Campus garden group teaches two to compost
The organizers of the campus gardens taught students about sustainable methods for creating odorless compost in their own backyards. Marriott Library’s Green Committee spoke to only two students during the Tuesday event.
More than 30 percent of fossil fuels burned by humans is associated with growing food, said Campus Garden Coordinator Alexandra Parvaz. She said the solution is to grow locally.
The campus gardens minimize the dependence on fossil fuels. The two gardens, the Sill Garden and Pioneer Garden, work with the farmers market during the summer and sell directly to Chartwells, the company that manages the Union Cafeteria.
Although the Edible Campus Gardens Project receives help from various departments, the gardens don’t formally exist in the Campus Master Plan. Construction on campus has made it difficult for the gardens to expand.
Clayton Andersen, a senior in environmental studies and a composting intern with the gardens, presented the four main parts of composting: water, oxygen, carbon sources and nitrogen sources. Carbon sources — or brown material — are things such as leaves, hay, straw and certain types of cardboard. He hopes students recognize the simplicity of creating a pile of compost for their own gardens.
“It’s not a bad idea to leave a pile of leaves around, even if they’re out in the open,” Andersen said. “We’ve also been thinking about using the leftover newspapers for carbon source.”
Nitrogen sources — or green material — are just as easy to find. Kitchen scraps and leaves cut off of flowers are all considered nitrogen sources. During the past 18 months, the Union has provided between 500 and 600 pounds of green material for the gardens. This comes from chefs voluntarily separating usable materials from unusable materials.
Marriott Library’s Green Committee’s mission is to teach students how to grow foods by more sustainable methods, educate the ecological processes, teach healthy nutrition and promote the possibilities of urban sustainable agriculture.