Beech Spring Composting is a non-profit composting operation located in Union Mills, North Carolina. The non-profit’s goal is to make composting more convenient for residents of Rutherford County while diverting food waste from landfills to four local community gardens (Ruffton Roots, St John’s Community Garden, and two others in Marion) and farms.
Beech Spring Composting is owned and operated by Thomas Baggett. Thomas has a background in farming and landscaping, working on various farms across the South before deciding Rutherford County was home. He started Beech Spring Compost when the compost he was producing surpassed what he could use himself.
Beech Spring Composting depends on donations from the community for inputs. He has developed relationships with local farms to source animal manures (mainly horse & goat). He has also developed relationships with local restaurants to divert commercial food waste from landfills. He hopes to add sawdust from local lumber companies to the mix soon.
Last but not least, his third source is households! How does it work?
- Get a bucket (bring your own or make a $2 donation for a single bucket or a $10/month donation for a monthly subscription).
- Collect compostables in your bucket as you generate food scraps (veggie and fruit scraps (cooked or raw), dairy and meat scraps (cooked or raw), coffee filters, coffee grounds, and paper products.)
- Bring your bucket to the farmers market when full or when convenient (pickup is also available for a $5 fee).
- Thomas weighs your food waste and you earn 20% of the weight of your food waste in finished compost.
- Decide if you want to keep your compost or donate it to a local community garden.
- Take home your bucket or exchange your Beech Spring bucket for a clean one and head home to repeat the cycle.
Beech Spring Composting’s operation generates composts using thermophilic (also known as hot composting) piles. The hot composting piles are routinely turned to maintain a temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit for 2 months.
The piles have a standard ratio of 2 or 3 parts carbon (also known as “browns”) to 1 part nitrogen green materials (also known as “greens”). “Browns” are plant materials like wood chips, leaves, cardboard, paper, etc. While “greens” refer to mainly food wastes like fruit, vegetables, bread, etc.
Thomas’ well-designed process and hard work make it possible for Farmers market customers to purchase quality finished compost that doesn’t come in a plastic bag at an affordable price. His work also reduces the amount of methane gas released by food waste in our landfills. To learn more about donating food waste or purchasing a high-quality finished compost, contact Thomas by emailing email@example.com or calling 828-789-9421.