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Cougars & Mustangs 

Let’s face it, my fellow Americans: We are leading the universe in our ability to consume. While we may bemoan about not having enough, the fact is that, as a society, we are heads and shoulders above our peers in our limitless urge for more.

Thus far, our means of production—through questionable and perhaps absurd numbers of subsidies—have kept up with our insatiable appetites. If you’ve ever cringed at half-eaten trays of food left lying around and forgotten like orphaned children, you’ve witnessed how Americans are much like the robber barons of old in an unconscious sense of entitlement to overabundance.

One surefire way to advance your understanding of a connected universe is to get out and really get your hands in the dirt—or, in this case, compost. Compost training will be offered at a workshop at Cal Poly April 23 through 27. Hosted by the Center for Sustainability in Cal Poly’s College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Studies (CAFES), the workshop will be presented by the Maine Compost School.

The workshop includes a combination of classroom, laboratory, and hands-on exercises. Areas of training include basic composting methods, regulations and feedstock analysis, compost marketing, and the business of composting. Special emphasis will be placed on the benefits of compost for crop health, nutrient management, water quality, and climate-change mitigation.

The Professional Compost Training seminar will take place at the Cal Poly Compost Unit, and will also feature tours of regional composting operations and farms that incorporate large-scale composting techniques. It will be part of a nationwide teaching tour that has the Maine Compost School instructors providing training to people interested or involved with medium- and large-scale composting operations. Their school offers a certificate program that trains personnel to be qualified compost site operators.

Composting is part of one of four areas on which the CAFES Center focuses. The workshop is one of many ongoing programs in which it supports sustainability through education and research.

While the five-day workshop is geared toward agricultural professionals, it will be open to all. The cost for the weeklong training is $250 and includes instructional materials and meals (lunches and snacks).

Intern Jason Keedy compiled this week’s Cougars and Mustangs. Send your collegiate news to

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