Note: The ideas and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the authors' and should not be ascribed to the Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes or its members. On August 5, 2021, we archived old blog posts. You can find the archive by clicking here.
CSA Explores Composting
In early 2023, CSA joined local groups to include the Fond du Lac Audubon Society, Fond du Lac Master Gardener Association, Gottfried Prairie and Arboretum, Sustain Fond du Lac, and Pilgrim United Church of Christ in promoting and taking orders for home compost bins. Over 50 bins were purchased in the Fond du Lac community, including orders from CSA Sisters, Associates, and the Motherhouse.
Cutting down food waste and introducing composting is one of CSA’s goals in our year 2 plan of the Laudato Si’ Action Platform. In a report by Feeding America, it is estimated that nearly 40% of all food in America is wasted, 119 billion pounds each year. The other side of this travesty is that food waste also exacerbates the climate crisis. Food in landfills generates significant greenhouse (methane) gas emissions. Landfills also waste land, water, and harm biodiversity.
While composting can seem intimidating for the beginner, there are plenty of online resources to help one get started. In Wisconsin, we have found Recycling Connections to be helpful and they offered a Spring Backyard Composting webinar that can be found on their YouTube channel.
We can also learn from each other. Sisters Pat Hayes and Marilyn Ellickson live at the Leo House in New York, where they have been composting organic materials for the past ten years. Fresh coffee, fruit, and eggs are some of the foods served each day at breakfast to guests and in turn the egg shells, coffee grounds, and melon rinds are the materials that get composted. Marilyn shares, “they are packed in bio-degradable bags, then wheeled each Wednesday morning to a neighborhood collection site. The East Side Ecology Center sub-contracts with the NY Sanitation Department to manage the site and to haul the collected organics to a designated site where they are transposed back into black soil. The new soil is distributed to city parks, used for tree maintenance, and used to grow the floral displays decorating the city streets.”
Shown in the photo (below) is Sister Marilyn Ellickson and to her right is the composting container used in the CSA household. It is a lidded Tupperware dish, lined with a bio-degradable bag, and is easily stored beneath their sink. When full, the bag is tied shut and placed into the large Leo House bin stored out in the alley until its weekly removal.