May 12 or June 7 & 14: Composting classes

Feeding the Earth: Pivotal Frontiers of Composting. A slide-show/lecture/discussion on the frontiers of composting and urban/food/farm relations. It sets these frontiers in the broad context they deserve.

Over the past decade, backyard composting has become increasingly popular, and growing numbers of restaurants, cafeterias & supermarkets have begun to divert their organic waste to composting facilities. In this slide-show-based lecture-and-discussion, Nick Shorr argues that these movements offer a shift in our relations to Nature of historic proportions.

We begin with a brief review of the basic ecology of compost and its remarkable benefits. We then step back to learn how we dealt with waste over the past millennia, ending around 1850. By this time the best farming on every continent was built on careful recycling of organic matter. We then note the circumstances that led farmers away from these fundamental insights; and the ongoing costs of this disconnection.

We end by turning to the present and its possibilities for the future, with a focus on Southwest Pennsylvania. We consider some recent developments that compete for organic waste, and strategies that would maximize the environmental and social benefits of this resource frontier.

Each class is full of wonderful images, interesting and important facts and ideas, and ends with ample time for discussion. Registration includes resource hand-outs for further thought, refreshments and light snacks.

Nick Shorr is Program Manager of Regional Composting Initiatives at the Pennsylvania Resources Council. He has a PhD in Agricultural Anthropology from Indiana U and has done fieldwork in Amazonia, managed farmers’ markets, worked on composting facilities, worked on community gardens and farms in five states, and taught the history and ecology of global agriculture at seven universities.

The 1 Session Treatment:
Wed, May 12th, 6:30--8:30pm at CCI Center, South Side, Pittsburgh: 64 South 14th Street (1 block south of Carson St, at the corner of 14th & Sarah St.)

The 2 Session Mini-Course:
Two Mondays, June 7 and 14, 7--9 pm at Phipps Garden Center Auditorium at 1059 Shady Avenue, just South of Fifth Avenue.

For more information and to register, go to .

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