COMPOSTING AT EARLHAM

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WHO SHOULD I CONTACT IF MY COMPOST IS NOT BEING PICKED UP? Contact: Dan Horowitz (horowda@earlham.edu)

WHERE CAN I COMPOST:

  1. In the dining hall: Next to the trash bins where trays are also brought, there is a separate can for compostable items.
  2. All college houses have one five gallon compost bucket.
  3. Clear Creek Food Co-op: Inside the co-op there is a bucket for waste generated from daily lunches, as well as a large trash can outside of the co-op, on the Barrett side.

WHAT CAN I COMPOST: *All food except meat and dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt, etc.)

WHERE DOES THE COMPOST GO and HOW DOES IT GET THERE? All compost generated at Earlham goes out to Miller Farm. Miller Farm is a college-owned, student-run farm located on Abington Pike. For more info go to http://www.millerfarm.org Two to three student workers are hired each semester on a work-study basis to transport the compost out to the farm. Bikes are used to carry the compost out on a regular basis depending on pick-up location. The compost is then used on gardens maintained by the residents of Miller Farm throughout the growing season.

WHY DOES EARLHAM COMPOST?

We compost to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill and to benefit the student-run agriculture program based at Miller Farm. Food waste that goes out to Miller Farm would otherwise go with the rest of trash to the Richmond landfill. By composting, over time, we significantly reduce the amount of waste we produce. And, the soil at Miller Farm is enriched by the application of the compost.

HOW IS THE COMPOST USED AT MILLER FARM?

Compost is brought from the dining hall and put in a pile where it begins to decompose. Successive loads of compost result in a mass of ‘organic matter’ which generates heat via the decomposition process. A variety of organisms (aerobic bacteria, fungi, actinomycetes and macroorgamisms such as earthworms)consume the nutrients available in leftover food and help to produce 'humus.' Humus-a soil-like substance-is incorporated into the soil and improves soil structure, increases moisture retention, and increases the availability of nutrients and minerals for plant growth. Residents of Miller Farm manage the compost piles and use the humus after spring tillage to add organic matter to the soil. The compost is applied when necessary during the growing season to strengthen soil balance and prevent pest and disease spread. It is sometimes used again after fall harvest and before a winter cover crop is sown to build soil quality over the winter.

For more information on compost and composting go to: <www.cfe.cornell.edu/wmi/Composting.html>, <css.wsu.edu/compost/>
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