Community Composting

The Harley School has been composting for several years now, started by Chris Hartman and the student Green Team in order to create rich compost for the Harley Micro-farm. This has been widely successful–even to the point of generating more compost than we can use! In an effort to broaden our approach to composting (beyond banana peels and apple cores from snack), the Food and Farm Lab students in the Upper School, guided by Chris Hartman, have proposed that Harley partner with Community Composting to not only allow us to utilize their organizational resources so that we can compost all food waste, but also to bring composting to an institutional level in our ongoing pursuit of sustainable practices.
The details of  the launch plan for the test phase of working with Community Composting are below, as shared with the Harley administration from the Food and Farm Lab class members:
The overall mission here is to formalize a compost process that allows us:
  • to gather more organic waste and divert it from the landfill
  • to create a compost process that relies less on intermittent student involvement for its total success and operation
  • to create a compost process that aggregates less food scraps on our property
  • to have a sustainable compost program that is institutionalized within Harley’s operations
  • ultimately, to operate Harley in a more sustainable way.
The process as it is currently imagined is something like this:
  • US – MS: added to the infrastructure of the dish window area will be a garbage-like can labeled as COMPOST.  ALL food scraps, plate scrapings, snack scraps, etc. will go into that can.   There will also be a garbage can labeled LANDFILL for all trash and a garbage-like can labeled RECYCLE for all things recyclable.  There will be posted signage there on what we compost, what we throw away, and what we recycle.  We also have an idea about layout for all these cans…
  • LS: added to the infrastructure of the carts the students use to clear their stuff will be a container for COMPOST. Those containers will be emptied into the main garbage-like can by the kitchen staff as they clear LS lunch.
  • all LS, MS, and US snack areas will have smaller green buckets for compost that should be emptied into the main compost can in the dinning hall after snack each day (LS by the students, MS on the cart that goes up and down from snack, US in the dining hall.)
  • At the end of the day when the maintenance staff cleans the dining hall, they will roll the garbage-like can of compost outside, near the tennis courts, under the over-hang.
  • Each Monday morning, maintenance will make sure the cans of compost are rolled out to the loading dock area and readied for pickup by Community Compost.  Once the cans have been emptied and cleaned, empty cans will be rolled back to the outside area near the tennis courts ready for use.

The plan has been in action for about three weeks, and it seems to be running smoothly. Many thanks go out to our Dining Hall and Maintenance staff who are integral in implementing all aspects of this plan. Stay tuned for updates as they roll in!

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