Driving Change in Higher Education.

Green initiatives at Lake Superior College

By Heather Rantala
Lake Superior College

As I entered with a banana peel in one hand, the sun’s warming of the room enveloped me. The Atrium was filled with the delicate earthy scent of dirt and plant-life. Dotted with green wicker furniture that gives the room a summery feel no matter the season, the room was welcoming and students sat at a few tables conversing. No one looked at me strangely as I approached the bins of dirt under the stairs and began to dig a hole; I was about to return my banana peel to the earth. Burying it completely, so that the red worms would be able to do their job and eat it, I washed my hands and continued my day. It hadn’t taken much, but I felt as though I had accomplished something. This compost would one day help raise seedlings for Lake Superior College (LSC)’s annual plant sale. Composting is just one of many green initiatives at LSC.

LSC was designed to change to meet the needs of nature around it. Students are encouraged to engage in outdoor activities such as disc golf and hiking on the campus trails. The garden club grows produce which they donate to the campus food shelf. These activities go into dormancy during the cold winter months, but indoor projects such as the potted herb garden and composting make the warmth of the Atrium welcoming.

Some guidelines to follow when composting from the Garden Organic website:

Anything that was once living will compost, but some items are best avoided. Meat, dairy and cooked food can attract vermin and should not be home-composted. 

For best results, use a mixture of types of ingredient. The right balance is something learned through experience, but a rough guide is to use equal amounts by volume of greens and browns (see below).

Some things, like grass mowings and soft young weeds, rot quickly. They work as ‘activators’, getting the composting started, but on their own will decay to a smelly mess.

Older and tougher plant material is slower to rot but gives body to the finished compost - and usually makes up the bulk of a compost heap. Woody items decay very slowly; they are best chopped or shredded first, where appropriate.

From scraps of food and plant life, we can nourish new food and plant life. Composting helps to perpetuate sustainability and is a smart way to give back to the Earth.

Learn more about composting here on Garden Organic’s website: http://bit.ly/1bB1tPh

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