MUM alumna Monica Moscovici
AmeriCorp volunteer Prana Miller, Monica, and Steven McLaskey mixing food waste with wood chips to prepare the material for compost
Monica composting outdoors throughout the winter
The MUM Organic Farms using compost to grow vegetables for the dining hall
Monica receiving the Outstanding Student Award from Dr. Stephen McLaskey
(photo by Ken West)
Monica Moscovici — Making Campus More Sustainable Through Composting
Monica Moscovici spends her evenings measuring, recording, and transporting food waste from the MUM Food Service to the MUM Organic Farms, where it gets converted into compost. She also documents every step of the process to prove that it is not only sustainable, but financially feasible.
Monica has always been concerned about the environment and came to study Sustainable Living at MUM because she felt organic farming can provide a solution to many environmental issues. After taking the living soil class with Elaine Ingham, she realized the key ingredient to agriculture is good soil, which is gained by returning organic materials to it through composting.
“Through Consciousness-Based education and TM, I have learned that it is not only important to help the environment itself, but also to bring individual people in accord with the laws of nature in order to sustain large-scale change,” said Monica. “Working with the compost alone has been incredibly eye-opening. Not only have I seen what accordance with the laws of nature looks like, but I have gone on to experience it as well.”
Monica began her thesis project with the goal of composting ten percent of the dining hall food waste and creating a step-by-step manual about the process. But soon her project turned into an ambitious proposal to compost 100 percent on site.
With limited funds and equipment, she and MUM Organic Farms Manager Steven McLaskey have been turning 45 percent of the food waste, about 400 pounds a day, into high-quality organic compost to grow organic vegetables for the dining hall.
Currently the rest of the dining hall food waste is composted in a facility 43 miles away from Fairfield. Composting on campus has many advantages, including the elimination of transportation costs and fossil fuel emissions and getting 100 percent organic compost. “Students like me would have the chance to not only learn about composting, but get hands-on experience,” said Monica.
Monica is so passionate about this project that she has been volunteering most of her time in addition to the work-study funds she received as a student. In her research she concluded that composting 100 percent of the food waste on campus would provide enough benefits to MUM to justify the creation of a compost coordinator position, for which she is currently seeking grants. At the 2015 Graduation Awards Ceremony, Monica received an Outstanding Student Award for her efforts to make the MUM campus more sustainable.
To find out more about Monica’s project visit her blog here.