Re: A composting program at a LARGE cohousing -- How??
From: John Beutler (
Date: Wed, 27 May 2009 15:05:38 -0700 (PDT)
Our solution at Liberty Village is --- chickens !

They will happily eat pretty much any food scraps, with the exception of eggshells (you don't want them pecking their eggs, which they will do, if given eggshells), citrus and a few other foods. The main benefit versus composting is that they are FAST. The scraps are gone before the rats and flies get half a chance. We probably have a dozen families plopping food scraps into the chicken pen (16 hens and a rooster) and rarely are there any scraps left over. One could overload the system, I suppose, but that's very rare in our case.

Of course, then you have to dispose of EGGS ! Our favorite ways are ice cream, quiche, deviled eggs, flan, pecan pie....

We do have a compost pile and the chicken manure goes in there with ground up plant materials, and that goes back in the garden, in which the chickens run in the offseason.



At 12:55 PM 5/26/2009, you wrote:

Dear friends, we at East Lake Commons in Atlanta want to improve a program
to get rid of our vegetable scraps.

We want to know how others have succeeded.

We are 78 households, of course with varying degrees of community
involvement & large-community issues of trying to attract regular, committed

Currently, we do "cold" compost only -- ie, alternate veg scraps & brown
leaves in large wire bins.  When one bin gets full, it is closed for a month
or so to rot while we fill another bin.  We don't turn the piles to make
proper hot compost.

Disadvantages: "cold" composting/anaerobic breakdown = stench, rats, flies.
Advantages:  Simple, not labor intensive, can absorb A_LOT of veg scrap.

Our main goal has been defined as keeping veg scraps out of landfill.
Compost would only be a bonus.

We need something
1. simple
2. pest & stink free
3. that can accommodate up to 10 lbs of veg scrap a day, more if we can get
all 78 households to contribute.
4. that up to 78 households would be willing to do.
5. cheap.  We're pretty much ruling out major capital costs like mega
barrels or tumblers.

If you have any suggestions that answer any of this criteria, please let me

(Also, how to deter people from putting in their spagetti & meatballs; fish
scales, etc??   Just keep hammering with the education?)

Thanks to all!

-Maggie Lee
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John Beutler
Liberty Village, MD
jabeutler [at]

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