Inspiring schools to compost

Children loading food waste into a Ridan Pro Composter

When Ridan set out producing its innovative and environmentally friendly Ridan Pro composter some of the first groups to see the potential were schools.

Landscore Primary Newspaper cutting

A newspaper clip of a school in Devon receiving their new Ridan Pro composter back in 2010 : Composting for schools

They saw the Ridan Pro as a fun way for pupils to get outdoors, get mucky and gain an understanding of the eco lifecycle. It was also a cost effective and simple way to manage the large amounts of food waste generated by school dinners every day.

Over ten years on and schools are still the prominent group interested in the Ridan Pro composter but for slightly different reasons now.

Changing our behaviour

We are all now experiencing the problems that scientists have been warning us about for decades with the impact of climate change and the harm caused through over-cultivation and the use of chemicals in agriculture.

Children are now being taught, with some urgency, about the environment, what harm has been done to it and ways in which we can change our behaviour to help repair and protect it.

One particular problem is the harm that has been done to our bee and insect population through farming methods and urbanisation.

Schools are now actively encouraging children to take an interest in gardening. They are supported by organisations such as The Wildlife Trust who inspire children to plant bee-friendly flowers and wild flower gardens to help revive bee and insect numbers.

(Here is an interesting article on bee friendly gardening on the Wildlife Trust website by TV presenter Monty Don.)

Grow your own food

Children are also being encouraged to grow food for both educational and practical reasons. Growing your own food can be very rewarding, especially if it is completely organic, but of course, if you want organic food, you need organic compost and one simple way to have all the organic compost you need is to create your own. You just need lots of food waste, which schools have plenty of, some wood chips and a Ridan composter.

One website that educates, inspires and assists people to help nature in their own area is The Nextdoor Nature Hub. Their website is full of great ideas and examples of schools who have found new and innovative ways to inspire their pupils to live a more environmentally friendly life style.

children holding vegetables grown in their own school kitchen garden

A holistic approach to food and gardening

One such article was submitted by Edd Moore at Damers school in Dorset, entitled “A holistic approach to food and gardening”. The school have built and operate their own kitchen garden which features innovative ideas such as a green house made entirely from plastic bottles!

In the article Edd explains why the school encourage children to garden and grow their own food. One reason is food miles, citing an example of onions, which on average travel 1819 miles everyday to reach the UK. Clearly this has an environmental impact as well as encouraging over cultivation and generating food waste.

The Ridan Pro owned by Damers school is very much part of their kitchen garden and part of their daily routine. All of their food waste is fed into their Ridan Pro and it generates good quality, healthy compost for use in their garden. Edd had this to say about their Ridan:

“We invested in a Ridan Food Waste Composter so all our hot and cold food waste can be composted on site saving the school money on food waste collection but also reducing our carbon footprint. It has been a great tool to teach children about natural life cycles.

They make lovely compost for school gardens which has improved the nutrients in the soil making our vegetables and fruits grow quicker and better. We have even sold our compost for a donation to the local community, given it to [other] local schools and linked up with our town council as well.”

You can read the full article on The Nextdoor Nature Hub website : A holistic approach to food and gardening

The article also appears on the Coronation Gardens website – a website aimed at promoting wildlife friendly gardens.

Teaching pupils practical skills for sustainability

If you like Edd’s article, you may be interested in another article he has written titled “Teaching pupils practical skills for sustainability“. In this article Edd Moore underscores the need to equip pupils with practical sustainability skills. He looks at student-driven initiatives, advocating for waste reduction, recycling and gardening projects in schools. The article appears on the Optimus Blog website, a blog website created to inpsire leaders in the UK education sector.

Credits: Thankyou to Edd Moore and Damers school for the article and photos.