Thank You Cuyahoga Composts!

Over the last two months, I had the pleasure of completing a six-week composting course, courtesy of the OSU Extension Service. For those who don’t know about it, the extension system in Ohio is one of the world’s largest non-formal educational systems.

Classes were held at the OSUE office over on Stanard Avenue, and about a dozen people from all over Cleveland came to the workshops to share and learn. All of us were there to learn about composting and to talk about what we hoped to accomplish in our neighborhoods.

worm binSome wanted to talk about worm bins. Others wanted to learn about composting toilets. I wanted to know if anyone had ever studied zebra mussel shells before.

Every workshop was jam-packed. I learned how to build my own compost screen. I toured a commercial composting facility. I visited the Composting Research Center Lab at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center in Wooster. There, we met with Mary Wicks and PhD student Eddie Gomez, who is researching compostable plastics.

compost screenWe learned so much from our OSUE instructor, Nicole Wright. We spoke with a visitor from the Ohio EPA, who told us about the rules and regulations of composting. We studied the food cycle. We went on field trips. We learned best practices from other cities around the nation. We had a number of hands-on demonstrations which allowed us to fully immerse ourselves in so many applications.

It was great to be part of an organization that fulfills the land-grant mission of OSU, which teaches others how to use scientific data to better their lives and their communities.

Ebony and TanyaI also made some new friends along the way. Special thanks to Tanya from Ka-La Healing Garden and Ebony from See You At The Top. I hope we can accomplish our goals for our “Diversity Cleveland” workshops in 2014. I also hope to hear from fellow students, Mike and Louie, who will be monitoring some zebra mussel shell compost of their own.