Life begins in the compost. It begins with the tiny microorganisms, which ultimately bolster the immune system of the garden and even with the snakes that capture the critters which enter the garden uninvited. I have come to see the compost as a process of recycling, of putting back into the earth each week a little of what we have taken from it. It is a necessary part of sustainability. While living and working at PICA, I have come to appreciate what the many different types of compost contribute to the process.
Currently, the PICA compost system includes six [one cubic yard] bins. On Saturday workdays and Thursday seminar, PICA students and visitors collaborate with one another in building, turning, and sifting compost. The PICA compost system is aerated and rotated about once every week, taking approximately six weeks per pile from start to finish. The compost is composed mainly of food scraps collected from each house within the village (and occasionally supplemented by those from the trailer park), horse manure, hay, and weeds.
The PICA compost system is integral to the ideology of sustainability in our intentional community. Reducing waste and our negative footprint on the planet is important to us, and I am grateful to be involved with a community that offers an opportunity to live with sustainability-minded residents who work towards proactively achieving goals. Just as modest microorganisms provide a solid foundation for the garden, this community has symbiotically sustained me in more ways than one.