Ozhaawashkwaa Animikii-Bineshi Aki Onji Kinimaagae' Inun is the composting hub for the school division. Seven Oaks School Division is committed to composting for several reasons.
- Waste Diversion from landfills – up to 40% of the things we throw away (organics) could actually be composted
- Greenhouse Gas Reduction – when organics are put in the landfill they decompose without oxygen and produce more methane (potent greenhouse gas) than if composted properly with air.
- Fertilizer Production – the production of synthetic fertilizers requires a lot of energy (mainly fossil fuels). When we use compost, we are able to add essential plant nutrients and beneficial microorganisms to the soil for free and with low or no fossil fuel input.
- Education for Sustainable Living and Living in Reciprocal Relationship with the Land – composting is a very simple and tangible sustainability action that everyone can take. It is a way to give back to the land and teaches us about habitats, decomposition, communities, soils, waste management, culture, history, greenhouse gases, and food production.
- Leading the way – in lieu of municipal composting programs, the social enterprise Compost Winnipeg has been doing residential compost pick up in parts of the city for a few years. In January 2020, the City announced it would support a municipal composting pilot project. Organizations such as the Green Action Centre and the Seven Oaks School Division have worked hard to educate people around what is biodegradable and compostable, and how to develop waste management habits. We hope our efforts will support a new municipal composting program.
HOW DO WE COMPOST IN SOSD?
1. We use a commercial scale, in-vessel composter called a Novi-Comp (formerly the BIOvator). Throughout the week, students and staff collect food scraps, pizza boxes, and yard waste. They consolidate the waste in bins and leave them out for the weekly Friday pick-up. Aki Centre staff collect these bins and leave clean bins in their place.
2. After collecting nitrogen rich food waste from schools, we mix them with carbon rich organic matter such as wood chips or shavings (from Maples and West Kildonan Collegiate shop classes), leaves, or cardboard in the Novi-Comp. The Novi-Comp rotates slowly a multiple times per day, adding oxygen to the mixture. In ~2-3 weeks the partially decomposed matter falls out the open end of the vessel.
3. The partially decomposed matter is moved to a curing pile where it is monitored for moisture and heat. Students help us turn and water the curing piles to add air, and moisture to support the microbes and other fauna that are breaking down the compost. When the piles stop heating up (the heat is a result of microbial activity), they are cured/finished.
4. The finished compost is then sifted by students and staff and is used in Aki Centre and school gardens.
Several schools have pile compost systems set up at their schools. This is encouraged as it cuts down on fossil fuels used to pick up scraps and deliver finished compost, while engaging more students consistently to participate in the whole process. We understand that this takes work and is not a reality for all schools.
All Seven Oaks School Division schools and sites are actively composting! We pick up compost weekly from 26 schools, the Board Office, BZERC, Immigrant Settlement Services, Wayfinders, the Service Centre, and of course the Aki Centre. Every school participating in the divisional composting program has at least one Compost Coordinator. These people help get their school organized, encourage people collect compost, help troubleshoot, and communicate with Aki Centre staff for pick up. They are true compost heroes. If you'd like to know who the Compost Contact is at your school, let us know email@example.com.
Compost Champions are people or groups of people who have gone above and beyond with their composting efforts. Nominate a person or group from your school who is doing the dirty work to make composting a success by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Compost Champions of the Month:
Reva Ong - Custodian at A.E. Wright who not only goes above and beyond to coordinate collection and put the compost out, but also washes all the classroom compost bins!
Bevan Mckee - Custodian at MET Arts & Tech and Maples Collegiate who volunteered to pick up compost from MET Arts & Tech on Thursday nights and bring it to Maples Friday morning to shorten the normal Friday compost pick up route!
For more information, please visit us on the Portal > Instruction > Aki Centre > School-based Action Projects
Pumpkin Smash - Annual Community Event!
Every year, the first Saturday after Halloween, we host our "Pumpkin Smash" community composting event! School and community members are encouraged to collect their jack-o-latern pumpkins and bring them to the Aki Centre to be smashed and composted. The 2022 event saw more than 100 participants smashing pumpkins with shovels, baseball bats, and throwing them off the hay bale "tower". There was vermi-composting worm exploration, field games, pumpkin soup, apple cider, and a screening of the locally produced film "Wrought". The pumpkin remains were mixed with leaves and spread a field to decompose and enrich the soil environment!
The 2023 event will be held on Saturday, November 4th.