Thursday, 18 October 2007

Tuesday 16th October 07, Master Composter Seminar

An early start, went for a walk before breakfast and found a lovely orchard with rows of unpicked apple trees. Nearby found loads of mistletoe in, I think, willow or poplar. My first close-up viewing of Mistletoe.

A good breakfast and was picked up at 9am by Catherine, and we drove towards Stourport to take part in the Master Composter Seminar organised by Garden Organic. It was held at the Bishops Wood Environment Centre, a lovely building demonstrating sustainable construction methods and materials, sited within an extensive patch of land which we had a short tour of at lunchtime.

The Master Composter model started in America, I recently found out, and was first demonstrated by Cambridgeshire County Council working with the Henry Doubleday Research Association (HDRA), now rebranded as 'Garden Organic'. The basic idea is to train up a load of volunteers in the art of home composting and let them loose in their community, to promote home composting as a great way to reduce waste and create fertility in the garden.

I read about this project in the HDRA magazine and immediately thought, what a brilliant idea, and took the concept to St Nicholas Fields Environment Centre, and York Rotters was born. Our project got DEFRA funding for a year of employing a part-time worker, and then we got funding from City of York Council, and we're on the second year of that, and our second worker, Catherine.

So today's 10am til 4.30pm 'do' was to review the current situation of UK Master Composter Schemes, to provide new schemes with information and encouragement, to explore 'tools' to widen their impact and to find ways to measure that impact. There were over 30 people present, representing X Master Composter schemes.

The first presentation was a short one from WRAP chap Carl Nichols. WRAP is in it's 4th year of supporting Master Composter schemes, which are nearly all run by local councils, or are in partnership with them.

No comments: