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Winter composting with Revelstoke’s Local Food Initiative

Tips for winter composting from Kelsey Gaspirini, executive director of LFI

Revelstoke’s Local Food Initiative


This article was originally published in the Revelstoke TIMES Magazine, available now at your local coffee shop, book store, or any other business in downtown Revelstoke.

The snow’s arrived, but just because you can’t see green, doesn’t mean you can’t think green.

With snow on the ground, it can be hard to remember the ground underneath. LFI wants folks to remember that even though they can’t see the ground, they can still look after it by composting through the winter. With a few tips from Kelsey Gaspirini, executive director of Revelstoke’s Local Food Initiative, you can make sure that your food scraps don’t go to waste.

  • Know what goes in and doesn’t – The contents can stay the same throughout the year. Include kitchen scraps like vegetable or fruit leftovers, coffee grounds, tea leaves, and eggshells for a healthy compost.
  • Break up your materials – Compost will decompose faster if the bits being added in are smaller and have more surface area — especially in the cold winter, this is important!
  • Don’t forget your browns – Keep a bag or two of leaves close by to add in. Compost should have the right balance of green (nitrogen rich) and browns (carbon rich) materials. When adding the compost from the kitchen, remember to add your brown materials. Having a bag of leaves by your compost bin is an easy way to maintain nitrogen levels when there is only white around.
  • Insulate and leave it to tan – If you can, moving your bin to a sunny area in your yard will help increase its temperature. You can also add insulation around your bin (leaves or straw work great) to keep in some of the heat.
  • Make a plan for access – With all the snow in Revelstoke, it’s important to plan. How will you get to your compost in the winter? Will you have to maintain a shoveled path? Can you move your bin closer for the winter? Having a plan before there is five feet of snow will help with your success.
  • You can freeze compost – You can freeze your compost throughout the winter and add it into your main bin when the temperature warms. You can do this either in your freezer (if you have space) or by picking up some larger buckets and leaving them outside in the cold. You should be able to keep them frozen until warmer temps come back, and you can add it to your main bin. Remember to not wait too late and move the compost into its real home before the bears come back to town. When you do move it to your big bin, add your browns and mix them together for a proper balance.
  • Be patient – The sun will return, the snow will melt, and the compost will decompose! Your rate of decomposition will decrease – potentially even stop – but once spring hits and your compost gets warm, it will decompose. So just be patient, and know that winter won’t last forever.