AdkAction and the Compost for Good (CfG) team have announced that they have selected the Town of Newcomb in Essex County as the recipient of a high flow drum composter as part of a USDA Rural Business Development Grant (RBDG).
Newcomb was selected upon recommendation from a local advisory committee through a competitive application process based on the Town’s long standing interest in community scale composting, its strong collaborative team, and the educational opportunities it will provide.
The RBDG grant was awarded to CfG and AdkAction in 2021 to promote community scale compost business development in the North Country, including manufacturing, food scrap hauling, compost sales, retail, and more. The 20’x4’ drum composter was designed by CfG’s cofounder, John Culpepper, and is capable of transforming several hundred pounds of food scraps per week into rich soil. There are four community scale drum composters currently in the North Country, and Newcomb, receiving the 5th unit, is the first community-led, community scale initiative.
The composter functions when food scraps and other important feedstocks are fed into an opening on one side of the drum, and after 14-28 days, they exit the drum as nearly finished compost with billions of microbes and fungal bodies doing the hard work of decomposition in between. These community scale composters have diverted hundreds of tons of food waste from landfills in the North Country, and have created thousands of cubic yards of nutrient rich compost. The composter’s design is freely available to anyone with machine shop experience and tools to replicate and can be found on AdkAction’s Compost for Good website.
Increasing the number of North Country manufacturers building composting equipment is an additional important goal of this grant, and Mud Lake Stalls of DePeyster was selected to build this unit, with hopes to sell more in the future as demand grows.
The Town of Newcomb’s vision includes a close collaboration with the Newcomb Central School District (NCSD) and the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF). Students and faculty from both schools will be engaged in design, operation, data collection and public communication efforts associated with the composting initiative.
ESF’s Newcomb campus hosts classes from ESF and other colleges and secondary schools from across the state and northeast, and will use the community composting initiative for education and research demonstration with visiting groups.
The Town of Newcomb intends to have the composter operational by April 1st, beginning with feedstocks from local businesses, including NCSD and ESF, as well as two important food service establishments in Newcomb, the Lake Harris Lodge and the Newcomb Café. Residents will be invited to begin supplying their food scraps shortly later, once the microbes are acclimated to their new home and smoothly turning food waste into compost.
The unit will be located at the Town’s existing transfer station, making residential drop-off easy and convenient, as well pick-up of finished compost. Over the next 12 weeks Newcomb will build an enclosure for the composter, develop community communications and guidelines, and train staff, volunteers and students to safely and properly operate the composter.
For more information about community scale composting, and to be considered for the next drum composter give away, contact email@example.com.
AdkAction is a member-supported nonprofit organization whose mission is to create projects that address unmet needs, promote vibrant communities, and preserve the natural beauty of the Adirondacks for all. The goal of the Compost for Good project is to help communities turn food and other organic wastes into high quality compost.
CfG is a group of three individuals who are committed to “Reimagining Waste.” Their vision is a world in which humans positively impact the Earth and its communities by valuing organic waste as a resource. Their mission is to support communities to adopt economically viable and ecologically resilient composting systems and processes through education, outreach, technical support, peer to peer connections, and research.
Photo: CfG’s John Culpepper inspects the newly manufactured compost system provided.