From Food – to Vermicomposter – Back to Food
Our vision is to have our students start their food from seed, grow their food, prepare and preserve their food, reduce the waste to landfills of their food, and produce food based on using the compost from their previous food waste. This process shows students how their actions can impact the environment starting with their food choice and how they grow their food.
Students in September start the harvest from the previous year. The excess plant material is placed into the green composter (we have four separate compost areas so they learn about each one). The food is processed in our kitchen and the students learn processing and canning. As they produce waste they place it in our outdoor food waste composter. This led us to look into the vermicomposter to create an even better compost for our herb gardens and greenhouse. Our school feeds 450 students a day and generates a great deal of food waste from our kitchen and ALLP room. During the summer we usually grow pumpkins and squash on the composter so the kids could see how their waste was recycled relatively quickly. The students test the soil and turn the compost.
After watching The Biggest Little Farm, the students wanted to see if we could get a vermicomposter and reduce even more waste faster and feed the tea and the castings to the planted gardens. Students were highly engaged in taking care of the worms and seeing how their lunches were quickly turned into compost using the worms and vermicomposter. Through this process they diverted approximately 45 kg in the first month of food waste and generated about 8 kg of soil.
Reflection & Celebration
Since this is now an embedded practice, we really have not celebrated yet as an overall achievement. This project has helped engage many students that struggle to engage day to day, especially when it comes to environmental stewardship. Small projects always lead to bigger changes as they require small personal changes and reflections which then show people that their actions can have an effect.