Consider The Farm as the new compost site for city, county


From: Dick Gallien

Since 1990 The Winona Farm compost site has been open every day from dawn until dark with no government assistance. In 2000 I asked the city street department if we could have a couple loads of leaves and they’ve brought an average 400 truck loads of street leaves every fall since, because Bruce Reed has never accepted street leaves and wet leaves don’t burn. Since 1998 we have recycled 16,000 tons of Winona’s food waste with zero government assistance. Now Winona County has asked MPCA to spend $100,000 to see if composting food waste could be a viable business.

Since 1990, Bruce Reed has operated the city compost site on city land adjoining the city sewer plant and now receives $52,000 for an eight months a year, open limited hours, plus collecting for everything Winonans drop off or purchase. For the first time in 29 years, the city is reviewing the contract.

At 87, having heard this party doesn’t last forever, we want to donate the farm to The Winona Farm, Inc., and are looking for a few more dedicated board members. Having received no response from the city, regarding working with it to make this the most environmentally friendly compost site, (there’s not much competition) this is a chance for Winonans plus Minnesota State College - Southeast’s sustainable food, farming and construction technology programs to help demonstrate a healthier organic cycle of life between Winonanans and The Winona Farm versus someone paying a couple million for this farm to become their locked gate, show-off estate. It’s protected from development in perpetuity by the Minnesota Land Trust.

As during the past 29 years, The Farm will remain open every day, from dawn until dark. A large flat area will be made behind the house, for easy unloading. Large, overly friendly farm animals will be asked to keep their distance, though many appreciate the goats’ help when unloading brush. We’ll compost city street leaves and give them free to residents, as La Crosse has always done. Though the DNR Forestry Department has allowed burning of “waste wood” for 25 years, only $5 for a yearly permit; we hope the DNR and the city will work with The Farm to be the first in Minnesota to demonstrate there is “no waste in nature” by making firewood, lumber and biochar from this “natural resource.”

One could look at 1,000 towns and cities and not find another 175-acre farm, in a small valley at the junction of over one mile of two trout streams, only three miles from the center of town, but protected from town by 500-foot hills, a conservation easement with the Minnesota Land Trust and a natural-burial cemetery, that hasn’t succumbed to development. This is “The Winona Farm Community Service Compost Site” officially applying to the city/county, to become Winona’s yearround, full-service compost site.


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