Last summer, I was walking through the plant at Herman Miller’s GreenHouse facility and spotted a twin-drum Mantis composter. Being an avid gardener, I was thrilled to see that our environmental team was considering a composting system for the cafeteria.
As it sat unused, I began inquiring: What’s up with the composter? The answer, it turned out, was that the cafeteria would indeed be composting, but through an outsourced vendor. So the staff was looking for an organization that would benefit from a composter loan and provide feedback on its use.
It just so happens that I helped develop some co-operative gardens at Ladder, Inc., an organization that provides affordable, quality, appropriate, safe homes for people with mental illness. After identifying some residents who were willing to manage the composting operation, we took the composter to their home.
One of the requirements from Herman Miller was to log inputs and outputs and give the company’s environmental department feedback on the composting results, which I volunteered to do.
What were the results? By the fall, residents were already using their second batch of rich compost for top dressing and mulch on their raised bed vegetable gardens and in the landscaping on the property.
And, the Ladder residents enjoy turning the handle to spin the drums, watching green weeds and kitchen scraps turn into rich brown compost. Next spring, the residents are looking forward to using their own compost on the gardens instead of purchasing it as they have in the past.