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NOLA’s urban farms need your moldy pumpkins

Bring them to Compost NOW’s inaugural Pumpkin Smash event on Saturday, November 2

A jack o lantern cries at the sight of a smashed pumpking

Face it, that jack o’lantern flickering on your front porch isn’t long for this world. Before you toss it into the mass grave otherwise known as a landfill, where it will decompose anaerobically, smothered by plastic, emitting methane gas and oozing toxic leachate, consider an alternative that’s slight less scary: New Orleans’ inaugural Pumpkin Smash.

Hosted by Compost NOW at the Rosa F. Keller Library and Community Center (4300 S. Broad Street), the Pumpkin Smash takes place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, November 2. It’s a festive attempt to curb Halloween pumpkin waste.

“Over 1 billion pumpkins are sent to the landfill each year,” said Lynne Serpe, master composter and founder of Compost NOW.

At Pumpkin Smash, volunteers will collect decaying gourds for composting. That compost will be distributed to Compost NOW’s network of urban farms. Fresher pumpkins will be turned into soup.

“Some pumpkins are whole and edible, and those we use to create pumpkin soup that we donate to the hungry,” Serpe said. “Feeding people is always the best option if possible. We also expect to roast a lot of pumpkin seeds.”

There also will be crafts, games, and giveaways at the family-friendly event.

“Bring pumpkins and smash the pumpkins,” Serpe said. “It’s fun for all ages.”