Hello Team Permaculture Noosa,

This is the best club! There is so much going on that I cannot stay on top of all. I will focus on just one project today, the double grind compost delivered to the Cooroy Community Gardens.

We have been experimenting with Noosa’s green waste double grind.  This is where waste is delivered to the tip via green waste bins, private and commercial deliveries. It is stored in a pile until there is enough for a grinding machine to turn into single or double grind. Here is a video of the process:

We had a cubic meter delivered a few months ago and we composted it with manure, chop and drop, and food scraps.  Things seemed to be fine with the mulch and it was full of worms. So, we had 36 cubic meters delivered. Plenty of worms – video clip.

A key principle of Permaculture is keeping organic matter on the farm, or in this case, in Noosa. Noosa produces colossal amounts of green waste.

There are problems facing double grind concerning contaminants. I believe that Permaculture Noosa is perfectly situated to take this issues head on. For example, some people say there are weed seeds in the double grind.  So far, we have not seen weeds sprouting from the double grind, though there are lots of mushrooms.  It seems the time the grind spends at the tip heating up kills the seeds. There is plastic in the grind mostly from putting the wrong stuff in the green bin.  We have found plastics and we can take them out.  However, we can help inform the community to put only green waste in the bin.  Also, there are concerns that treated timber can make it into the system along with poisons.  We cannot see these, but we can support councils efforts to stop them by education and stricter regulation at the tip.

I am now taking off my president hat and putting on my Noosa Councillor hat.
Noosa Council has a vastly increased the waste management budget.
Council has recently committed funds in the 2022-2023 financial year towards:

o   Double grind green waste ($15,000) Undertake desktop assessment of our costs/revenue for double grind and current market (modelling)

o   Market model for waste reduction ($100,000) (Package together an education campaign and data collection program (review of bin contamination via truck ride-along and camera audit)

o   Landfill treatment options plan ($250,000)

o   Edmund Road Expansion of RRA ($243,719)

o   Landfill cell capping and expansion ($4,335,000)

o   Finalise Noosa Council Waste Strategy including community consultation

There are also 2 x new positions for waste to help deliver these initiatives.
We also engaged on-site spotter positioned before the green waste stockpiles inspecting each incoming load for the contamination.

Regarding testing for chemicals, council staff have approached a local environmental consultancy to get a better understanding of the process and types of relevant tests we can run on mulch and soil.

As a councillor, I support community groups facilitating council objectives.  Well actually, our objectives, the community’s objectives, are council objectives.  Double grind is an enormous resource for Noosa’s food resilience, a strong agriculture economy, reducing silt runoff into the rivers, and regenerating our largely degraded agriculture land.

OK, councillor hat off and president hat back on.

The 36 cubic meters of double grind was donated to Permaculture Noosa.  We will be making a miniature model of a market garden.  We will see if the double grind is safe to produce crops.  The Community Gardens have a thin layer of good soil over a very hard gravel and clay base which was netball courts in the past.  We have to build up soil to grow crops.  Much of Noosa’s agriculture land is in a similar state.

When thinking of the completed pavilion in the gardens, we will be doing a lot of food preparation and lessons and the micro-market garden will help supply the kitchen.
Here is the state of the double grind as of July 27.  I did not mention in the video that the center of the mounds was still hot. No worms were near the heat. Video clip of worms and some rubbish in the mulch.

Happy gardening,

Tom