Two years ago, when Goshen was considering food service companies to contract out its dining facilities, one aspect that helped AVI Fresh stand out was it's record of sustainability at other colleges and universities. Here at Goshen, one manifestation of this commitment is the composting process.
Composting at Goshen is not only done by AVI Fresh, but also by smaller groups such as individual houses and the senior apartments. Howell House, an off campus house that is co-ed this year, takes their compost to the bin behind the dining hall, and the senior apartments recently began using vermiculture to compost from the basement. This means that the compost is kept in large plastic containers and broken down by worms. If any other groups on campus want to begin composting, they can take their refuse to the bin next to the dining hall, by College Avenue and Main Street. It is covered by a styrofoam lid.
AVI Fresh began composting within the first five months of operation here at Goshen. This year, that process is being expanded with new composting boxes designed by adjunct professor Lewis Naylor. These are located out by the track. They are insulated to keep the temperature up during the winter months and allow for mineral-rich water called nutrient tea to be removed and used to water flower beds.
Workers from AVI Fresh visit the bins five times daily to deposit more materials and to mix the compost, which is necessary for it to break down quickly. However the school intends for this operation to be increasingly student run and operated. Volunteers will take the waste to be composted and combine it with two parts mulch to create excellent fertilizer for use on campus.
Recently Goshen was recognized by the United States Composting Council with an invitation for an involved student to speak at their conference in San Diego.
“Composting on campus makes sense because it returns nutrients to an earth from which we are constantly taking energy," said sophomore Hannah Eberly, who has led student involvement in composting. "This is a step towards continual sustainability and consciousness.”