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AgLife: Growing support for compost program

Ararat Rural City Council is encouraging residents to support its new composting endeavour after a recent case study sparked interest across the community.

Council last month shared the story of Terri-Anne and Mark Lewis, a Cathcart couple who established a market garden on their property using 200 tonnes of council-created compost.

Chief executive Tim Harrison reported a surge in community interest in the compost program after the story’s publication and said he hoped people would investigate how they could become involved.

Dr Harrison said the project was a joint venture between Ararat Rural City Council and Gaia EnviroTech, a Ballarat bioenergy and waste-management company.

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He said Gaia set up a composting system at Ararat’s transfer station under a reciprocal agreement that allowed Gaia’s senior engineers to try out new ideas.

“We need to be collaborative, and commit to the process of research and development. We’re not just end recipients; this isn’t a turn-key solution. It’s about continual innovation – and there are a whole range of great community stories coming out of it,” he said. Dr Harrison said the transfer station produced 120 tonnes of compost each fortnight, mixing green waste and food waste from across the municipality.

Gaia technical director Sandy Gray said the company carefully measured the ratio of green waste to food waste to create top-class compost.

After mixing, contaminants are removed by hand before the material is shredded by a machine and loaded into pasteurisation containers made from repurposed shipping containers.

The containers heat the mixture to more than 55 degrees for 72 hours, while engineers digitally monitor and control temperature, moisture and other factors.

The resulting matter is drained, screened and tested to ensure compliance with relevant health and safety regulations.

“Every batch of compost we process is sampled and sent to the Gaia EnviroTech lab for testing,” Dr Harrison said.

People can learn more about the composting process and secure batches of 50 or more tonnes for agricultural projects by emailing Ian Cooper at

The entire June 26, 2024 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

The entire June, 26, 2024 edition of AgLife is available online. READ IT HERE!