Compost, the stuff of life

Tucked away in the East Village of Manhattan sits La Plaza Cultural de Armando Perez, a symbol of community resilience and dedication to greenspace

November 3, 2022
A wide image photograph of la plaza cultural, where you can see a scraggly tree arched over the koi pond, with a gazebo in the distance and the city peaking out from behind the foliage.
La Plaza Cultural has become a haven for many different mini-environments, including a fully recycling pond, medicinal herb garden and even a beehive. [Credit: Maiya Focht]

For Pedro Diez, trash is more than just a chore, it’s a way to connect with his community. Diez runs the free composting program at the La Plaza Cultural de Armando Perez community garden in New York City. 

The garden is one of many sprinkled around the island metropolis of Manhattan. It was created by Latino green space activists in the primarily Puerto Rican neighborhood of Loisada. Many of these activists are still involved with maintaining the garden today. Once overrun by waste and needles, the space now displays healthy rows of vegetable gardens, flowering trees and local wildlife framed by large public art displays.

And one of the features that allows this space to flourish involves Diez. The compost that he brews feeds the gardens with soil rich in nutrients. 

In March, Maiya Focht caught up with Diez to talk about the impact he has on La Plaza Cultural, and in turn, the impact the garden has made on his life.


Touching Moments Five – Circle by Kevin MacLeod | CC BY 4.0 

About the Author

Maiya Focht

Maiya Focht is a science journalist passionate about all things STEM: from the brain to robotics to the biosphere. Prior to SHERP, she studied Neuroscience and Television, Radio and Film while working as a health and wellness beat reporter at NPR.


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