Jason Jaques’ (pronounced Jakes) bicyclepowered compost service, Drop in the Bucket, in Chico, works like this: Once you sign on, Jaques delivers you a five-gallon bucket with a paper bag liner. You dump your kitchen scraps into the bucket. A week later (or every other week, as you request), he returns to empty and wash out the bucket, leaving another paper bag liner. Pretty simple.
Each bucket of home food scraps adds a small drop to the big bucket of Jaques’ intention. He means to contribute to a closed loop community effort, food scraps from homes delivered to community gardens and composted there, compost used to feed the soil that grows vegetables for the community, vegetables distributed to feed the community—and the scraps again begin the loop. His clients’ food scraps go to compost piles at the Jesus Center community garden and at From the Ground Up for its many community gardens. Vegetables grown at the Jesus Center garden are served in meals to guests at the Center and go into its Harvesting Hope CSA, a biweekly box of vegetables, donations for which support the garden. Vegetables grown by From the Ground Up volunteers are distributed to local food shelters and food banks.
Jaques inherited Drop in the Bucket when the woman previously running the service moved out of town. He felt positioned to accept her offer that he take over. He worked construction at the time and had collected wood scraps from various building sites; these were awaiting the right project. Jaques found their use when he constructed the trailer he pulls behind his bike to carry the scraps. To learn the pick up process, he shadowed the young woman on her route of six or eight homes. Since then, says Jaques, “I’ve been side-swiped and amazed at how it took off. I met the right person after the right person after the right person.” Potential clients now contact him daily, thanks to word of mouth and organizations like Chico 350.
Most people who contract the service already know what to put in the bucket he delivers. “Sometimes I’ll suggest adding lint trap bunnies or the contents of their vacuum cleaner’s bag,” he says. Otherwise, it’s just pick up, clean out, and deliver. That and enjoy the networks he’s forming with like-minded people.
Currently, Jaques pedals twice a week, once through the Barber neighborhood—“Those food scraps don’t leave the neighborhood,” he brags; they are dropped at the Jesus Center garden. The second trip takes him and on a loop from Cal Park along the edge of Bidwell Park and over towards Palmetto Avenue. He has a couple more people building their own bike trailers, and once they finish, the additional pedal power will serve more homes.
If you want your home’s food scraps to get on the bike, phone or text Jason Jaques at 530.768.0961
Edible Shasta-Butte is the guide to local food, dining, and gardening in Northern California’s central valley from Butte County north to the Oregon border.