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Vermiculture/Composting

There are several organic waste recycling systems in place at SCF. The most visible are the worm bin and the ground composting piles. Organic waste from local restaurants is collected on a weekly schedule and fed into these systems to create compost and worm castings for soil amendments. The entire process is extremely localized, using human-powered transportation and partnering with neighborhood restaurants located just blocks away from the farm.

Read on to find out more about the method and philosophy behind our composting efforts:
Resource Recovery: A Case Study in Eugene, Oregon
Skinner City Farm Vermiculture/Vermicomposting, Rotary-Barrel and Ground-Based Composting Project

This study describes the efforts of local community organizations and governmental agencies working together to reduce the urban organic waste stream in Eugene, Oregon. The project includes Skinner City Farm (SCF), the Center for Appropriate Transport (CAT), the Recycling and Solid Waste Department /City of Eugene Planning and Development and the City of Eugene Parks and Open Space. The goal to find alternatives to the disposal of organic waste in landfills has lead to a dynamic, multi-faceted opportunity for zero-waste.

Our highly urbanized and industrialized society is producing large quantities of organic waste and the costs associated with disposing of this waste continue to rise. There is increasing demand for disposal mechanisms to be environmentally compatible and sustainable. Earthworms in dense culture
and in large quantities can physically handle organic waste and at a fraction of the cost of conventional methods of waste management (e.g. landfill). The earthworm (vermiculture) industry has grown considerably in recent years, particularly in relation to its role in waste management. Composting has proven its worth in the creation of agricultural amendments.

A vermiculture/vermicomposting system at Skinner City Farm (a City owned Community Garden) commenced in 2000. Compost piles and rotary composters were added in 2004. The project uses organic restaurant waste to create garden soil amendments and to raise worms. It is designed to pursue broader principles of sustainability, specifically alternative transportation and organic gardening and to expand upon the idea that recycling of organic material has benefits and value to the community beyond the saving of landfill costs.

The unique beauty of this model project lies in its decentralized nature- local restaurant food waste transported by non-fossil fuel means, managed within a neighborhood, and utilized by neighborhood community gardens.

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Definitions

Organic Waste Collection From Local Restaurants

Fossil-Free Delivery System

Composting and Worm Systems

Community Garden

Sanitation

Engaging the Community

Definitions

Vermiculture is the culture of earthworms. The goal is to continually increase the number of worms in order to obtain a sustainable harvest. The worms are either used to expand a vermicomposting operation or distributed to customers who use them for the same or other purposes. Vermicomposting is the process by which worms are used …

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Organic Waste Collection From Local Restaurants

Currently the participating restaurants/cafes include Morning Glory, Laughing Planet, and Sweet Life. Much of their food is produced through Certified Organic methods. These restaurants have food waste that is separated and ready for removal from the site. Collections occur weekly and provide enough waste for SCF compost piles, rotary composters and the vermiculture/vermicomposting system. The …

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Fossil-Free Delivery System

The Center for Appropriate Transport, a local nonprofit (2 blocks away from the SCF site), has been donating the use of their Human Powered Machines TriHauler. The use of human-powered vehicles combines a transport method that is both efficient and sustainable for the urban environment and a decentralized approach to waste collection/usage. The route is …

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Composting and Worm Systems

The ground composting is done through classic layering principles and regular turning. Garden waste and manure are added. The bin at the Skinner City Farm site has four walls of plywood/ plastic and a grated bottom. It is a top-fed, continuous flow system. They are equipped with hand-powered winches that run a cutting blade on …

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Community Garden

The community gardens at SCF are a model for other community gardens managed through the City of Eugene Parks and Open Space because of the educational programs that utilize them and the organizational plot arrangements (nonprofits rent large plots). Community garden members will be able to utilize the worm castings as a fertilizer for use …

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Sanitation

The restaurants/cafes must follow City Health Codes. City staff have specifically toured the facility at Morning Glory restaurant and inspected the collecting operation. The aluminum container on the TriHauler is washed down after each use. The five-gallon buckets are washed at either the SCF site or at CAT. They are placed on pegs on the …

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Engaging the Community

Volunteer labor is necessary for the operation of the project. It is important to have a corps of volunteers from the community to help with food collection, maintenance, and other tasks. A campaign directed at the community to promote the idea that our actions in our urban areas have importance for the wider environment and …

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