At the end of April UMass Permaculture took a field trip to NESFI, New England Small Farms Institute. NESFI is located in Belchertown, MA on 275 Jackson Street, supporting prospective budding farmers and small- scale agriculture. Susanne Hale gave us a tour and also brought us to the site of Farmers Friend Compost, where they process local yard waste and more relevantly to us, UMass dining commons food into agricultural compost. Susanne Hale also currently operates an experimental permaculture fruit and nut CSA out of NESFI. The following video documents the conversation about the importance of responsible waste management. If you ever wondered where or how the dining commons’ food becomes composted, check it out:
Due to the increasing number of plastic and non-biodegradable wastes entering the compost bins of UMass, Farmers Friend Compost is in danger of losing their composts’ organic certification. Organic certification is regulated by the National Organics Program, overseen by the United States Department of Agriculture. It is strictly enforced by certifying agents who review information on the compost production process and make sure that the compost product meets a series of minimum criteria. Organic certification is very expensive and time consuming, requiring a lot of effort.
It’s really important for UMass students to become more aware of what can and cannot be thrown away, or more specifically into which bins they should throw away what. Be on the lookout for the signs that tell you!