We will be closed on December 23rd and 30th for the holidays. We re-open on January 6th, 2024.

Meet the Core Team

The Compost Collective is run by volunteers dedicated to environmental education.

Carlos Pesantes

Founder · Executive Director · Master Composter · Beekeeper · Board Member · Core Member

Carlos A. Pesantes is a native of Lima, Peru who immigrated to the USA in the early 80’s. He grew up in Brooklyn and Queens, attended public school, and graduated with a degree in Biology and Anthropology from Queens College. Carlos served in the US Army, which inspired his love of service. He has worked in public health as an Environmental Scientist and Community Coordinator for over 15 years. He provided emergency assistance to NYC in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy (Irma and Maria in PR), the Ebola, Legionella, Zika, and Measles outbreaks, as well as throughout the COVID pandemic.

Feeling frustrated with the lack of response to environmental issues, he examined his own personal choices, decided to join a local CSA, started a food scrap drop off in his community, and become a Master Composter. This addressed food waste at the source, counter-balanced habitual consumerism, and reduced carbon footprints. The Compost Collective was officially formed in 2012 and moved to its current location on Yellowstone at that time. It has now grown to serve over 500 households in the local Forest Hills area.

Carlos believes in the power of connection, inclusion, balance and youth empowerment. Although he knows change begins with one person, he sees our collective power can create long-lasting effects for generations to come. In his spare time, Carlos enjoys reading, gardening, beekeeping, playing music, cooking and a good cup of tea!

Maritza Navarro

Administrative Director · Board Member · Core Member

Maritza joined The Compost Collective in 2021 and hit the ground running! She joined our Board and became a Core Member in 2022. Maritza is a talented and self-reliant Executive Assistant with over 10 years success in providing administrative support to all levels of management. Relevant experience includes planning, organizing, and problem-solving to ensure the completion of deadline-driven projects. Known as a passionate person who embraces new challenges, she uses her positive attitude to encourage others to thrive and succeed. Maritza received her BA from St. Francis College in History. In her spare time she likes to hike, travel, read, and garden.

Renee Rivera

Co-Founder · Chief Operating Officer · Board Member · Core Member

Renee became passionate about composting around 2008 after observing the process at a friend's Organic Farm in Colorado. She joined The Compost Collective's (TCC) original project, Feed the Gardens Compost, at The-Church-in-the-Gardens in 2009 where local FH CSA members joined together to make a difference.

She volunteered at the FH Farmers Market FSDO with DSNY and BIG, assisted in coordinating local Beautification Projects, farmed at Project Eden, and has devoted over a decade to clearing and preparing TCC's current location in Forest Hills, Queens. Renee has been a Core Member since 2009 and is TCC's COO.

She grew up in Savannah, GA and Upstate NY, and has lived in NYC for over 25 years. She is securing a Therapeutic Horticulture (TH) Certificate from NYBG, where she hopes to combine her Mental Health Training with TH in order to offer unique healing options to those looking for additional coping tools for life's challenges. She understands the importance of community, quality of life, and being part of something bigger than yourself. She believes everyone has gifts to offer and helps to create opportunities for people of all ages, cultures and capabilities to grow, create, connect, and increase their overall well-being. She understands that we are all connected and that together we can be part of the solution to climate change. She enjoys gardening, organizing, reading, baking, beautifying everything she sees and trying to leave the world a little better than she found it.