The Fox Valley Technical College location near...

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Fox Valley Technical College, in Appleton, WI is looking forward to reaping both biological and financial rewards from applying compost tea throughout their campus.  Although it’s a small college, it’s got big plans. And lead horticultural instructor Jim Beard is the man behind those dreams.

A registered landscape architect and an Emeritus ASLA member, as well as an Accredited Organic Land Care Professional, Jim’s enthusiasm for environmental education is infectious, even over the phone. “I tell my students I’m really a 23 year old trapped in a 69 year old body.”

Jim hopes to combine saving money with cutting edge technology, all based on emerging green technology. But the main reason Jim has implemented this program is for the students. “We’ve got to start to pay attention to the planet”, said Jim. Compost tea is one way to do just that, and the students are eager to learn.

Compostwerks is honored to accept a compost tea workshop engagement at Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton, WI and further those students’ education in compost technology. Our Compost Tea workshop will be held on February 22, from 8:30 to 3:30 right at Fox Valley College.  The cost for the workshop is $150, and the snow date is February 23rd.  Student cost is $40. The Workshop includes instruction on:

Logistics in producing compost tea, Making high quality compost, Handling/application of compost tea, Detailed discussion on biology, and Soil Foodweb methodology
The application of Actively Aerated Compost Tea is becoming a widely accepted practice in managing soil nutrition and increasing plant vigor. Demand for this service had increased steadily with the advent of increased public awareness about the harmful affects of petro-based fertilizers and pesticides. Stand out in your marketplace and increase your knowledge or learn what it takes to integrate compost tea as a service platform in your operation.

Click on the link here for more information.

The students are responsible for maintaining the campus grounds. The college uses a 250 gallon GeoTea compost tea brewer. Last year, Jim and his students sprayed approximately 1,200 gallons of aerated compost tea at  As a baseline, students collected soil samples from five different locations. Jim thinks they will see some remarkable results this year.

“The students are just loving this”, Jim says. “They use a 100 gallon sprayer with a 12 foot boom for the soccer fields, and a 100 foot hose with a spray gun on the Kubota. We hope to have ‘sustainable spray’ signage up on the Kubota soon, but most everyone on campus knows what we are doing. We also have a new biodiesel lab, and aim to have the Kubota up and running on biodiesel very soon.”

Here’s a great video of Jim at work at Fox Valley:

Sometimes, Jim says he feels as though he is ‘pulling the past screaming into the future’, but for the most part, the program has been very well recieved by the college community, from the administration to the students. Cost wise, it’s a bit more expensive on the front end. Jim said it probably cost the school six thousand or so to get up and running with the equipment. But, according to Jim,  it used to cost the school more than $3,500 annually to use the chemicals, and they expect, once the biology is active in the soil again, to be able to significantly reduce their groundskeeping costs. And how about those excited students maintaining the college grounds in an organic, sustainable and planet-friendly way? Well, Jim thinks that’s priceless.

Kudos to you Jim and your innovative proagm at Fox Valley. Looking forward to seeing you soon!