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Restore Composting Food Waste

WHS Restore: Composting & Food Waste
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Our Earth Science team decided that we would build composting and soil health into our unit on the Geosphere. The unit began not so interestingly with basic information about soil horizons, soil profiles and the texture triangle. We pivoted our lessons from here to talk about sustainable farming, soil enrichment and the food waste issues at every level in the supply chain. We didn’t take pictures of students while we were giving notes or while they were completing research. David Thorton, former director of Clemson University’s composting facility was scheduled to give an informational talk to Green Steps and our Earth Science classes, unfortunately school was cancelled due to the corona virus.

Composting DO Soda Bottle Bioreactors
Earth Science students rescued plastic bottles from our recycling bins and from home to make the soda bottle bioreactors aka mini composters for the classroom. Students gathered browns or carbon sources from campus; mainly lots of leaves, small sticks, sawdust from the Ag shop and paper from the recycling bins. Students also rescued food greens from the share table in the cafeteria, from their refrigerators and I rescued 3 boxes of “unfit” fruits and vegetable from our local Ingles in West Union. Students were especially excited out the rescued food after watching several videos on food waste in America. Our Family and Consumer Science teacher lent us lots of good cutting boards and knives. Enjoy the photos of students enjoying the hands-on construction phase of building the bioreactors and chopping up rescued food.

Composting DO at Home
One of our Green Steppers decided to build his own composter at home after the at home unit on Don’t Waste Food SC. In the pictures in the attachment below, you can see Brady making his composter at home with his family. In the second row of photos Brady is checking the temperature of the compost for thermophilic activity, adding table scraps and unwanted food from his kitchen and mixing it all up. 

Vermicomposting DO at Home
One of our teachers gets medication delivered in a Styrofoam cooler every month. She gifted these coolers to Green Steps! Earth Science students prepped the coolers by adding the right ratio of browns to greens while they were making their soda bottle composters. Green Steps students spray painted them with the Green Steps logo and added red wigglers we bought from Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm to them. Four composters were sent home with teachers and administrators for them to babysit. Here are some pictures of them in action at their homesteads. 

Roller Bin Composting At School DO
After we established the soda bottle bioreactors students were introduced to our rolling composter outside. Earth Science and Green Steps classes got in habit of getting leftover foods from the share table in the cafeteria, chipping it up and adding the food to the vermicomposters and the rolling bin outside. Next year we’d like to develop a monitoring system to help students evaluate the effectiveness of the composting process. Check out these students in action!

Composting Teach
Students made informational flyers about both food waste and composting. We posted these up around the school in the hallways to help spread the word about these issues and to raise awareness of our efforts to compost and use food waste from school in our bins.

Click the attachment below to see pictures.
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Jeanne Craig,
Apr 30, 2020, 6:58 AM