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U DOO Does a Garden Good

By Jody Record, Campus Journal Editor
April 23, 2008

Now that the snow is really gone, people are busy getting their hands dirty as they ready their gardens for the season. A great way to help those gardens grow is by using U DOO, UNH’s own compost.

The university’s composting program began as a way to reduce food waste and increase awareness about the food cycle. Research had been conducted at Kingman Farm during the 1990s to produce a high quality soil enrichment using livestock manure.

Then, in 1998, the Office of Sustainability partnered with Dining Services to turn food scraps into compost. Now, upwards of 40,000 pounds of food are collected from dining halls each month.

Before it becomes compost, the food is pulverized by pulpers installed in each dining hall. The pulpers act like a garbage disposal, grinding the food into tiny pieces while extracting the liquid, making the raw waste easier to transport. The dry material also decomposes more quickly, eliminating odor problems.

The buckets of waste are taken to Kingman Farm where they are added to one of the eight windrows—200-yard long rows of compost piles. Other materials in the windrows—the most common form of farm composting--include manure, crops and plants, sawdust and other organic waste colleted at UNH.

A tractor is used to make a hole in the windrow so the waste can be added.

In the spring, the compost is sifted and collected in 35-pound bags to be sold as U DOO.

John McLean, manager of UNH’s Kingman and Woodman farms, says workers have filled about 1,500 bags this year.

U DOO, which sells for $5 a bag, can be purchased now through May 29 at Kingman Farm Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 3p.m. or at the Durham Market Place. The compost is also sold by the yard ($35 a square yard).

“It’s going fast,” McLean says of U DOO. “As fast as we bring it in to the Durham Market Place, it’s going out. It’s pretty popular.”

To place a compost order, call Kingman Farm at 749-4578.

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