Good, nutrient rich soil is the foundation of any farm. To make sure Common Good has the very best soil possible, and to do our part in recycling waste, we've set up an awesome composting program. Here's a short update from Niko, the compost manager for Common Good City Farm. You may have seen Niko perched on top of the 5-foot high hay piles or shoveling food waste on the farm!
Here at Common Good we use modified windrows, which contain about 1000 lbs. of recycled food layered into hay. To date, we have seven of these enormous piles. They may look like plain hay bales from the outside, but inside there is a lot of action taking place! The waste is managed for about three months with regular turning and monitoring of the internal temperature (it reaches temperatures of 150 degrees Fahrenheit!) until it is finally removed from the "row" and sifted into usable soil.
Common Good just started with this method in October 2011, so we are still learning how to perfect it. We plan on testing the finished compost soon for nutrient composition and are excited to use it in our beds in the 2013 growing season, if not sooner! This innovative program owes its success to our food scrap contributors Blind Dog Café, Chocolate City Brewing Company, and Thai Xing, as well as partner Compost Cab. We also depend on regular volunteers Brian Beall, Isabelle Mulin, Justin Park, and Marcie Kriebel!
Finally, a special thanks to Daron Joffe of Farmer D organics, who helped develop the Common Good compost method and continues to advise us on this ongoing project. You can get involved too, by contributing your kitchen scraps!