Garden Composting With Kids As A Learning Experience
We started building our raised garden bed a couple of weeks ago, and with all the rain we’ve gotten it’s the ideal time to plant all the starts and seeds I’ve collected. We bought all our soil and material for the beds, but the one part we were still trying to figure out was a good composting system. The city of Asheville doesn’t offer a food waste service (something we had grown accustomed to as it was mandatory in California). We were already vermicomposting (since February of this year) and since then, have yielded a small compost bin of worm castings which we’ve incorporated into our garden bed and starts. But what about the rest of our food waste? As a family of 6, we produce about 10+ lbs of food waste per week and throwing out scraps in the garbage did not sit well with us.
Globally, we throw out about 1.3 billion tons of food a year~NY. Times
A bit about CompostNow
This year we decided we’d rather put our energy into really nurturing our garden experience with the kids. We signed up for a composting service with CompostNow and every week we leave our provided bin outside on our porch, it gets picked up, another clean bin replacing it. We pay $29/month for our family size, but smaller families can pay as little as $19/month. The kids dump all food scraps in the closed bin under our kitchen counter without any mess. When we accumulate 25lbs of food scraps, we can schedule 25lbs of compost soil delivery which then goes back into our garden.
Why we love composting with our kids
Our garbage service included food waste in California, however, we were not involved with the closing of the food waste cycle–meaning after we put our green bin out, we didn’t know where those scraps went. Here are some things that as a family, we support and want to see our kids be able to experience hands-on:
- No mess composting–the kids dump their scraps in a sturdy bin, close the lid, and repeat
- We wrote our own note on top of the bin to remind our kids (also to delineate from our worm scraps as their diet is mostly vegan)
- Once we have sent back enough food waste, we get compost soil delivered which we helped divert
- Our kids can add the compost into our OWN gardens and physically see food grow
- More time outside and more time learning about gardening
- Fits our busy lifestyle
What we’ve learned so far
Being a part of the food waste cycle gives us immense happiness. Contributing to our garden for our own consumption later is why I believe in helping kids learn and more importantly process the age-old question, “Where does our food go?” Doing good by the environment is more than just utilizing the systems provided to us, it should be about understanding and observing the differences from our personal contributions. Taking consideration of our family lifestyle and flexibilities makes it easy to participate in composting. Within the two weeks of building our bed, all of our plants have stayed healthy and are really taking off! Poppy especially loves checking the garden daily.
We have loved our composting experience so much that we reached out to CompostNow and asked if there was a way to give a discount to our local peeps wanting to give it a try at home. You’ll receive your first two pickups FREE along with 5lbs of compost added to your soil bank right away for signing up. (We do get compost for every person who signs up but we also feel strongly about this service and learning about food waste in general and wanted to share the benefits with ya’ll!)
How do your kids get involved with composting at home? Do you have a service like CompostNow and if so, what do you like or dislike about it? We’d love to hear your thoughts on the learning process and what effect positive or negative, it’s had in your household.