Exhibits, demonstrations and workshops abounded Sunday at the Bordeaux Farmers Market Sunday as the V.I. Tourism Department celebrated the finale of National Tourism Month with almost non-stop activities.
Partnering with the farmer’s collective We Grow Food and the Department of Agriculture, the day was dedicated to education: introducing people to everything from grafting plants to potting vegetable slips, a raw food demonstration (hint – it’s more than a salad,) basket weaving, tie dying, and what seemed the most popular demonstration on the day’s theme of sustainability: composting.
Folks inspected the handsome, newly renovated area filled with arts, crafts, raw foods, stands overflowing with produce from eggplants to fat bunches of kale and spinach.
And for the kiddies, Bordeaux veteran Vicky Palmer held forth at the Family Activity Center, which bore her name.
The day officially opened at 1 p.m., with welcoming remarks by Amaha Kristos, a prayer by Ras Tiru and a poem by Tiyketta. Unofficially folks had been pouring in since 10 a.m. to enjoy the fresh air, the camaraderie, the food and the fun.
The composting demonstration – the second annual ABC’s of Composting Workshop – took place at the market’s lower level, an area ideally suited to the project. The demonstration was hosted jointly by the Syracuse University Environmental Finance Center, The VI Recycling Partnership, The Environmental Association St. Thomas-St. John (EAST), We Grow Food Inc and My Brother’s Workshop.
Ana V. Arache, a graduate student in environmental sciences came from Puerto Rico for the day to assist EAST president, community activist Jason Budsan. Arache is project assistant at the Puerto Rico Recycling Partnership run by the Syracuse Environmental Financial Center’s San Juan office, another one of the sponsoring partners. Her youth belies her passion for her pursuit.
Not missing a beat, Arache takes a reporter in hand. "It is most important we give back to the land. Composting is part of the life cycle, and we are helping to do our part," she began.
Arache cited a sobering statistic. "It’s estimated that more than 60 percent of the waste stream is organic. Instead of it ending up in landfills, it could be creating rich organic compost to grow the food we eat – food or use in other ways to benefit the community."
The statistics are the impetus for action. And that’s just what the groups have done.
On display Sunday was the composting unit that my Brother’s Workshop built for the Bordeaux community, including a plastic tumbler. The display attracted a growing audience.
"Folks are really interested in the process," Budsan said.
He and Arache demonstrated the various ways of creating a composter, how to layer it with green, or kitchen, matter and brown, most everything else including paper straw, leaves, grass clippings, manure, wood chips. Compost needs a balanced diet of green and brown to maintain energy and nitrogen.
They built the wooden unit from pallets donated by local businesses, though there’s a number of other units you can use, including a plastic bag, a compost pit or a flower pot.
Then, there’s the worms.
Local gardener, or "yardener," as he refers to himself, Cedric Skeete brought a collection of very busy little worms that he raises and explained their intricate role in keeping the earth alive. He brought a small plastic foam container filled with pieces of fruit and worms. Lots of them.
This is another way of composting. According to Budsan, this is the "super-charged" composting.
Basically, you need worms, a box, and some damp newspaper strips, and food scraps.
You put the scraps on one side of box and the worms will eat them. The scraps pass through the worms’ bodies and exit through the tail to leaving "castings," or what Skeete said is worm poop. Once the worms eat their way through one end of the box, you move new scraps to the other side, and the worms follow.
Businessman Bill Creque looked at Skeete’s demonstration with avid interest. "I have a large yard with lots of fruit trees." Skeete suggested a method of making "worm tea" to sprinkle on his orchard, which Creque said he would investigate.
Budsan said the local community has been generous in donating materials. Indicating a black plastic container which will be used for Bordeaux’s tumbler, Budsan said "Sanitation Solution donated three of these. We’ll be using them for our internship program."
Budsan said the EAST internship program is run by Laura Cardoso at the Syracuse Environmental Financial Center. Interested interns must be older than 18, sign a W-9 and be interested in becoming a composting educator to others in the community.
Cardoso can be contacted at 1-315-884- 2987 or email@example.com.