) can to store compost-y items while cooking and in the kitchen. Once thats full, the hubby goes down the hill and drops it in the compost container. I am excited to use the material for the warmer weather. Hope to grow some veggies.

    • Reply Ashley M Galloway February 2, 2015 at 11:47 am

      That is great!! Is it one that you can rotate to help turn the compost? Those are nice. Hope it warms up for you soon!!

  • Reply April 1, 2015 at 12:02 am

    […] Because of the sobering facts behind both food waste (which is the largest source of waste in municipal landfills) and hunger (1 out of 6 Americans struggles with hunger), Ashley @ The Fresh Beet made it her New Year’s Resolution to reduce her household’s food waste starting with this super easy to make/start DIY Compost Bin. […]

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