This week I administered surveys to three very different actors: a business garden, a set of collective gardens, and then solid organic-waste experts. My objective is to do 4 surveys a week (not including business, commercial farms, community, or individual private gardens as I do those surveys with my field assistants). I haven’t been progressing at the speed set on my original time table but at least I do have meetings every week (which is better than nothing).
First, we were invited to the opening of the business garden so it was buzzing with people adding new soil and compost mixes and looking at planting plans to manage each plot to its full potential. As with some of the other gardens I have surveyed, the contact person will need to send me some of the survey information by email, but seems interested in the project as she asked if I could share the results from their garden and the whole study when it is ready. One missing piece of the data puzzle: they do not know the amount of organic waste they produce, and have had problems with compost production and thus not currently able to reuse their “waste” in the garden. This missing data piece (and this issue of compost production) has come up the vast majority of the surveys I have administered up until now. I will most likely need to rely on estimates and come up with some robust (well justifiable) assumptions about organic waste management at the garden level.
Second, I spoke to the horticultural specialist for a set of collective gardens (and as I learnt in the meeting 13 other gardens in another “arrondisement” I also wanted to talk to him about) for different organizations in the same area. The meeting was nice, I measured one of the gardens, but ultimately each separate organization is responsible for buying inputs and thus I still need to continue to contact them individually to get the surveys filled out. (I will probably need to go in person and measure the gardens for the 4 other organizations).
Third, I met with two city employees who knew about how the city manages their organic solid waste. I had read the public city reports about waste management, but I wanted to verify with them if I fully understood what the data meant and if I was missing other relevant pieces of the puzzle. They were extremely helpful, coming ready with both numbers to share, and a clear explanation what these numbers covered and management reasons why these were the numbers availability. They will be emailing me some additional numbers, and a report so that I can finish my estimates for organic waste flows on the island. Although I came in with survey questions to ask, which they had also received a copy in advance, the flow of the conversation (and thus the information) did not really fit into those boxes. I still have all the information that the survey would have gotten at, but I need to reorganize it from my notes into excel to then be able to “translate” everything into P.