Community Compost Response
Barrington Farm School and its Community Compost Program have received inquiries recently about practices at our compost operations. Thank you for your feedback. We value strong relationships with our neighbors and community partners. Part of our mission is to “build community, and foster connection to the land.”
The three-acre farm we steward has been used continuously in agriculture since 1897 when Barrington was a farm town. To maintain the connection between health, community, and the environment, BFS follows organic and sustainable growing practices. Composting brings these elements together. It reduces waste headed to the landfill, reduces greenhouses gases, and provides healthy and rich soil nutrients. It’s a great learning tool. Members of the compost team have been teaching these virtues to the community since 2009 when we began composting at Sowams Elementary School and eventually brought the practice to all schools in Barrington.
Composting and food scrap drop-off at the farm stand began in 2016 and later on Kent Street. This expanded community involvement while closing the loop between growing food and organic “waste.”
Our volunteer compost team has extensive experience and training and shares best practices with similar community compost programs and advocacy groups in Rhode Island and across the country. The study of compost and soil science is a vast area for learning and teaching, and we have instructed hundreds of students about the elements of regenerative farming while still taking instruction from composting experts.
We follow rules and guidelines set by the town and state Department of Environmental Management regarding what we compost and how it is managed.
As the signs at the drop-off bins attest, we accept fruit, vegetables, and coffee grounds. We do not accept meat, dairy products, and processed foods. The scrap is mixed with leaves, wood chips, and sawdust as part of the transition to compost. It is kept in containment bins and covered through most of its journey to finished compost. And we experiment with new methods to improve safety and the process.
Our farm is situated within an interior wetland corridor that runs from Hundred Acre Cove through town to Narragansett Bay. Wildlife, such as deer, turkeys, coyotes, foxes, and many bird species, call this inland ecosystem home. We take steps to ensure that these animals do not feed on our crops or compost. We use fencing, containment bins, and cloth covers to keep them away and reduce odors. We recently installed cameras to track wildlife at the farm. And we are in the process of improving our systems and methods, especially in the area of health and safety for our visitors and neighbors. Updates are posted at https://barringtonfarmschool.org/home/community-compost-journal/.
We urge all to visit the Farm School, and we value feedback and questions from the community and neighbors. We respond quickly to all inquiries. Please reach out to us at BarringtonFarmSchool@gmail.com.