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40,000 worms keep Rock Creek Campus green
Photos and Story by James Hill
Portland Community College collects 650 pounds of food waste from its Rock Creek cafeteria and feeds it to more than 40,000 worms residing in a worm bin. The worms eat the food waste and create a nutrient-rich compost that is used in the campus’ Organic Learning Garden. The garden produces food for the cafeteria food service program – an elegant example of closing the loop.
On Wednesday, April 23, the vermicomposting system will be celebrated at the PCC Rock Creek Farm, 17705 N.W. Springville Road. This event, which starts at noon, is free and open to the public.
“This program has provided a unique opportunity to educate over a thousand individuals on the benefits of food waste composting. We celebrate the collaborative partnership between DEQ, PCC and Washington County,” said Alexis Allan, a Washington County Recycle at Work Program educator.
Allan and student Yvonne Norman, an AmeriCorps member at Portland Community College, developed the system that has decreased PCC’s waste stream while at the same time producing a valuable product for Rock Creek’s garden. It’s also an excellent fit with Rock Creek’s culture, which has embraced recycling of its cafeteria food waste as part of a larger effort toward building a sustainable campus. Portland Community College is a Recycle at Work participant, committed to sustainable business practices
The Washington County Solid Waste and Recycling Program partnered with the college’s Rock Creek Campus and received an Oregon Department of Environmental Quality Grant to begin a vermicomposting program at the campus. Grant funds were used to create a closed-loop composting program utilizing worms that recycle more than 650 pounds of food waste each month.
For more information, contact Alexis Allan at (503) 846-4931.