A Smashing Good Time Was Had By All at Bedford Mothers Out Front Pumpkin Smash

Girl with a sledgehammer about to smash a jack-o-lantern at JGMS
Over 40 families brought pumpkins to smash and then be hauled to a compost facility as part of a Mothers Out Front event to keep food waste out of the trash stream. Photo Credit: Karen Willson (c) all rights reserved

~Submitted by Karen Willson

Bedford Mothers Out Front hosted their first-ever Pumpkin Smash on Saturday, Nov 5 at the middle school. Over 40 families brought pumpkins to be smashed, then hauled by City Compost to its facility in Gardner, MA. Mothers Out Front is a grassroots organization of mothers and others committed to leaving all children a livable planet.

Every Halloween tons of pumpkins enter the waste stream– just from Bedford. Members of Bedford Mothers Out Front decided to engage the community in a fun and memorable Pumpkin Smash to raise public awareness about the enormous problem of food waste and the urgent need to increase composting. Molly Haskell organized a group of members through the challenging process of planning a complex pilot project. On Saturday they were assisted by an impressive crew of 26 volunteers including 11 from the BHS Environmental Club. Co-sponsors of the event who provided publicity and volunteers included: Town of Bedford Energy and Sustainability Committee, Bedford Garden Club, and various religious groups in Bedford. Bedford TV was on the scene to capture the action and excitement and to learn about composting.

Organizer Molly Haskell shared these thoughts. “Climate change is perpetuated by systems: how we get around, find shelter and food, and generate waste. Fifty percent of system change is changing people’s thinking. Mothers Out Front is in the fight to change minds and systems, one pumpkin at a time.”   

Chapter member Renu Bostwick put the day’s event in perspective. “Fewer than 50 households today kept 1145 pounds of pumpkin out of incinerators/landfill which will now regenerate the soil and draw carbon down into the soil to help fight climate change. Imagine if all 5000+ households in Bedford were given the opportunity to divert their food waste on a daily basis with town-provided food waste collection!”

When told about Bedford Mothers Out Front’s petition asking the Select Board to implement town-wide curbside pick-up of food waste for composting, one of the high school volunteers was stunned. “You mean, that’s not already a thing?” (You can sign the petition here.)

The event was a resounding success. Parents expressed gratitude and a desire to support future Pumpkin Smashes. Kindergartener Dante told us that, “Composting helps with not polluting the environment.” BHS volunteer Carinna Dogan-West summed it up well, “We’ve got to take care of Mother Earth so Mother Earth can take care of us.”


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