“I call myself a compost activist,” said Moab local Diane Ackerman. She’s fiercely passionate about turning kitchen scraps into rich soil and will lead a workshop on Saturday, April 10 to teach other gardeners the tricks.
“We have lots of gardens and gardeners in Moab but not much talk about compost,” said Ackerman. “I’ve been doing it all my life and I thought it would be fun to reach out and find folks in town that could be interested.”
Ackerman connected with Becky Mann, the manager of Moab Community Gardens.
MoCom Gardens provides space for local gardeners and promotes building skills and community around local agriculture.
Why isn’t composting more common, according to Ackerman?
“It’s simple: it’s work!” she said. “It’s really, really hard work, but it’s also very fulfilling just like growing a garden. I like to do things where I can see the end result.”
Creating your own compost at home is also less expensive than purchasing store-bought organic fertilizer, which pleases Ackerman.
“I’m very, very scotch,” she said. “I’m way too cheap to buy organic fertilizers, especially when we have plenty of garbage that is causing problems in our landfills.”
MoCom Gardens is a project of the Resiliency Hub, a Moab nonprofit with goals that include modeling healthy stewardship. Resiliency Hub received funding from the City of Moab 2021 Grant Program to support the gardens project and to host a series of free, outdoors gardening workshops in 2021.
“To be on the safe side, we had a pretty quiet year last year, but we're really looking forward to these outdoor community events,” said Mann.
“COVID definitely impacted us so the grant from the city made a big difference,” she said. The annual Trashion Show, the Resiliency Hub’s main fundraising event, was canceled last year due to the pandemic.
“We’re going to have workshops throughout the year, highlighting local farmers and their areas of expertise,” said Mann. She said that 30 residents have signed up to garden plots at the two current community gardens, and MoCom is looking for more spots to build new gardens.
At the composting workshop, Ackerman will lead the group in the construction of a compost pile at the community garden space at the My Village Community Center (721 N. 500 West). Snacks and further support for the workshop are being provided by Moonflower Community Cooperative.
“Composting makes a lot of sense but it’s like a lot of things: it seems mysterious,” Ackerman said. “People don’t understand how easy it is.”
Ackerman realizes that teaching one workshop might not inspire everyone to build their own pile.
“Will everyone do it? It doesn’t matter,” she said. “Someone once taught this to me and I’m happy to be that person now.”
“I know that this is something that if you’re serious about your garden it will improve it and get you in shape,” said Ackerman.
A second workshop will be held on May 8 with biologist Ashley Kumbaris, who serves as the steward of the Our Village Community Garden. She will be talking about weed identification and organic weed control practices.
For more information about the gardens and upcoming workshops, watch the Moab Community Gardens Facebook page or email email@example.com.