Based at NC State University, the facility has more than 20 different types of backyard composting and vermicomposting units and a small ASP operation.
BioCycle October 2016
She teaches backyard composting and vermicomposting at the center. The US Composting Council (USCC) and NC Composting Council offer an annual 5-day Compost Operator Training Course (COTC) at the site. “There are four USCC COTCs around the country,” notes Sherman. “We are the only course to have a permanent facility with our own equipment.” Training session attendees include public and private composting operators, farmers, recycling specialists, extension educators and other governmental agency personnel.
The large selection of bins and technologies as well as feedstock storage areas allow educators to teach and demonstrate the biology, chemistry and physical processes of composting, technology selection, recipe mix formulation, site selection and preparation, odor control and end product marketing.
Sherman also conducts field tours at the CL2 as part of her annual vermicomposting conference. The annual event features comprehensive instruction from Sherman, as well as from world-renowned worm farmers, researchers, and vermicompost marketing experts. The worm bins on display range from household-size to an 8-foot by 5-foot continuous-flow reactor (with several styles in between, including a Worm Wigwam and an 8 square foot produce shipping bin used for vermicomposting).
The CL2 was developed on two acres. While owned by NC State, the CL2 depends on outside funds and volunteers to operate. “I was given $7,500 (by outside organizations) during the past year, which I’ve been using to renovate the Worm Barn and grade the site,” says Sherman. Last year, she was awarded an NCSU Sustainability Fund Grant to hire a student intern (“Compost Concierge”) to recruit and coordinate volunteers to do hands-on activities and demonstrations at the CL2. Current contributors and CL2 partners include Caterpillar, the NC State Sustainability Fund, NC State Waste Reduction and Recycling Office, NC Composting Council, City of Raleigh Solid Waste Services, Earth Farms, Ecoverse and McGill Environmental Systems.
A 24-feet by 24-feet aerated static pile was recently installed. Peter Moon of 02 Compost led a workshop on how farmers and other operators can use this type of system to manage animal manures, food scraps and other organic materials. Sherman plans to add windrows, and incorporate demonstration elements to teach storm water management using rain gardens, green roofs, native landscapes, and erosion control and slope stabilization with compost socks and blankets. “We intend to make this a state-of-the-art training facility, and the stars are finally aligning to make this happen,” notes Sherman.
Rich Flammer of Hidden Resources, a BioCycle Contributing Editor, is a composting and zero waste consultant (www.compostingconsultant.com)