It's a typical rainy Friday and there are 15 minutes left of lunch. Nancy Cullen (Form IV) looks at her watch and gives me a look. I guzzle down the last of my drink, clear my plate, and roll up my sleeves. It's compost time.
We wheel a green garbage can filled with fruit and vegetable scraps out of the Fieldston cafeteria's kitchen, up onto the track, and across the football field. By the time we reach the wooden compost bins hidden in a back corner of the lower field, we are drenched in rain. We dump the kitchen scraps into one of the bins and mix several pitchfork-loads of leftover autumn leaves to aerate the compost and speed up the decomposition process. Next we cover the compost in a layer of leaves, wheel the empty garbage can back into the kitchen, and rush to our next class. We arrive at class soaking wet, out of breath, and smelling slightly of eau de compost.
This weekly ritual is sometimes grueling, but it is also fun to get our hands dirty and to know we are turning potential landfill into nutrient-rich compost that will be used in the lower school garden. "I love helping out with composting," says Spencer Lott (Form IV). "It's an easy way to make Fieldston a greener place."
Every day the kitchen staff take the extra time to separate fruit and vegetable scraps from the trash, and two Fieldston Environmental Club members take them out to the compost bins. Our goal is to start composting all food scraps from the cafeteria this year, including table scraps. But for now look out for us rolling a garbage can across the track—rain or shine!