Because nutrient density starts and ends with the soil, the Compost Team works to institutionalize this ecologically sensible and time-honored tradition on campus.
3-Bin System Composting
Since the Campus Garden was founded in 2008, students have used permaculture methods that accelerate natural processes to create finished compost in 18 days. Their technique, which they teach in workshops for community members, can be easily replicated in backyards to reduce household organic waste.
Students create a new 18-day compost pile at the campus garden.
Aerated Static Pile Composting
The Compost Team uses a small micro-bin to test the recipe composition for efficient composting in a large aerated static pile, in which a small fan blows oxygen into a pile to hasten its decomposition into finished compost. This method can accommodate a large volume of food scraps and offset some of the organic waste from the Dining Hall. The compost finishes in 30 days.
The Compost Team promotes vermicomposting around campus, and even has a outdoor worm pit thermally regulated with a salvaged cooler, buried in the ground.
The Student Government Association has begun to explore the logistics of diverting all organic waste from the Dining Hall to an educational composting site at Sassafras Environmental Education Center (SEEC). By building soil fertility with compost, SEEC is working to supply the Eastern Shore Food Lab with nutrient-dense produce for teaching community members how to prepare nourishing food grown locally and sustainably.
The Compost Team prepares a batch of popcorn with healthy fats for an educational movie night at the eastern shore Food Lab.
Soil Food Web Education
The Compost Team screens films, coordinates field trips to learn about composting systems, and is working to establish more educational demonstration examples of soil-building techniques in the Campus Garden.
Students representing diverse majors are involved in the campus composting effort, and have an eye toward becoming self-sufficient in operational costs, helping to strengthen environmental and financial stewardship of the college. For inquiries about the campus composting effort, contact Shane Brill ’03 M’11. To learn more about the Compost Team, contact Emily Hurley '23.
A screening of Dirt! The Movie in the Food Lab builds excitement about the importance of composting.
students are ready to ramp up campus composting after watching Dirt! The Movie