Tom's Back Block - Archive
March 09 Edition
Yes that is me who smells but with good cause. Over the last couple of months I have been involved in an extremely interesting project. As part of an initiative in the Central West, Centroc which is a representative body for 15 councils, has been running the Compost Cook Off competition.
They selected four people representing different viticultural regions, David Lowe, Lowe Family Wines Mudgee, Justin Jarrett, Jarretts of Orange, Tony Hatch, Vale Creek Wines, Bathurst and myself.
Objectives of the project
- to raise the profile of composting to target audiences
- raise the profile of clean green vineyards
- raise the profile of the region as clean and green
- deliver a successful and fun, co-operative regional project that will position the region well for further funding
Rules for the Compost Cook Off
- The compost needed to comply with Australian Standards for Compost which includes factors such as temperature and moisture content.
- The ingredients used in the compost must be sourced locally i.e. within 50kms of the vineyard.
- Compost chefs must produce 1 tonne of final compost product (this will require starting with approximately 2 tonnes of materials).
- Compost chefs must provide a photographic and written record of their composting and what was incorporated.
- There will be two types of testing completed: a chemical assay and a microbial analysis.
- Judging will be done by an independent panel to be selected by Centroc.
- The compost must contain a minimum of 30% council green waste.
Compost will be ranked 1-4 with 1 being the best and the overall lowest score will win. The criteria for judging are listed below:
- chemical analysis quality
- microbial analysis quality
- inventiveness of method
- inventiveness of ingredients used to compost (diversity of products incorporated)
- faults in the compost. - this category is mainly a deductive category.
- Most translatable compost message
At the presentation night on 7th February we all gathered with our compost to be judged. I was lucky enough to come 2nd and was pipped at the post by David Lowe. Not a bad result considering that he runs a commercial composting facility that does approximately 2000 tonnes a year.
Where from there?
We are just in the process of delivering ½ tonne vegetable bins to the schools that are filled with a mixture of soil and compost. We are getting the schools to grow vegetables in these boxes and to learn about the produce that they are growing. The aim is to have vegetables grown by the end of April and these are going to be used as part of the Compost Ball. Unfortunately they will not be served up to the paying customers but will be used by chefs in an Iron Chef like competition. The Compost Ball is going to be held in Orange on 2nd May 2009. For more info go to www.tasteorange.com.au
The competition is going to be held next year and we are looking for more involvement from the community as we are able demonstrate the benefits of composting and the ease to do it.