Re: Rules & Regs
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Thu, 4 Aug 2005 05:47:10 -0700 (PDT)
If there is anyone out there from another enviromentally oriented
community, it would be interesting to hear what your experiences are.

"Environmentally oriented is in our mission statement but we are not an ecovillage by a long shot. But I wanted to share the experience of composting.

The composters started with worms which they killed fairly fast since they had never done this before. Then they switched methods a couple more times and wrote long rules about what could be composted and how. The "what" was so long, including the amount of moisture in the what, that most people just stopped trying in the first two years. Those who did compost also were not careful and kept putting things like knives in which was scary to the people working with the soil. Of almost 60 adults, about 6-8 now compost. After five years, one person still asked if she could put her stuff in the compost pile in a plastic bag since it was so messy and the compost pile was smelling.

My point is that it takes a long time and a lot of teaching to get people on board with processes and they have to be workable. The serious composters were patient in figuring out the best process for us to use in our situation. The others weren't. It might have worked better if none of us knew anything about the process until the core group got it figured out and it was up and running. Then they could pull in the most interested and reestablish a rhythm with those people and THEN start coaxing the less willing. By taking on all the stages of composting at once, I"m afraid they got discouraged.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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