By: Dominique Martin
Hello! My name is Dominique, and I am the current Student Assistant Compost Manager for the Furman Farm. My fellowship entails picking up food waste from various locations across campus and depositing them at our compost site on the R.L. Grace property. In addition to this aspect of my job, I am also the lead student that maintains the compost on our on-campus farm, The Furman Farm, located beside the Shi Center. I enjoy my position because I am able to learn about sustainable food systems while also making connections with people that are involved with the food system process. Additionally, I enjoy talking with the employees within our dining facilities and learning about their diverse backgrounds, as well as hearing their opinions about our food system. I help educate guests and employees about the Furman Farm and how what we do has a positive effect on Furman’s sustainability goals.
I work alongside the Student Assistant Farm Manager so that we can deliver the produce harvested from the farm to our Dining Hall. Once it gets there, the produce is used in many different ways such as vegetable stock, salads, and cooked vegetables all served to the students. After food is consumed, any leftover food from mealtimes is placed in very large bins that I then pick up and transfer to the composting site. Some compost is used within the farm itself and the rest is sent to the compost site previously mentioned. The relationship between the produce that we supply the dining hall and the waste we receive back for composting illustrates how we can take “trash” and turn it into a usable source of nourishment for the very foods we consume. I assist our farm manager, Bruce Adams, with maintaining our composting site and recording data on our food waste throughout this whole process.
I really started taking an interest in food systems and waste management towards the end of my high school career. I took an environmental science class that covered waste management as one of the units, which is where my interest peaked. I wanted to continue my education in terms of sustainability and sustainable waste management practices, but I did not want to be confined to a classroom or a lab. When I came to Furman, I looked for a position as a student worker but had no desire to work for any specific department. I ended up working on the Furman Farm during my freshman year and since then have found my calling with sustainable food systems and waste management.