Returning Fertility to the Soil using Food Waste. Like a horse!
Schumacher College has developed an international reputation for nature-based education around ecology and sustainibility. They understand soil, growing, horticulture and compost. That is why they have been using a Ridan food waste composting system for over 8 years.
Learning about nature, living and working with nature and living in a sustainable way have been the foundation of Schumacher teaching for over 25 years. The learning environment includes the garden and kitchen as well as the classroom, enhancing our roots and connection to the soil.
Eating at Schumacher is a fantastic experience, most of the food has only traveled a few yards from garden to table, so it is totally fresh and wonderful. Food is grown and harvested all year, with some under glass there is never a shortage. Keeping the soil in good condition is vital and that is where compost comes in.
Garden waste, food waste and human waste are all composted in order to enrich the soil and improve fertility. The Ridan forms the basis for all food waste composting, wood pellets are added in order to create the right carbon/nitrogen ratio and what emerges goes through maturation in boxes for 8 to 10 weeks before use. There is a compost toilet, and covered windrows for humanure and garden waste respectively.
‘The Ridan is a wonderful thing’, writes Brenda. ‘It stands like a comedy horse outside the Linhay. And pretty much like a horse what goes in at one end is transformed , by the alchemic process of microbial digestion, into fresh and nutritious compost as it comes out of the other!
If you’re shy or wary of feeding the Ridantake your courage, a friend and a bucket of scraps with you for your first encounter. Don’t worry, it doesn’t bite but as you lift the lid you may swoon a little as it’s fruity odour and the moist heat of decay hit you. Tip the scraps in with a sense of virtue, follow that with a few scoops of wood pellets and away you go! Then take turns as one of you cranks the handle whilst the other watches the back end evacuating.