Ambitious Educators Luwana Bawcum and Mary Glendura of Benton County dedicated themselves to teaching 18 scouts about herbs and composting. Luwana explains a great way to engage a young group of learners, "We played the Compost Game. A scout would pick an item out of a box and we would yell either "IN" or "OUT" of the compost pile. They also did a hands-on activity by making their own mini-composters in empty plastic water bottles, which were gathered from my recent Camden Garden Club bingo night fundraiser. The scouts were amazed to see that the one I had made a week earlier had already begun to turn into compost!"
And we are amazed too! Thank you Luwana and Mary for instilling a love and curiosity for the natural world of composting into the next generation. Happy composting, folks!
I work at the University of Memphis, Lambuth Campus in Jackson Tennessee. I started composting food scraps from the Blue Grey Cafe on our campus February 2018. I used a plastic tilt truck as my composting container, I drilled holes in the bottom and keep it covered with a tarp. First I filled it full of leaves that I collected on campus. Then I began adding whatever food scraps our Cafe left for me after their meal preps. I gave them a bucket with a lid and I checked it every afternoon. I did not start weighing the amount collected until Fall 2018. I only collect during the Spring and Fall semesters. Fall semester totaled 157 lbs of food waste diverted, so I estimate that if as much was collected in Spring, we diverted around 300 lbs of food waste in one year.
I use two large tilt trucks for the compost. I add to one in the spring and the other throughout the fall. I turn the bins with a pitchfork every time I add fresh materials. It takes about 2 months for the compost to finish decomposing and be ready to put out in the garden. I have successfully made one usable batch of compost since last year and my second batch will be ready to put out into our campus flower beds whenever we start planting this Spring. It is fulfilling to know that we have turned waste into a valuable resource for our campus. Recently we developed a poster informing faculty and students how to compost at home. I have added two vermicompost bins on campus as well! I am excited to use some of our shredded paper waste as their bedding and to see how much of the Cafe food waste they are able to consume.
-Submitted by Camille Sikes of Madison County.
Great work, Camille!
How can you initiate composting in your community?! Send your personal compost stories to firstname.lastname@example.org
Congratulations to Rhett Harrell for earning January's "Exemplary Composter of the Month". Rhett has shown great commitment to composting and has gone above and beyond in his efforts in Come, Post your Compost. Here is his personal composting story:
"I grew up learning a lot about gardening from my mom. She composted by the dig and dump method and after years had incredible garden soil. We recently moved to Tennessee from the Atlanta area and purchased a new home in Lenoir City. I am planning on building a garden in the coming months to grow vegetables for my family. I have started pricing out garden soil and compost and decided to try and produce as much compost as I can. Following a simple design I found from the Joe Gardener podcast, I collected a few pallets and started collecting compostable material. Shortly after hearing the podcast, I saw an advertisement promoting the “Come post your compost” and I signed up. I heard Starbucks would give out free coffee grounds and when I asked for the grounds my first time, I was surprised how many grounds were produced in just a few hours. Every time I pick up a bag at a local Starbucks, I still am shocked how many grounds are thrown away each day. The thing that makes me so happy is seeing my kids bring me material and ask if we can put it in the compost bin. They were shocked to see the steam rising from it the first time I turned it. Thank you Tennessee Environmental Council for this opportunity and we are all excited to see all the vegetables our garden will produce this summer."
Submitted by Kim Maltempo of Davidson County
When I first saw TN Environmental Council’s, Come, Post Your Compost, challenge, I immediately knew that I had to take part. We had been informally composting at our house since we moved in, 1.5 years ago, thanks to a small, steel composting bin that had been given to us as a housewarming gift. And, by “informally,” I mean collecting food scraps in the bin and taking it out to a little area we cleared off and just dumping them there. No real pen or parameters around our composting, just throwing it in a pile to see what would happen. A true scientific experiment at work. So, outdoors, the campaign allowed me to formalize my composting adventure – getting some chicken wire and erecting an enclosure, taking time to add in yard waste, attempting to create layers, and making the effort to turn the pile on some sort of infrequent schedule. Indoors, the campaign made my husband and I more cognizant about making sure our non-meat and non-dairy food scraps were making it into the compost bin every time, sometimes causing me to dive into the garbage can to rescue that avocado peel that was accidentally thrown away. Plus, in case you didn’t notice from the Pumpkin selfie contest, I love a good competition.
In addition to personal reasons for joining the campaign, there was also a professional reason. I work for the Greater Nashville Regional Council (GNRC), an organization that assists local communities in the 13 counties and 52 cities of Middle TN with the development of plans and programs that guide growth and development, working toward the long-term livability of the region in which we live. We look at planning efforts and projects from a big picture, regional impact scale, serving as a convener of local governments to come together and develop solutions to large issues that will impact the entire region, such as population growth, economic development activities, transportation and infrastructure challenges, affordable housing, and most recently, solid waste. What we put into the garbage, where its final resting place is, and the journey that it takes from our garbage cans to a landfill is sometimes a process that we, as busy humans, take for granted. But, around the region, local leaders have begun to become increasingly concerned about the capacity, lifespan, and operating costs of current landfills, limitations of meaningful recycling programs, and the lack of coordination among neighboring communities regarding this issue.
As an organization, we are working with these leaders and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) to address the above concerns and to build support for a process and framework for a regional solid waste plan. Viewing this issue from a regional lens will hopefully increase ongoing collaboration and effectiveness to plan for future solid waste facilities as demand continues to outpace capacity, increase education and marketing of services to residents and businesses, and create more streamlined and economical recycling programs across the region. This all can’t happen in a vacuum though. Everyone plays a part in reducing and diverting waste heading to landfills. That’s why the Come, Post Your Compost, campaign is so important. No matter how insignificant you think your contribution is, the less food scraps and yard waste going into the garbage helps to combat the strain being placed upon our landfills. So, please keep on composting!
Congratulations to Davidson County composters for winning our Holiday Compost Competition! Due to the hard work of these dedicated composters, $150 has been donated to Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee which will provide 1,200 meals to the hungry. Thanks for helping us turn food waste into meals this holiday season! #ComePostyourCompost
Amanda Holmes of Davidson County is the lucky winner of our monthly raffle drawing. Simply by composting with us, Amanda was able to earn a cash prize!! Thank you Amanda as well as other composters for sending us your totals and participating in #ComePostYourCompost. Continue to encourage your friends and neighbors to compost and help our compost community to grow!
Kim Maltempo from Davidson County won Best Pumpkin Selfie for our fall season competition. As you can see Kim killed this contest! She earned a $50 Visa card and the title of Selfie-PumpQueen!
Thanks, Kim, for getting so creative with your composts submissions and helping us to achieve our goal of diverting 60 tons of food waste.
Stay tuned for future competitions so YOU can win too! Keep having fun with your compost pictures and tag us in them #ComePostYourCompost.