A composting demonstration site has been opened in Ballina for the local community to visit and learn about composting and prevention of food waste
The new composting site is located in the Karen/GIY Community Garden, adjacent to St. Muredach’s college.
It was officially opened by Mayor Johnny O’Malley at a ceremony attended by representatives of the Karen community, GIY, Mayo North East, local schools, Rural Social Scheme, public representatives and the Tidy Towns.
The composting demonstration site was developed by Mayo North East and co-funded by Mayo County Council.
Community composting demonstration sites are an initiative of the EPA Master Composter programme which aims to educate community volunteers in the skills of composting.
In 2012, Mayo County Council co-ordinated the Master Composter Training programme and 30 volunteers were trained in the skills of composting and the first demonstration site was built in Claremorris with the support of Clar IRD.
One of these Master Composter Volunteers – Gerry Mulherin went on to spearhead the Ballina project.
Speaking at the opening on behalf of ‘North East Mayo’, Gerry Mulherin said: “The composting demonstration site is a welcome addition to our successful Karen/GIY community garden.
“The garden is a focal point for the Karen community and is now used as a training facility for the Ballina Eat Wise community food initiative to combat food poverty.
“A special thanks is due to Bishop John Fleming for his on-going support and for allowing a large portion of his own garden to be used for this community project.
“This project could not have been completed without the hard work of Des Ruthledge and his RSS team. I would also like to thank Chris Slack and all the Karen and GIY volunteers who helped establish the site,” Mr Mulherin added.
The composting site displays a variety of composting methods, including a unit for composting leaves, a wormery for food waste and a 3-bay system for turning garden waste into compost.
Craig Benton, composting expert with the EPA Stop Food Waste Master Composter programme, gave a display on the use of worms for composting. There was much delight among the many children attending the opening when Craig showed them the composting worms!
Sharon Cameron, Environment Awareness Officer with Mayo County Council, welcomes the initiative.
Open to visitors
Said Ms Cameron: “I am delighted with the new composting demonstration site in Ballina; people learn through various methods and sometimes it is much easier to explain a process such as composting through practical demonstration.
“This site is an excellent resource for the community in Ballina and surrounding villages to learn how to compost in their own estates, homes and schools. The Master Composter programme has being a tremendous success with many of the volunteers who participated in the training playing an important role in compost education in their own communities.”
The new composting site is open for visitors.
Pictured above: Stop Food Waste’s composting expert, Craig Benton, with Ballina Town Mayor Cllr Johnnie O’Malley; Mayo Co Council’s Environment Awareness Officer, Sharon Cameron; Mayo North East LEADER’s, Gerry Mulherin; Rural Social Scheme’s, Des Ruttledge and Karen Burmese gardener, Tyi Shwee, all contribute to the “worm bin” at the official opening of Ballina’s new Composting Demonstration Site in the the Bishop’s Garden, Ballina. Photo: Henry Wills