Coaxing Curiosity into Passion – Master Recycler Composter Eastside Program

By Sid Gupta, Master Recycler Composter Eastside, 2012 program participant

Sid at Farmers Market

My first thought when I walked into the opening Master Recycler Composter Eastside (MRC Eastside) program lecture was, “What have I gotten myself into?”  As the students began introducing themselves, I found that several of them were already involved in organic agriculture.  I, on the other hand, had a garden choked with grass, sandy soil and a fledgling composting system that operated in name only.  Once the class began in force, however, everyone from novices to seasoned veterans was so engrossed that there was no time left to be intimidated.  Some interest in the subject matter was required, but the instructors really excelled at coaxing curiosity and stoking it into passion while ensuring that even the more advanced among us were engaged and felt comfortable sharing personal anecdotes.

The greatest strengths of the MRC Eastside program as a whole are the practical demonstrations providing hands-on learning and the combination of knowledge and sheer personability of the two primary instructors, Carey Thornton and Falaah Jones. From installing a 300-gallon food digester at the Vedic Cultural Center – where the community members were so excited about the project that several of them decided to implement similar bins at their homes – to the compost demonstrations at Pickering Garden, to tabling events throughout Issaquah, the amount of information, experience and resources I have been given has been truly staggering.

MRC Eastside program participants install a food digester at the Vedic Cultural Center.

MRC Eastside program participants install a food digester at the Vedic Cultural Center.

The sense of community that comes with working on sustainability projects with other like-minded individuals was refreshing (especially having grown up in Oklahoma), but my favorite experience during the program was meeting people whose interests in backyard composting, integrated pest management and organic gardening  were only marginal, and then seeing their enthusiasm grow as we explained the benefits and simplicity of sustainable agriculture and waste management.

In the past year, thanks to what I have learned and the people I have met through MRC Eastside, I have been able to amend the soil of my garden, establish functional yard and food waste composting systems, replace my sprinklers with drip irrigation, construct an herb spiral, implement crop rotation in my vegetable bed and help divert over 700 pounds of food waste through my outreach project at the Vedic Cultural Center.  Perhaps most importantly, I get to share useful information with people I meet, feel confident explaining it and share my personal observations.

Become a Master Recycler Composter!

Pickering BarnIf you are a resident of eastern King County and want to become a Master Recycler Composter, please fill out our application.

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Wednesday, August 28.

Training Dates & Times

Wednesdays, 6:30-8:30 p.m. – September 4, 11, 18, 25 AND
Saturdays, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. – September 7, 14, 21, 28


Pickering Garden and various sites in Issaquah


Email or call (206) 633-0451 ext. 123.

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