Rick Kaye, Compost Club
Rick Kaye, Compost Club
Rick presented a history of the “compost club” that has been functioning in Sonoma County since 2003. The project started out of Rick's desire to engage the community in more sustainable means of agriculture as well as recycling organic waste to serve that function. He has had a lifelong interest in composting and recycling. He has had practical experience with this field while working in the Peace Corps in Panama where he helped develop more sustainable means of agriculture, contrasting with the slash and burn philosophy that was prevalent when he arrived in his region.
With the help of grants from Rotary, and a private donor he started a Re Cy Cool program at West Side School. Composting bins were constructed and ultimately the program involved nearly 60% of the students in the school. It is now turned into a major fundraising source for the school.
He presented the statistics on organic waste arising in Sonoma County. Of the total daily waste stream, 700 tons, roughly 350 tons of organic material is suitable for recycling. He has worked closely with the Sonoma County Waste Management Agency to increase awareness of this potential source of materials for enriching the agricultural environment. In addition to helping with soil amendment, waste management also generates methane gas to power turbines to generate electricity and decreases the volume of material that is placed in landfill sites.
At the present time there are programs at over 15 or 20 schools and other institutions along with correctional facilities that are working with recycling and composting organic waste. Complex teamwork is required to coordinate this process and he has been instrumental in facilitating such teamwork. In addition to schools and other institutions, he is working with local dairies and a rabbit farm to collect and process their waste materials.
He is currently looking for additional funding to help set up and expand the program at Fitch Mountain School as well as to build a shade structure for the facility that is already operating at the Healdsburg Senior Living Center. All members were encouraged to visit the Healdsburg Senior Living Center or other sites in town to see the process in action.
On October 4, there will be a work day to help construct the shade structure at the Healdsburg Senior Living Center, to which all members are invited to participate.
There is a photograph of the sites were his program is operating available in the photo album from the meeting of 9/10/14.
A presentation of $25 to the Food Pantry will be made in Rick's name for his program today.