Black Gold: Turning Daily Waste into Fertile Soil

A Workshop on the Art of Composting

Saturday 21 July, 9:00 – 12:00h

Location: GreenBlend Farm, Man O’War Plantation, Zeelandia Road, Statia
Cost: $10 per person
Please bring a dish to share – Tea and refreshments provided

Composting is a natural process which we can support to create and regenerate fertile soil. The same process can also support us in turning ordinary waste materials from a nuisance into a local resource. And last but not least, through composting organic waste we directly fight climate change, because by storing the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide in the living soil, we help keep it out of the atmosphere.

Composting is a very low-tech method for the recycling and effective use of ordinary, local materials. Anyone can learn it – in fact, anyone should learn it. Because in composting we work with the very basic principles of nature. Sooner or later all plant and animal tissues break down into their fundamental elements, and out of those new materials and organisms are built up – such is the web of life.

Scraps from the kitchen, grass, leaves and weeds collected from the garden, possibly manure from livestock animals: all these can be composted. Even dead wood and branches can be turned into this beautifully rich material which we call compost, but is also known as ‘Black Gold’. And it is called Black Gold, because it is the best ‘nutrition’ for the soil in which we ultimately grow the food that sustains us.

Whether sandy soils or clay – virtually every kind of soil can be improved by raising the amount of organic matter in it. With more organic matter, sandy soils will hold more water, clay soils will hold more air, and all soils will better hold on the nutrients needed for the growth of our crops. Composting is a cheap, safe, easy and sustainable way to provide just that organic matter. It works that way on any scale – from a private garden to a horticultural enterprise to an entire island. Any place that gets its composting act together, will be more and more of an actual ‘Garden of Plenty’.

This 3-hour workshop will give you a solid introduction to:

  • how composting works
  • how we can create the right conditions for it
  • how we can work with different materials
  • how these lead to different qualities of compost, and
  • how compost can be applied.

There will be on-site explanation and demonstration, and together we will do some real hands-on work (or it wouldn’t be called a workshop ;-) The workshop will be taught by compost master Ir. Fransje de Waard from Amsterdam, who was trained in tropical forestry and has been pioneering sustainable land-use in different places and climates for many years. She is on Statia for a few weeks at the invitation of Leo Bakx, and is looking forward to help make a sustainable Statian future a reality.