Mill Road Composts!
Composting garden waste has always been a core practice of our gardening program. In 2019, we were delighted to extend that program to our school cafeterias and begin collecting food scraps and composting them on site. Our compost program begins in the classroom with education, and continues with practice that is ultimately deepened by firsthand observation of the decomposition process.
During garden classes, students learn about the environmental impact of throwing food away, then problem solve to envision better solutions for dealing with leftover food. Lessons include sorting waste and calculating the improvements made, observing red wiggler worms from the worm bin, measuring the temperature of the compost pile and, finally, sifting finished compost before delivering it to the garden.
Older students in grades 3-5 have the opportunity to be sustainability leaders by participating on the "Green Team." At the end of each lunch period, the Green Team members remind students in both cafeterias about the rules for what goes in each bin, making sure only things that come from a plant land in our compost.
After lunch, the food scraps are emptied into aerated microbins and mixed with woodchips. The microbins have a pipe that runs through the base and is attached to a fan. The fan turns on at regular intervals, delivering the oxygen that is necessary to maintain a healthy environment for all the decomposers inside. After a month or two, the contents of the bin is ready to be emptied and finished in a pile out by the garden. This spring we are looking forward to using our first load of compost from cafeteria food scraps in our garden!
To find out more about composting at Mill Road, or to lend a hand, please email Alexi Bolton at email@example.com.