by Serenata Wright
Composting on Paul Smith’s campus in not a new venture. The school has been incorporating composting into their waste minimization program through the dining hall and culinary program. All food that isn’t used by the students and or staff is sent to Moonstone farm in Saranac Lake NY. Food waste is tracked and sent to the farm in order to yield a sustainable result. As once stated, “The food waste serves a variety of purposes on the farm, such as feeding chickens directly, feeding mealworms and black soldier flies which eventually feed the chickens, while the rest is “…composted to create organic matter for our greenhouses, hopyard, fruit trees/bushes, and vegetable fields.”(retrieved from https://www.paulsmiths.edu/sustainability/2019/04/05/we-are-composting-food-waste-on-campus/).
This program is a collaboration between The Dining Hall, Center for Sustainability, The Culinary Department and Moonstone Farm! Diverting solid food waste produced on campus not only reduces greenhouse gas emissions, but it provides the college with a valuable connection and educational opportunity in the farming community. Moonstone farm is working consistently to improve soil health, creating compost from food waste from local residences in Saranac Lake and Paul Smith’s College provides the farm with a great source of soil fertilizer.
Having a place to store and use food waste is problematic for the college, with the conflict of figuring out where to store it so it can be used properly. Paul Smith’s could compost and use their own food waste to use for gardening, but with the addition of moonstone farm, that food waste becomes a resource to support local agriculture. Moonstone could go out and buy a bag of fertilizer and feed for their farm from a store, but Moonstone chooses to connect Paul Smiths College and produce more food waste than they themselves can handle. Our campus produces food waste, but it really doesn’t stay waste because of sustainability within our community and the farming community. A strong connection between nature and what it produces is important to the people who live, work, and are theoretically, a part of a farm.