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Breaking Down Compost with Earth Flow

Happy Spring of 2023!

Farmer Jason here, looking to sprout some enthusiasm around my favorite time of year! There’s nothing like the rejuvenation of all things green after a long winters nap. The smells, sights and sounds help us to reconnect with our senses. And one thing that is smelling especially sweet this Spring is…compost. Yes, compost!

At KFB, we love all things compost! We love it so much that we invested resources into a system that combines nature with technology. Called in-vessel composting, these systems create a protected environment where nature’s composters can thrive, multiplying the speed at which the “food waste” or “organic matter” breaks down into what we know as compost. Microorganisms, fungi and bacteria all play a part in the process. This in-vessel system is designed to provide the ideal food, water, warmth and oxygen that they all need to thrive.

Our Earth Flow from Green Mountain Technologies, a rectangular-shaped in-vessel system, utilizes an automated traveling auger which creates a continuous flow of organic material. Up to 500 pounds of organic material or “inputs” made to specific recipes can be dumped in daily using a hydraulic lift that works with standard garbage bins.

What do we mean by “inputs”?  Well, these are what we call the materials to be composted. Thankfully, this is an ever-growing list of opportunities with Earth Flow. Woodchips, straw, coffee grounds and food scraps/waste from production of Sack Suppers or Break Bags are all considered inputs. Bins and bins of cucumber cut ends, bell pepper cores and grape stems all are finding their way to the Earth Flow. We even see a few bad apples!

System technology ensures that all inputs are flipped each day. Oxygen is provided through aeration built into the floor that cycles every 15 minutes, 24 hours a day. This all speeds up the composting process so much that it creates heat – a lot of heat. Temperatures of over 170 degrees Fahrenheit are achievable within the core of the vessel, causing rapid breakdown of inputs.

These inputs are the rocket fuel we need to create hundreds of pounds of rich compost.

What are we going to do with all this compost? Compost is nature’s best fertilizer! We will utilize it mostly to amend our clay-rich soils here at the KFB Farm – Kent County, as it is a necessity for our no-till farming and gardening. The rest will be distributed to support our community partners and schools in their gardening ventures.

Our new Earth Flow is already making a positive impact on our carbon footprint by increasing our capacity for more no-till farming and reducing our waste headed for the landfill. The system also saves us and our community partners on costs associated with fertilization and the purchase of compost. And critically, it will help sustain our soil health for decades to come, increasing our capacity to serve West Michigan.

So, consider composting if you haven’t already, and experience the magical transformation yourself.  We all can do our part in creating a more equitable, healthy and sustainable food system.

See you soon!

Farmer Jason