Highfields Center for Composting has joined #GivingTuesday, a fundraiser that harnesses the collective power of a unique blend of partners—charities, families, businesses and individuals—to transform how people think about, talk about and participate in the giving season. Coinciding with the Thanksgiving Holiday and the kickoff of the holiday shopping season, #GivingTuesday inspires people to take collaborative action to improve their local communities.
On the agenda for the day was preparing John’s composting operation for the upcoming winter. We constructed a new worm bin, moved John’s food scraps and compost pile to inside his barn, and cleared out his chicken coop. I think John got a little worried about what he got himself into when I, along with a wheelbarrow full of partially decomposed food scraps fell one, two, then three times onto the barn floor. We laughed for a while, reworked my wheelbarrow route and then got right back to work.
Developing compost heat recovery at Highfields’ Compost Research and Education Facility is an effort to take a process that is fundamental to sustainable food and farm systems, composting, and develop new technology to yield a second value from the process – renewable energy in the form of recovered heat.
We're looking at the unique soil microbial communities found across composts made with different parent materials, using different methodologies (including worm composting), and at different stages throughout the process.
Hudak Farm serves as a composting site that accepts food scraps from schools and local businesses in the St. Albans region as a part of the Close the Loop! program, totaling about 4 or 5 tons of food scraps per week when all schools are in session.
James McSweeney and Noah Fishman, staff at Highfields Center for Composting, presented at REFOR13*, BioCycle Magazine’s 13th Annual Conference on Renewable Energy from Organics Recycling, held in Columbus, OH, on October 20-23, 2013.
Last spring, Lowell School started building a shed to house hot-compost bins that will be used to process the school’s food scraps. The unfinished shed has been sitting idle this fall. We decided its completion is past due!