How to Make Your Own Compost by B
03 Dec 2019 12:42 PM
- Start with an appropriate container. Location determines what type of container is most appropriate for you.
- My passions lie with regenerative agriculture and the stories of people of color. I find joy and strength when I listen to others tell their story and when I work outside under the sun with the land. Due to my passions, I study within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. I am originally from Latin America and have made my home in Iowa, specifically in a vibrant area of Des Moines. I am an American yet to some around me, I am not. Living in the United States, I am under the status Deferred Action Childhood Arrival (DACA). Some call this status Dreamer(s), which I personally dislike because I am not dreaming. I am living in the “American” reality and I have been for as long as I can remember.
- Add in all unwanted decomposable materials such as fruit and vegetable scraps, eggshells, dry leaves, small twigs, etc.
- During my first couple of years at Iowa State, I really struggled. After the 2016 elections, I found myself bitter and betrayed by the United States. I had serious trust issues with white people or anyone who I deemed a Trump supporter. In my case, both categories basically fit all people in my major. Simultaneously with the elections, I was on the verge of dropping out of college due to failing grades and insufficient funds to pay for my tuition. As a DACA student, I am unable to receive government funding which restricts where I can turn to help during times of high instability and stress. During the following semester, I was sexually harassed by a professor which made me develop an eating disorder and spiral into a deep depression.
- Iowa agriculture is monoculture and the majority of farmers happen to be older white men. In a school whose legacy is agriculture, you see a lot of this influence in majors like Agriculture Business, Agronomy, and Animal Science, to just name a few. In my experience as a woman of color within these environments, you have to demand and claim your space because it is often disregarded. However just because I claimed space for myself, I still questioned my identity as a woman of color in Iowa agriculture. Most of my peers come from farms in Iowa and usually want to return to them. I want to invest into other women of color and fight for local food sovereignty in highly urbanized areas around the United States.
- Make sure compost ingredients are moist and you should rotate ingredients weekly to distribute moisture and heat buildup from good bacteria.
- It took me a while to heal from all the hurt and move on from the prejudice that I had let take root in my life. Often in these healing times, I would make it a point to talk, ask, and listen to people who thought differently than me. Fighting people with fire does no one any good. Instead, I chose to arm myself with understanding and attentive listening skills. As I began to learn about the people who I had prejudice against, I began to humanize them, and I hoped that they would humanize me in return.
- Over time I developed compassion for people who actually opposed and thought differently than me. It was truly a mixed emotion, and I was confused with myself which usually led into tears. I constantly challenged my thinking and got out of my comfort zone. Throughout everything, I began to learn more about myself and develop into a stronger individual.
- After a couple months, the compost should be a rich dark brown color and have a soil like texture.
- During my time at Iowa State, I have had a lot of struggles and questions but, moving on from my first years, I have become confident in my own skin, literally. Going to a predominantly white institution as a woman of color interested in agriculture is difficult. I questioned my worth and true value as a person and student. Not that long ago, I used to dislike the color of my skin, however, I noticed that my skin matched the soil during different times of the season. My color is of the soil that I admire for its ability to sustain life. I think about rupi kaur’s poem here:
it is a blessing
to be the color of the earth
do you know how often
flowers confuse me for home?
- Finally, use your compost to add nutrients to your garden and enjoy the results of a bountiful garden space.
- I learned to love myself and my journey. I now believe I am where I am meant to be and that everything that has happened to me, has happened for a reason. I am the best candidate for my life and to do outreach to other women of color interested in agriculture. I learned that I do have a spot at the table of agriculture even if I view it differently from my peers. I am able to make change and have an impact with my voice.