Re-earthing Organics on Thetis
Like other Gulf Islands, Thetis does not have access to municipal organic waste collection services, nor does it have a community composting facility. Thetis Islanders must deal with their organic waste at a household level. Many Thetis Islanders already compost, but not everyone is in a situation to do so. These organics often find their way into the waste stream and are hauled off the island in the form of garbage. Conversely, each spring, local farmers and gardeners have been importing finished compost by the truckload, and in the spring of 2021 more than $10,000 worth of compost was brought to the island. This dichotomy presents a clear solution: local, on-island community composting, benefiting not only local gardeners and farmers, but the community as a whole. This solution however, is by no means a straightforward task and the complications have made the implementation of a community composting initiative on Thetis Island challenging.
After years of trying to establish a community composting system, in March 2021, Elisabeth Bond of Jollity Farm reached out to the Thetis Island Nature Conservancy (ThINC) to take over this challenge.
Over the summer, a small team working for ThINC, ThINCpod 2.0, in partnership with TIRRA, explored the potential for the creation of an on-island community composting system. One of the outputs was a report, ROOT: Re-earthing Organics on Thetis. The ROOT report outlines regulations concerning composting in BC, the state of composting on Thetis, and community members' interest in a community composting initiative. Finally, based on all of these, the report offers multiple scenarios for a community composting system. In addition to the report, ThINCpod 2.0 created compost education materials, including a detailed presentation on what compost is and how to do it, as well as an infographic about why composting is important. On Saturday, August 14th, the Pod also coordinated a ‘Compost Crawl’, showcasing diverse composting (and other forms of organic waste diversion) systems on the island.