Feed the worms: Partridge Creek Farm launches composting campaign with Ishpeming schools

Partridge Creek Farm Director Dan Perkins, center, talks to several Ishpeming Middle School students about “feeding the worms” with compostable items like paper bags, paper napkins and food waste. (Journal photo by Lisa Bowers)

ISHPEMING — Chants of “feed the worms” could be heard throughout the Ishpeming school’s cafeteria during middle school composting event held by Partridge Creek Farm last week.

Students were taught what materials are compostable with items like paper lunch bags, paper napkins and food waste being placed in a separate composting bin.

Partridge Creek Farm Director Dan Perkins said the goal of the project is two-fold: one is to acquire compostable material to create soil for the organization, the other is educational.

“I think it’s very important that the kids understand that not all garbage is garbage. A lot of it can be used again,” Perkins said. “By composting you can turn discarded food and other items into soil, which in turn can be used to grow other food. Plus, we can keep those items out of the landfill.”

The collections from the school amount to about 75 pounds a day of compost, Perkins said.

“That will actually make four tons of soil a year for us,” Perkins said.

The farm is grateful for the help of HiTec Building Services, Perkins said, whose employees will be ensuring the composted items are kept separate from other waste until PCF employees or volunteers pick it up.

David Miller, U.P. area manager for HiTec Building Services, said he agreed with the plan when school officials mentioned it to him.

“The meals at the school do create quit a bit of waste,” Miller said. “I thought if it would be helpful for them or the community without incurring extra expenses for the company i.e. extra duties … we would be glad to help out.”

Perkins said while this was the first PCF composting event at a school, he would like to get more school districts involved with the program.

“Chocolay has already expressed interest,” Perkins said. “Once we get this school started, we are going to go and get started at other schools as well. We took the compost from one of their projects already. We want to do Westwood, Negaunee and other area districts, too.”

“We figure it will take about two weeks to get everything running smoothly and then we’ll leave it running,” Perkins said. “Then we will just pick up their stuff, and then we’ll start another school, and hopefully we just keep getting schools.”

Lisa Bowers can be reached at 906-486-4401. Her email address is lbowers@miningjournal.net.