The Sedona Compost Crowd and Flagstaff Sustainability Program hosted the city’s first annual Pumpkin Drop, where locals could drop off their old Halloween pumpkins and divert them from appearing in landfills. The event took place Friday in conjunction with the opening of the Flagstaff Sustainability Program's new office located on North Mogollon Street.

The city's material management coordinator Emily Shaffer opened the event with a warm welcome to the public. Shaffer said members of the sustainability program are pleased with their new location and want to become more involved with the community.

"When families come to our other programs they can expect to get involved in the community ... learn about a specific part of the community affected by climate change and what we can do to make a positive difference," Shaffer said.

Due to their new location, the sustainability program will have easier access to locations, such as the Bonito Community Garden and Frances Short Pond.

At the event, there were food trucks, games, music and opportunities for the public to meet members of the sustainability office. However, the main attraction of the event was the Pumpkin Drop.

“Our hope is to take pumpkins out of our own landfills and repurpose those pumpkins into something useful in the community," Shaffer said.

Co-founder and co-owner of the Sedona Compost Crowd, Kathleen Ventura, and her husband drove up from Sedona to collect pumpkins from Flagstaff locals.

“When organic or biodegradable materials end up in landfills, they do not decompose naturally because it is under a giant mountain of plastic,” Ventura said.

Ventura said this is not good for the environment because pumpkins in the landfills ultimately end up decomposing anaerobically — or without oxygen — and emit methane.

In 2017, Ventura and her husband started the Sedona Compost Crowd to combat the issue of food waste. She said she understands why composting is not a mainstream activity in the northern region.

“There were no options for composting in the northern region, except for landfills or [to] do it yourself,” Ventura said.

The Sedona Compost Crowd now picks up compost from Sedona and Flagstaff.

Both Ventura and Schaffer said they agreed that this Pumpkin Drop should become a tradition in Flagstaff.

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