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Breaking It Down: Hot Topic at Croydon Workshop: Composting

  • Mark Hutchinson, Extension Educator at the University of Maine and Instructor at the Maine Composting School, takes the temperature of a large compost pile while giving a tour of a composting site on Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017, during the second day of Composting Training: Successful Municipal and Institutional Design at Always Something Farm in Croydon, N.H. The two-day composting workshop was held to give current and potential composters the skills to develop their own site, produce valuable compost, and manage feedstock, said Victoria Davis, Planner at the Upper Valley Lake Sunapee Regional Planning Commission. (Valley News - Charles Hatcher) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Brittany Cazeault, of BC Construction in Greenville, R.I., reacts to the smell of a container of food waste during a compost feedstock exercise with Frankie DiCenzo, of BC Construction, and Tara Albert, with the Department of Enviromental Services in Concord, N.H., on Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017, as part of Composting Training: Successful Municipal and Institutional Design at Always Something Farm in Croydon, N.H. The week-old container contained mostly rice, whole potatoes and french fries. (Valley News - Charles Hatcher) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Two temperature gauges sit in a large compost pile on Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017, during the second day of Composting Training: Successful Municipal and Institutional Design at Always Something Farm in Croydon, N.H. (Valley News - Charles Hatcher) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Mark Hutchinson, Extension Educator at the University of Maine and Instructor at the Maine Composting School, talks to workshop participants about composting feedstocks on Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017, during Composting Training: Successful Municipal and Institutional Design at Always Something Farm in Croydon, N.H. Hutchinson went over different characteristics of composting feedstocks and taught the best ways to combine compost ingredients. (Valley News - Charles Hatcher) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Joe Demers, with the City of Manchester, N.H., takes notes while examining a bag of shredded paper for a compost feedstock exercise on Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017, during Composting Training: Successful Municipal and Institutional Design at Always Something Farm in Croydon, N.H. During the compost feedstock exercise, workshop participants graded different feedstocks based on moisture, carbon to nitrogen ratio, density, texture, odor and energy levels. (Valley News - Charles Hatcher) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Gary Quimby, owner of Always Something Farm in Croydon, N.H., dumps unfinished compost, made during a compost pile construction excercise, onto a larger pile on Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017, during the second day of Composting Training: Successful Municipal and Institutional Design at Always Something Farm. The two-day composting workshop was held at Quimby's farm. (Valley News - Charles Hatcher) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Lawrence Carpenter, with the Lebanon Solid Waste Facility, eats a sandwich on the bed of a City of Lebanon Public Works truck on Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017, during the first day of Composting Training: Successful Municipal and Institutional Design at Always Something Farm in Croydon, N.H. (Valley News - Charles Hatcher) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.



BY CHARLES HATCHER
Saturday, August 19, 2017

Croydon — On Gary Quimby’s Always Something Farm in Croydon, there’s almost always something compostable.

That was one of the lessons learned by the 30 or so participants in a two-day workshop on municipal composting held earlier this month at Quimby’s farm.

The workshop, titled Composting Training: Successful Municipal and Institutional Design, was provided by the Upper Valley Lake Sunapee Regional Planning Commission, the Northeast Recycling Council in Brattleboro, Vt., and the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services. Participants paid a small fee for food and materials. Workshop attendees included municipal employees, representatives of businesses and institutions, and entrepreneurs in the agricultural field.

Classroom sessions were held in Quimby’s two-door garage. The group learned about municipal and institutional composting programs, what can be done with food waste before resorting to composting, compost biology and New Hampshire’s composting regulations.

Athena Lee Bradley, projects manager with the Northeast Recycling Council, talked to the group about reducing the “yuck factor” when working to persuade people and institutions to compost their food waste.

“Tell them to line bins with compostable bags and empty them weekly,” Bradley said. “Wash bins with vinegar to reduce the yuck factor and keep odors down. A small layer of sawdust over a compost pile can keep odor and bears away.”

Mark Hutchinson, an extension professor at the University Maine Cooperative Extension in Waldoboro and instructor at the Maine Composting School, led the groups in hands-on exercises.

On the first day, workshop attendees were given the task of identifying and grading 12 bins, bags and buckets of different compostable ingredients based on moisture content, carbon-to-nitrogen ratio, density, texture, energy content and odor. The group examined, touched — and smelled — everything from woodchips and shredded paper, to week-old food waste and chicken manure.

On day two, after breakfast, the workshop split into groups and created their own compost piles with the same bins, bags and buckets. After the exercise, and a few more classroom sessions, the group went to a large-scale composting site at Always Something Farm on Route 10, to take its temperature and talk about how the site functioned.