The MSEG Composting project aims to introduce a more sustainable composting system for the McGill Student-run Ecological Gardens to reduce its waste and become more self-sufficient. MSEG currently lacks any effective composting system and will implement the proposed system to gain the benefits of composting without excessive costs or manual labour.
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The McGill Student Ecological Garden (MSEG) is a student run organization that operates on a 1 1 ⁄ 4 acre ecological farm on Macdonald Campus. MSEG applies sustainable agricultural practices to produce local vegetable crops. Composting is an essential tool for sustainable and biological farmers as it promotes healthy chemical, physical and biological processes. It helps to retain soil moisture, reduce water runoff, recycle soil nutrient, host beneficial microbes, balance soil pH, and reduce the use of fertilizers. As a farm that follow all organic processes, MSEG wants to incorporate a sustainable composting system that is not only time efficient but long lasting.
MSEG will be implementing an aerated static pile composting system in order to better deal with our waste and generate soil that can be reused, thus improving our overall operation. They intend to build durable bins that will serve multiple generations of MSEG teams. Additionally, they have organized a detailed schedule to ensure an efficient process that fits with MSEG's busy schedule. By building a durable system and finding a way to seamlessly incorporate compost management into MSEG's routine, they hope to make this an integral feature of MSEG.
Effectively, the ASP system is a method in which the materials being composted are aerated by drawing air through the pile rather than by turning the materials to expose it to air. However, there are two main ways to implement this system. The first method includes forced aeration while the second is purely static. MSEG intends to implement both systems in order to compare and contrast the efficiency of each one. They will build a three bin composting system in order to reduce manual labor by allowing air to pass through piles. Two bins will be used for the first ASP model, and one bin for the second model. In the first model, an air blower will be used to force aerate three bins; this blower will be on a timer. In the second model however, they will simply have a static pile. Implementing two models will allow MSEG to compare and contrast models in order to choose which method they will implement in the long-term.
ASP systems have extremely good results for a variety of farmers, from large scale crop ventures to small scale urban community farms. By making these compost systems a key part of MSEG, they hope to inspire others at McGill on both Macdonald and Downtown campus to realize the efficiency and benefits of the model. We believe that the project will not only benefit MSEG, but the entire McGill community.
Funds from the SPF will be used to purchase the air blower (and timer), bins, and other various materials used for the construction of the compost system.
Connect with this project
amiya.seligman [at] mail.mcgill.ca (Amiya Seligman)