The Plenitud staff was happy to receive Professor Joaquin Chong for a visit to the farm last week. Joaquin is a research professor at the University of Puerto Rico's agricultural research station in the municipality of Adjuntas, and he is an expert in a wide variety of agricultural topics. He is very generously donating his time to be a consultant for our current Bioponics grant from the USDA FIDA.
One of Joaquin's areas of inquiry and expertise is compost and the large scale composting of agricultural wastes and manures. As part of his own grant research, and to support Plenitud's Bioponics grant, he helped us assemble a static thermal compost pile in mid-may of this year. This pile was composed of about 45 percent fresh cow manure, about 45 percent shredded wood, and about 10 percent native clay soil.
A static compost pile is not turned. Aeration is accomplished by laying down plastic ventilation pipes underneath the pile. A thermal compost pile means one that heats up to between 110 and 150 degrees Fahrenheit, known as the thermophilic temperature range. We have been eagerly awaiting this compost, and when Joaquin visited the farm last week, he pronounced it officially 'done!'
This crumbly, moist, dark brown mixture is teeming with life and full of nutrients, and we will spread it around the gardens and trees of Plenitud with joy. We are very grateful to Joaquin for his dedication to organic farming practices and for sharing everything he knows.
We are happy to share that the demonstration of the Bioponics system is well underway. This system is part of a grant project for the research, demonstration, and education of local growers in proven technologies to produce specialty crops that can bring more income and more food security. The grant was awarded by FIDA (Fondo de Innovación para el Desarrollo Agricola) as part of the USDA-AMS (Agricultural Marketing Service): Specialty Crops Grants. We at Plenitud are very grateful for this support.
In addition to educating farmers and growers, the goal of the grant is also to educate consumers on the benefits of consuming healthy and fresh foods. This will hopefully stimulate demand for these specialty crops, which will then encourage more farmers to get involved. Stay tuned for more updates as we continue operating this system and learning all along the way.
Equipo de Trabajo de Plenitud.