Skerries Allotments Host Master Composting Course
Throughout the month of October Skerries hosted a “Master Composter” course run and sponsored by Fingal County Council.
The course was a two-pronged affair with the twin aims of educating people to waste less food and make compost out of household green waste that would otherwise go for kerbside collection.
The ethos of the first part is pretty simple: globally we waste 40% of food; and we shouldn’t. Not only is it an obvious waste of food, but that same food cost an awful amount of global resources to grow in the first place. Fossil fuels, sprays and chemicals and, an ever diminishing worldwide commodity, water.
To use all these resources and then throw 40% of the product away is a nonsensical irresponsibility. But we all do it, and for all different reasons:
We want our fruit and veg perfectly uniform and in supermarket showroom condition. But what’s actually wrong with a bent carrot or not quite round cauliflower?
We buy too much and what we don’t eat in time goes in the bin. Stuff goes into the fridge, works its way to the back and quietly breeds penicillin before it too gets thrown out. Fridges were never meant to be compost pre-digestors.
We, well some of us, are slaves to ‘use by’ and ‘best before’ dates. A yoghurt that was perfectly acceptable and in date today is not going to kill you if you have it for breakfast tomorrow. Best before dates were never intended to replace common sense; sadly, it would appear that they have.
But even if one cuts one’s waste to a minimum there’s still going to be something for the bin. Those who take the trouble to segregate their waste and use the brown bin (sadly not everyone) can rest assured that it will be composted and turned into something useful. But at a cost. That cost is diesel, road miles and carbon footprint. If something in effect is transported from a house, processed, and then returned as a bag of compost for that same house (or one like it) then we have a waste of energy.
This is the ethos of the second part.
So having done the theory in the comfort of the Mills, we all went up to the allotments to get on with the practical side of things.
Craig Benton was our mentor and he showed us how to set up leaf bins, hot and cold composting systems, and how to make a wormery.
Having done that, a gang of conscripted labourers (or ‘volunteers’ as they are also known) got stuck in and constructed a purpose-built composting facility out of concrete blocks.
It is intended that this be for the benefit of allotment holders as yet unsure of the alchemical mysteries of composting but who would like to learn as a group. And then share the spoils.
Contact Mary Marsden if you’re interested.
Thanks must go to FCC for funding the initiative, Craig for his excellent tutelage and to Mary for pestering Fingal until they gave in and authorised the course