All posts by Kat Seal

Sneak Peak: Sustainability Week

It’s been one heck of a year. How is Sustain Mizzou celebrating?

In April, we’re dedicating an entire week to topics and issues surrounding sustainability on campus and in Columbia.

The themes are Waste, Energy, Transportation, Local Food + Local Business, and No Impact

Featured events include an E-Waste Drive, Transportation Fair + Bike Decorating, a benefit concert for the Local Food Drive, Carrot Mob, a keynote presentation on Food Security + Dumpster Diving by Rachel Vaughn, and an Environmental Resource Fair.

Check out our homemade calendar of events and keep a look out for more information!

Five Steps to Vermicompost!

Vermicompost, the finished product of processing organic waste with worms, has many features that make compost appropriate for dorm rooms, apartments, and other living areas that do not have access to a backyard. Vermicompost is compact, odorless, and reduces your waste. It may seem daunting to create your very own vermicompost bin, but just follow this guide and you’ll be well on your way! You’ll be amazed at how simple the process is. Start saving those coffee grounds and apple cores, and then get ready experience vermicompost in your home, dorm room, or backyard.

Step 1: Gather Materials
In order to create a successful vermicompost bin, there are a few essentials you will need.

  • A plastic storage bin, at least 10 inches deep
  • A small drill
  • Newspaper
  • Red worms (also known as “Red Wigglers”)

Luckily, all of these supplies can easily obtained in Columbia. After purchasing a plastic bin and 30 worms, the grand total was under $7. I recommend borrowing a drill from a handy friend.

Step 2: Prepare Your Bin
Now it’s time to really get started.

With the drill, make 10 – 15 small holes on the lid and the sides of the bin. Remember to drill the holes small enough so worms can’t crawl through. The holes are necessary for air circulation.

Step 3: Make the Bedding

For the bedding, I used newspaper mainly because I had a a few old copies lying around. Rip the newspaper into long, medium width strips. These strips will act as the bedding. Do not be stingy with the amount of newspaper you rip. Worms naturally live in about 8 inches of bedding. Run water over the strips of newspaper until damp and set them in the bin.

Step 4: Add Food Scraps and Worms
This is the exciting part: adding your food scraps to your bin!

Technically, if something was once alive you can compost it. However, for the purposed of your personal worm bin, avoid composting meat, fish, dairy, and oils. Those will take longer to decompose and have the tendency to smell. Also avoid composting invasive weeds and diseased plants. Make sure to cover food scraps with wet paper bedding. Now you can introduce the worms to their new home! It is crucial to buy red worms. Other varieties (like “nightcrawlers”) will try and escape the bin. You can also add a little soil and leaves from outside to imitate the worms’ habitat.

Step 5: Caring for you bin
Maintaining a vermicompost bin is really easy as pie. Be sure to keep the bin dark and moist, just how the worms like it.  Always cover your food scraps with wet bedding to avoid odors and fruit flies. Feed your worms at least once a week. And most importantly, be proud of your worm bin! You might even feel obliged to name your new lil’ guys.

An Ode to the Potluck

Since August, the Sustainahouse has been hosting Community Potluck Dinners every other Wednesday. Each dinner takes on a different personality, whether it be dominated by delicious soup or seduced by sweet spiced muffins. Some dinners feed upwards of forty people, while others are only a humble fifteen. As the dishes vary from simple to complex, you can always count on rice and beans prepared by Sustainahouse residents.

In the spirit of the season (and in the spirit of loving food), Sustainahouse hosted a Thanksgiving themed potluck. In the midst of the potluck madness, I realized that this was my first “Thanksgiving” created outside of family obligations. It was a time to leave family traditions and forge new ones; incorporating new values, friends, and recipes. Our table was truly a hodgepodge of smells and colors. We were graced with chestnut stuffing, a buttery roasted turkey, cranberry salsa, pumpkin cookies, chocolate banana bread, fresh salads, and even a nostalgic “dirt bucket” dessert.

Without hesitation, I can say that it was one beautiful meal.

I am thankful for the nurturing powers food has on our bodies and friendships.

Happy Thanksgiving to all the potluck lovers out there!

The Thanksgiving Feast

Happy Folks -- Potluck Regulars
Pies, pies, and more pies

Colombia to Columbia: A conversation between cultures

Colombia to Columbia is an event featuring two indigenous men from the Colombian Amazon: Ancízar Gutiérrez and Reynelio Yagarí. They are both leaders in their community, Ancízar and Reynelio work in traditional medicine and the preservation of their community and its culture. Come converse with Ancízar and Reynelio about their work to maintain their millennium-old culture and their community’s commitment to nonviolent resistance in a country in conflict. Colombia to Columbia is open to all students, faculty, and members of the Columbia community.

WHEN: Wednesday, November 2 at 5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m.

WHERE: Tate Auditorium, in Tate Hall

RSVP on the Facebook event here, and share it with your friends!
After the event, we everyone to join Ancízar and Reynelio at the Sustainahouse for a Community Potluck Dinner.

Sponsored by Sustain Mizzou and HLAFSA.

It’s time to Eat Real, Mizzou

Food Day is a national grassroots campaign working for sustainable, affordable, healthy, and just food in America.

Join us in celebrating Food Day this Monday on October 24, 2011!

Mizzou will be taking part by hosting two events:

Fair Food Fair
Lower Bengal Lair, Memorial Union
Meet and greet with Mizzou’s students, faculty, and staff working on sustainable food issues. Learn about what’s already happening (did you know 15% of the food in the dining halls is local?!), what can be done to make positive changes, and how to get involved. Plus, enjoy free local produce from Missouri farmers!

FRESH Documentary Screening and Panel Discussion
7pm, Conservation Auditorium, ABNR
FRESH celebrates the farmers, thinkers and business people across America who are re-inventing our food system. E Forging healthier, sustainable alternatives, they offer a practical vision for a future of our food and our planet.

Panel to follow FRESH featuring Dr. John Ikerd, root cellar owner Jake Davis, and Tim Gibbons from the Missouri Rural Crisis Center

Think of it as Earth Day for Food

**Interested in volunteering for Food Day? We have a cornucopia of ways to help out! (Vegetable costume, anyone?) Click this link to fill out a volunteer form. Feel free to contact Monica at with any questions, comments, or just to chat about food**

Show your support for Food Day at Mizzou and RSVP on our Facebook event HERE !