Tuesday, September 8, 2015

NOT JUST GROWING A GARDEN - A school success story

GardenShare Intern Anna Kowanko is our guest blogger this week with a four-part series on the Keene Central School food service.

The compost bin is a permanent fixture in the Keene Central School Cafeteria. Situated next to the dishwasher, milk bucket and trash can, the bin has become not only a KCS claim to fame, but also the foundation of a deeper relationship to food: “good” food specifically is now part of the glue that sticks the Keene community together. Children line up and scrape their compost as normally as they throw out their milk cartons and run off to recess.

Bunny Goodwin, a veteran KCS mom who has remained active in the KCS community, initiated the school’s compost program on Earth Day in 1995. The program was a response to the School Board’s complaints about dump fees. She writes, “I wanted to teach people how to manage their trash in an economical and environmentally friendly manner, thus developing a sense of stewardship for the land.  It is a matter of learning new habits and what better place to do this than in a school.” The compost pile itself is out past the parking lot, in a solid, two sectioned structure built by students and parents. For the first and last eight weeks of school National Honor Society students can be seen making the daily drag from the cafeteria out to the pile. A hand truck laden with compost bin teeters over parking lot pebbles and grass bumps, only occasionally falling through watchful arms. The compost pile is turned throughout the year and eventually makes its way to the KCS garden.

(to be continued tomorrow)