by Blake Redding, Coordinator for Residential Education, Stevenson College
For the past four years, Stevenson College community members have worked as team to promote sustainable living, community, beauty, and good food -- by composting! This partnership evolved with the help of the Student Environmental Center who brought together numerous stakeholders in 2013 to discuss mutual goals.
We've ended up with an in-house composting program that takes in food scraps from the Stevenson Coffee House and from residential apartments and residence halls from Stevenson, Cowell, Crown and Merrill, brought to us by the East Waste Reduction crew at Campus Facilities. The food scraps then get mixed with straw, leaves, garden waste, manure, and water and formed into perfect compost piles by the Stevenson Garden crew. Millions of micro-organisms then break down the waste, with the help of the Stevenson Garden crew who turn the piles to provide air for those little creatures.
After a few weeks, the waste is unrecognizable, mellow, and ready to be sifted into a beautiful garden mulch/fertilizer that we refer to as "Black Gold". We take the finished compost and work it into the garden soil with every new planting, helping to regenerate the soil and closing the loop on this sustainable system. Community members also participate by providing their food scraps, by attending garden workdays to turn the compost and work the soil, and by harvesting food and flowers that come from the rich soil. It all starts with the soil.
Come out to the Stevenson Garden on Friday afternoons for the community work-day, or check our bulletin board and Facebook page for additional volunteer opportunities and events.