The weekend started with the shocking news that one of my colleagues had died on Wednesday evening. She was only young with a daughter my own daughter’s age, so there is a great deal of sorrow in my heart at the moment.
My own exploits of today were therefore grounding: being in touch with like-minded souls who want to spread the word about compost.
A group of us met at West Leeds Activity Centre to brainstorm ways in which we could get more of Leeds composting. We will need to have more meetings to develop our plans but we made a good start today, pooling ideas.
Then we were introduced to the massive food composters on the site.
The Ridan Food Composters are a bit stinky but I doubt very much a rat would get inside these containers. They also produce a lot of heat – when the lid was taken off one of them a fair amount of steam came out. So, many tonnes can be made in a short space of time, although once the contents come out the composter they are ‘cured’ with woodchip to rebalance them (eg for pH).
Anyway, three things I learned of particular note are:
- About fifty percent of the Ridan’s contents is bread which has been discarded. Yup, we collectively throw away a lot of bread.
- Good compost requires water as well as heat, fuel and oxygen. This enables the plant roots to more effectively access the nutrients in it.
- Coffee grinds are not acidic. The acid comes out once water is added. So they won’t therefore make your soil acidic either.
Another notable plus for me today was meeting two of the women behind Veg on the Edge, a project in Saltaire, where vegetables are grown around the village in spaces which would otherwise be unused, such as the side of the platforms at the railway station.
It’s great that we have these projects. Those of us who took part in the Future Learn course Grand Challenges: Food for Thought seemed to be quite disheartened by the way our world appears to be going (depletion of fish in our oceans, for examples), so solutions do provide some solace. Not that the Ridan Composter is going to directly help the fish.