Southern Maine Community College fire up their Rocket!

Article posted on 19.10.2015


This summer saw the arrival of a new friend of Southern Maine Community College, the Rocket composter!

The composter sits comfortably behind the Culinary Arts building and will not only be used to discard food waste into for the Culinary Arts program, but will be used for the Horticulture program when compost is produced.

Spearheading the project to acquire The Rocket was Dave Palm, an instructor in the Horticulture department.

Mr Palm is also planning to put compost collection buckets in many of the buildings on campus for SMCC staff and students to dispose of their food waste. Eventually they hope to get the Dining Hall and Seawolves Café looped into the process. This compost will be used on many of the landscaped beds around the Horticulture Building, the Spring Point Arboretum, campus, and once they get it going at full capacity, the Community Gardens behind Culinary Arts.


Cheryl Rich, the Horticulture Department Chair, and Dave Palm had been discussing the possibility of getting a composting system on campus for a few years. They have used compost for topdressing the gardens in front of the Horticulture building to help reduce weeds and to improve their soil quality. They had been buying this compost from an outside source but they felt that they would generate enough food waste as well as leaves and yard waste to supply a good share of what they required.

The Rocket was fired up on the 25th September with the initial process. This required 29 gallons of food waste, 20 gallons of wood chips, and 20 gallons of active compost to introduce the microorganisms to kick-start the compost process.

Dave’s hope is that all students will begin to see the results of composting and develop a deeper appreciation for making and using compost in their gardens and landscapes.

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