The Program in Community and Agroecology (PICA) is a residential community located in the Village that provides educational opportunities for the entire campus community. Through weekly student-led workdays and workshops at PICA, UCSC students are able to gain the hands on experience in organic gardening and sustainable living skills (ucscpica.org).
The Compost Coordinator is responsible for organizing the weekly maintenance of the Village Compost Program. This includes the weekly building, turning, and sifting of the compost piles in the 6-bin compost system at PICA. The Compost Coordinator would also facilitate a weekly compost work group for students interested in learning about compost. Compost Rangers would be responsible for picking up compost buckets and tracking food waste diversion. The food waste collection would take place in the 17 Village residential buildings and in the communal F-quad kitchen and reach over a 150 students. Food waste collected would be used to build a nutrient rich soil amendment for the PICA garden.
The Carbon Fund has provided funds to purchase supplies for the Village Compost Program such as strawbales and shovels.
Landfills are largely responsible for the production of methane gas, which is the one of the largest human contributors to greenhouse effect besides carbon dioxide. Methane gas continues release from full landfills long after they are closed due to exposed piping for ventilation. Diverting food waste from landfills allows compostable biodegradable refuse to join a closed-loop renewable resource system, ultimately decreasing the amount of methane gas released into the air. During the composting process, carbon is sequestered into the ground via the turning of food scraps into an organic soil amendment that is then added to the garden. Additionally, fossil fuels will not be used in the Village Compost System, as food scrap collection is done by foot or on bike and compost is built, turned, and shifted by hand. When students harvest, cook, and eat produce grown in the PICA garden with the compost made from the Village food scraps, they are supporting a local food system that is not dependent upon fossil fuels for the trucking and transportation of their food and waste. Residents are educated in the theory, methods, and benefits of compost through the Village Composting Program.