2/7/2013 10:29:00 AM Comment period open for state permit for Amador compost site
A couple of farm operators outside of Almelund are seeking a state permit to do vermiculture (worm aided) composting at their JPS Farms, which one of the owners describes as a “bio-dynamic farm.”
Vegetables are marketed from the farm now, off approximately 20 acres. The farm is using greenhouses to extend the growing season and to provide habitat for the worms used in the on-farm composting operation now. The idea is to go full circle and give large quantities of organic/green materials the proper place to become composted matter. JPS Farms operator Jessica Paul explained that there are no large compost facilities in the region meant for recycling green waste.
JPS will accept compostable matter ranging from sawdust to grass clippings, to smashed grapes from wineries and other food prep leftovers. Paul said she and her partner Ricardo Piedade, hope the operation will fill a major void in the recycling network in this region. JPS Farms has about eight acres earmarked to be used for composting, and an application is pending for state authorization as a demonstration project. There are compost facilities in Minnesota--in Hutchinson, Rosemount, Benson, Truman, Duluth and Mantorville listed on the MN Pollution Control Agency website solid waste section. Paul said it seems illogical to have so much Chisago County green material carted off by waste haulers ending up far away, when the composting can be done locally and “make a big dent” in the costs of waste handling.
JPS Farms plans to package and market the completed compost product. Paul said with PCA approval there could be green compost available within the next several months. JPS Farms also has a Chisago County Conditional Use Permit (CUP) issued in April 2012 to sell vegetables and that’s been going well, said Paul. The farm has a relationship with Chisago Lakes schools food services as well. Paul looks forward to being able to host a field trip or open house with students to explain how the composting and growing cycles fit together. Customers now reserve certain size packages of produce as-needed.
JPS Farms was filling requests for fresh spinach and kale as late as November, Paul added. The Pollution Control Agency commercial compost permit review continues and if you want to comment the solid waste division’s Lisa Mojsiej is where you should direct concerns or comments: 520 Lafeyette Road North, St. Paul, MN 55155 or e mail her at Lisa.Mojsiej@ state.mn.us. If you are interested in either participating in the farm’s vegetable purchasing program, or want to make use of composting facility services after the large scale permit is approved: please contact JPS Farms (Ricardo) at 612-205-4899.