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Festival highlighting benefits of composting set for May 22

Darla Shelden, City Sentinel Reporter

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma residents will have an opportunity to learn about the benefits of composting at the upcoming Compost Festival scheduled for Saturday, May 22 at Will Rogers Gardens in Oklahoma City.

Educational workshops will take place from 9 to 11 a.m., followed by a free box lunch. Vendors, educational booths/workshops and other activities will take place outside from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Oklahoma State University Extension in Oklahoma County is partnering with the municipal park to host the educational and fun event,” said LaDonna Hines, Oklahoma County OSU Extension county director.

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), recycling food and other organic waste into compost provides a range of environmental benefits, including improving soil health, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, recycling nutrients, and mitigating the impact of droughts.

“Oklahoma County OSU Extension received an Oklahoma City Water Utilities Grant and we’re using that to sponsor water education, conservation and education activities such as the Compost Festival,” Hines added. “This is our second year to receive the grant.”

The Compost Festival at Will Rogers Gardens, 3400 NW 36th Street, is free to attend. Participants are asked to register because access will be limited due to COVID-19 indoor social-distancing restrictions.

Organizers ask that attendees follow the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines for wearing masks.

Several industry professionals will be sharing their knowledge during the festival, including Josh Campbell, Oklahoma County OSU Extension urban agriculture and natural resources educator. He will be talking about the various methods of home composting that are available.

“Compost is a great way to add needed organic matter to the soil, which is an important component for water conservation because it increases the soil’s ability to hold water,” Campbell said.

“For every 5 percent increase of organic matter to the soil, the soil’s water-holding capacity quadruples. As an added bonus, compost improves the soil’s structure, increases its nutrient retention and also can be used as a mulch.”

Other presenters on the agenda include Kelly Dillow and Alan Parleir.

Dillow, with Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, will demonstrate how to make and using compost tea in the home landscape and garden. Parleir, co-owner of Commonwealth Urban Farms of Oklahoma City, will discuss community composting and vermicomposting.

There will be composting demonstrations, a question-and-answer period and vendors offering the latest in compost equipment.

“We’re really excited to be able to offer this educational opportunity to the public. We have a great working relationship with the people from Will Rogers Gardens and we’re looking forward to a successful event,” Campbell said.

For more information, visit the Oklahoma County OSU Extension office website or call 405-713-1125.

Speakers featured at the OSU Compost Festival on May 22 include (L-R) Josh Campbell, Oklahoma County OSU Extension urban agriculture and natural resources educator; Kelly Dillow, with Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality; and Alan Parlier, co-owner of Commonwealth Urban Farms of Oklahoma City.

During the Compost Festival, hosted by Oklahoma County OSU Extension, educational workshops will be held from 9 to 11 a.m., followed by a free box lunch. Vendors, educational booths/workshops and other activities will take place outside from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Facebook photo.