How to Make Your Own Compost by B

03 Dec 2019 12:42 PM

Guest Blogger Guest Blogger

  1. Start with an appropriate container. Location determines what type of container is most appropriate for you.
    1. 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.
  2. Add in all unwanted decomposable materials such as fruit and vegetable scraps, eggshells, dry leaves, small twigs, etc.
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
  3. Make sure compost ingredients are moist and you should rotate ingredients weekly to distribute moisture and heat buildup from good bacteria.
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
  4. After a couple months, the compost should be a rich dark brown color and have a soil like texture.
    1. 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?

  1. Finally, use your compost to add nutrients to your garden and enjoy the results of a bountiful garden space.
    1. 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.



In My Words     Latinx, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences