Press release from the University of Vermont Extension Master Gardener program:
COMMUNITY GARDEN PROJECT TURNS
FOOD SCRAPS INTO BLACK GOLD
Montpelier–When gardeners return to The Garden at 485 Elm in Montpelier next spring, they’ll have a ready supply of “black gold” for their gardens.
That’s thanks to a project dubbed Compostville that was completed this past summer by site co-coordinator Hannah Morris and other volunteers. Morris, a Montpelier resident, created a new compost system that will allow the gardeners to turn food scraps, leaves and other organic matter into nutrient-rich compost for the collaboratively grown community garden.
“Organizing Compostville came about in a fairly logical progression,” Morris explains. “I took the University of Vermont Extension Master Composter course in October 2015 and also attended the NOFA-VT winter conference during which I took part in a workshop about composting at schools. With this knowledge, I entered the 2016 growing season more heavily involved in the leadership and organizational side of the community garden.”
Morris, who also is a certified Extension Master Gardener, was one of 61 Vermonters who completed the Extension Master Composter course last year along with the required volunteer hours to become a certified Master Composter. The course is offered in alternate years by the UVM Extension Master Gardener program with funding from the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation.
It is designed to teach the basics of backyard composting. Graduates have the option of completing 20 volunteer hours in a two-year period to earn certification as an Extension Master Composter.
To fulfill her volunteer requirement, Morris researched plans for a three-bin compost system online. At the time, the garden had one large bin, essentially a pile that was unwieldy to turn over since it was so large. And there was no place to turn it to facilitate the breakdown of organic matter into compost.
“After gathering information and pricing out materials, I ran the budget by Chris Adams and Sheryl Rapee-Adams, our garden managers who own the land and materials where the garden is located. They approved it all.
“When spring rolled around, I ordered the materials. During a community garden work party, several of us worked together to build it. And thus began Compostville.”
The Garden at 485 Elm was started in 2014 as a community garden to teach gardening as well as to grow food collaboratively for the participating gardeners and to donate to local churches and non-profit organizations in central Vermont. It is part of the Vermont Community Garden Network and includes a 1/4-acre vegetable garden along with herb and pollinator gardens.
To learn more, visit www.thegardenat485elm.org. For information on the Master Composter program, go to www.uvm.edu/mastergardener or call (802) 656-9562.