The best outcome of the Compost Club work is simple grassroots change. Our ten school wide compost systems have diverted 100 tons of food scraps from the landfill. We seem to add one school each year to our effort. Waste stays onsite and gets recycled back to a resource. Pretty simple, yet important.
Based on our successes, we are ready to initiate a farm model. After completing an eight month Beginning Farmer Program, we have a formal business plan. This will allow us to start up a production oriented worm farm that brings income and lessens our dependence on grants and donations that fund our school program work. The existence of a Beginning Farmer program provided us the knowledge to get to this point, and reinforced the value of education whether you are on the side of educator or student.
I am reminded and humbled by what inspired me to do what I am doing today. Fifteen years ago, I served in the The Peace Corps in Panama. As a volunteer there, I found a need to raise capital (grants) to expand a Farmer to Farmer education program that I helped lead, and the $3,000 we raised improved agricultural conditions for more than 20 communities.
A few weeks ago, I came across Thomas Barnes, a current Peace Corps volunteer in Panama doing much the same work , in the same region, for the same critical purposes. Thomas had raised the majority of funds needed to create an Organic Agriculture Training Center program at a school in his community (project cost $1600), and we kicked in our own funds to help them get closer. As of this week, the project is now fully funded . You can follow and learn more about the project on our new page – Panama Projects.
You might say that raising agricultural literacy is at the heart of all things compost, and that the true purpose of composting is the wiser use of our resources whether in an impoverished nation or a developed one like our own.