We’re seeing tremendous interest from academic institutions as they further their campus sustainability missions by including composting of food waste. There really is no better place than a college/university campus to set this type of example for students, as well as utilize the system as a learning laboratory. It’s really a win-win for the students and the university.
Colorado State University is taking it further when they present their system this month at the annual conference for the Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). We’ll be at the conference too, networking and mingling with the representatives of all types of academic institutions. (Be sure to email us if you’d like to meet up at the conference!) CSU will be sharing their experiences with using our system and how they have incorporated it in to their campus farm and coordinated with the dining services group.
We were back at their facility in Fort Collins, Colorado earlier this summer, to check-in, and offer any advice on how to optimize the performance of the system. While there, it dawned on us how cool it would be if we could solicit a corporate sponsor to put up a “Million Pound Challenge” for campuses nationwide. The idea would be to incentivize campuses to achieve the milestone of diverting a million pounds of organic waste from their local landfills. Campuses could enroll, monitor, measure, and report their achievement and once validated, perhaps the school would receive some sort of grant fund or other prize. We think this would be a valuable program to implement.
We’ll be at the United States Composting Council Conference and Tradeshowin January 2013, and we’ll seek out a potential corporate partner there. Perhaps we can get this idea off of the ground early in the New Year!
Regarding the “living laboratory” benefit of our systems being used on academic institution campuses, we recently presented a poster in Corvallis, Oregon at the annual conference of the Sustainable Agriculture Education Association (SAEA). At this gathering, we again presented our in-vessel composting systems (Earth Tub and Earth Flow) as powerful tools for educators to utilize when teaching the concepts of composting science and applied composting technology on their campuses.
What a powerful teaching moment for these folks to be able to use a real, active, composting system, right on their campus. It really helps them “close the loop,” as they connect their students from farm to table, and then back to the farm with beautiful, rich, compost. These are priceless lessons for the students to take from their higher education experience. Who knows, maybe it would inspire someone to pursue composting science and technology for their career! We’re sure glad we did!
—–The Green Mountain Technology Team