According to Francis, continuing this compost training in the future is the goal; Francis said “it’s looking doable” to make it happen and that there would be enough interest. He said he wants it to be a collaborative effort with other state agencies and nonprofits.
This week’s training covers a range of topics including types of composting equipment, composting methods and troubleshooting compost piles. Presentations include hands-on exercises at the Cal Poly Farm Shop and the compost unit. The training also included a field trip yesterday, where participants visited several companies with a composting aspect.
The training is similar to what the Compost School does in Maine and the three presenters from the school are “doing the bulk of the teaching,” Francis said. He also said the Maine Compost School wanted the Center to supplement some of the talks and exercises to tailor the training to California, so the training has some guest speakers and Cal Poly presenters.
Most of the registered participants are professionals outside of Cal Poly, Francis said, but there is “a good cross-section” of Cal Poly faculty and staff from a variety of departments involved in both the presentations and as participants.
There are 26 enrolled participants, which include Cal Poly faculty and staff and students who are just visiting, Francis said. There’s an open invitation for anyone at Cal Poly interested in becoming part of the Cal Poly Compost Project, Francis said.
One enthusiastic participant in the training is Gisele Schoniger, a Cal Poly alumnus who now works at Kellogg Garden Products, a composting company, as an organic gardening educator.