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Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) Web Academy Webinar: Compost from Food Waste: Understanding Soil Chemistry and Soil Biology on a College/University Campus

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April 3, 2014, 2:00 - 3:30 pm (EST)

In this session, we will learn about the composting experience of St. John's University in Queens, New York, from 2009-present. We will also learn about EPA's Food Recovery Challenge (FRC) and how it has supported St. John’s University in their journey to reduce food waste.  The students of St. John's perform most of the work involved with creating the compost and assist with its utilization in the community garden, arboretum and care of the campus grounds.

The webinar will feature the project team that instituted composting on the St. John’s University Queens campus:

  • Compostwerks! LLC has a wealth of practical experience in the horticulture, arboriculture, composting, agriculture and organics industries. They have helped many businesses, colleges and private organizations transition away from petro-chemical fertilizers/pesticides through sustainable organic nutrient management of the soil by utilizing the products which they represent.
  • O2Compost is a Pacific Northwest Company that specializes in designing aerated compost systems for all varieties of organic waste and all scales of operation. In addition, O2Compost provides comprehensive operator training to ensure the successful operation of their compost systems.
  • St. John’s University is a Catholic University founded in 1870 in the metropolitan area of Queens, New York. St. John’s has a strong interest in sustainability and has been working to improve its impact on the environment through a number of different strategies.

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Rachel Chaput has worked with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for 21 years. She works in Sustainable Materials Management and helps implement the WasteWise and Food Recovery Challenge programs in Region 2. She will give a short overview of the FRC as background to the composting content of the webinar, and will also moderate the panel.

Gregg Twehues has 35 years of experience working in agriculture, along with a bachelor degree in environmental studies. Gregg is co-founder of Compostwerks! LLC. Gregg will share his experiences on the importance of understanding the relationship of conventional soils testing with compost microbial testing when making good amendments to soils.

Peter Moon is president and principal engineer of O2 Compost. Peter is a licensed engineer with 35 years of consulting and problem solving experience. The last 25 years Peter has focused primarily on developing practical solutions for on-site composting and helping institutions of all types meet their sustainability goals. Everything Peter knows about effective composting has been by doing. Peter will describe the O2 Compost system at St. John’s University.

Tom Goldsmith is the staff director for energy and environmental conservation at St. John’s University. Tom will share with us the St. John’s University experience of student engagement and involvement in food recovery and food waste composting for soils stewardship.

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