Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Compost Bucket's Humble Journey

Composting is a healthy way to use your scraps to help the earth. No one should heal with nature without reciprocating and healing nature, too.

The Compost Bucket's Humble Journey

Many Aquidneck Growers Market customers are familiar with our Food Scrap Program--perhaps your household even participates!  After paying a one-time $20 deposit (when you return the bucket for good, you'll get $10 back), you can pick up a five-gallon bucket at the market on Wednesday or Saturday to fill with your food scraps (we’ll get to the “Do’s” and “Don’ts” in a moment). Once your bucket is full, you can simply return it to the market in exchange for an empty one: a perfect solution for those of us with little or no yard space. But what happens to your food scraps after you drop them off?
  • The Scraps: Many of the food scraps from your kitchen that would typically go to waste are fair game for the compost bucket: fruits, vegetables, eggshells, and coffee grounds are all great. What should you avoid? Horus Khuit, who runs the food scrap program, advises against non-organic citrus peels due to harsh pesticides and preservatives sprayed onto the peels; dryer lint, as it includes synthetic materials; and anything other than trace amounts of meat, as it will putrefy and attract animals—yuck! Small remnants of dairy and bread are alright, but not ideal.
  • Drop-off: Once you drop off your bucket, Horus records all of the data regarding how many buckets were returned or taken (helpful tip: if you return a bucket that is not full, please take a moment to check other buckets and see if you can consolidate your scraps. Sometimes we run low on buckets, and this will help ensure that everyone participating in the program gets to take home an empty one!
  • Island Community Farm: The food scrap buckets are transported to Island Community Farm in Middletown, where a large compost pile resides. Horus mixes leaf debris from a local landscaping contractor with the food scraps, using a tractor to push the newer scraps toward the middle of the pile.
  • Nature Works Her Magic: Here’s where the magic/science comes in. The breakdown of carbonous materials (that would be the food scraps, leaf debris, and anything else organic or once-living) creates heat in the compost pile—see the steam rising from the pile in the top photo? This heat helps breed microbes, which are eaten by worms and released as nutrient-loaded waste.
  • Resting Up: The compost then gets a well-deserved rest. Horus continues to mill the compost with a tractor: “aeration and rotation are the best ways to keep the bacteria happy and doing their thing,” he says.
Finished Compost: Depending on factors like temperature, moisture, and the ratio of carbon to nitrogen, the compost will take several months to complete its process. This particular compost goes toward gardens at Island Community Farm in Middletown, and now to the Community Garden Initiative, a new project of ACT! “By composting, you’re keeping food out of the waste system and reducing the material going into landfills,” Horus says.

Share this:

Post a Comment

Back To Top
Copyright © 2014 Mind Key, the blog. Designed by OddThemes