Indian River High Vermicomposting Project
Our school is located in Green Bay Newfoundland and Labrador. We have a limited waste management program – currently very little is included in our curbside recycling and there is not an organics collection program. Our students are keen to address climate change by removing some of the organics from the waste stream currently entering the landfill in our area. They see the waste from the cafeteria and breakfast program going into our trash and were concerned that it could be diverted and subsequently composted. The compost could then be provided to the new community garden.
The project was inspired by the student volunteers in our Kids Eat Smart Breakfast program. Their involvement means they are aware of how much organic waste goes into our regular garbage. They decided they would like to start a composting program. Since we live on an island they are aware that the waste we produce either has to be dealt with here or shipped off the island. The responsible action is to deal with the waste before it needs to be buried or shipped elsewhere.
Students will build the composters (using the LSF recipe), collect and add organic waste from our breakfast program to the composters and distribute the resulting soil to the community garden. This program will allow students to 1) learn about the composting process, 2) divert waste from the landfill; 3) lead by example – perhaps encouraging older citizens to become part of the program; 4) provide a community service by giving the soil to the community garden; 5) increase food security by enhancing the soil in the community garden and 6) increase communication skills through presentations to the general public on their program. Economically they are not only providing soil free of charge to the community garden but also extending the life of the landfill (expensive to develop and manage) by diverting a large portion of the waste currently being buried. Socially – the students are taking control of an issue that is at the heart of the larger climate change issue – taking ownership of a problem that is very much at the forefront of their generations concerns while also establishing composting as the norm as opposed to the exception for waste management. Environmentally the composting program not only diverts waste from landfills but also provides a viable product at the end – enhances understanding of Biogeochemical cycles – especially the role of worms, bacteria and other microorganisms in the process. We are hoping that we will be able to grow the project so that students may be able to harvest the worms to take home and start their own home composting programs.
Reflection & Celebration
Our Project was *slightly* derailed with the onset of the Covid-19 Pandemic. We received our vermicomposting supplies on March 12th and set up the bins that evening. Unfortunately, our school closed on March 17th due to the pandemic and only re-opened September 2020 with limited access for students to extra curricular activities. The vermicomposting bins were housed at the home of a teacher who kept them going until school re-opened. We are in the process of starting the project at school again now that the breakfast program is up and running and we have organic waste being generated at the school