Employer: Farmington Compost Cooperative
Internship Number: 470
Internship Title: Composting Program Intern
Location: Farmington, Maine
Period of Engagement: Available Each Term – Spring, Summer or Fall
Compensation: Unpaid
Description of the Internship:
The Farmington Compost Cooperative is the first collaborative composting project in the state to involve a municipal government, a university and the public, and the Maine DEP.  The cooperative was formed after the Sandy River Recycling Association, which had served the Farmington area for 23 years as a nonprofit recycling operation closed.  Mark King, an environmental specialist from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection and a UMF graduate,  approaching the recycling association about his concerns, and convinced the group to donate the property with the concrete compost slab to the town.

Through the donation of food scraps from UMF and the Mt. Blue Regional School District via Sodexo food service and the donation of horse manure and wood shavings from local residents, the cooperative receives a sufficient amount of raw materials to keep the composting project going.  UMF is aiding the cooperative further with manpower, with students from its Sustainable Campus Coalition volunteering to sort non-compostable materials out of the food scraps. UMF Facilities Management also has provided transport for the raw materials by allowing the cooperative to use their dump trucks when needed.

The purpose of this internship is to better understand the inner workings of the Farmington Compost Cooperative (FCC), a collaboratively run compost operation among the Town of Farmington, University of Maine at Farmington and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

The selected Composting Program Intern will have an opportunity to explore compost operations from a range of economic, biochemical, ecological and sustainability perspectives.

Responsibilities of this internship will be related to three basic components or aspects (not completed in any order) which relate to the compost operation:

Day-to-Day Operations
Learn the day-to-day operation of the compost pile including:

  • Required materials including amendment (i.e. manure, food waste),
  • Schedule for turning the pile

Wildlife Management
Examine the compost pile from a wildlife management perspective. Since the compost pile was started in May of 2015, it has received a lot of attention from wildlife in form of numerous birds and various types of mammals, all of whom leave their scat for us to study.

  • Maintain a log of visits to the compost pile and wildlife visiting the pile
  • Install one or more motion-activated wildlife cameras
  • Examine scat and still photographs and document the patterns of use for the local wildlife

Economic Sustainability
The third and final aspect of the internship will involve understanding the economic sustainability of the composting operation. The catchphrase: “Contributors, Consumers, and Competitors,” helps define the various stakeholders as they relate to the economic viability of the operation. There is currently more supply than demand for compost.

  • Consider alternative markets and strategies to sell finished compost.
  • Use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to map out contributors of food waste as well as potential consumers (i.e. local farmers, compost retailers, the general public).
  • Work in collaboration with the UMF Dining Hall and Aramark to develop strategies and how to better manage and ultimately reduce the volume of food waste sourcing from the UMF campus.
  • Strong communication skills (verbal and written)
  • Experience in professional use of social media platforms
  • Good computer skills – advanced skills in MS Office, Word, PowerPoint, and Excel
  • Strong organizational skills; attention to detail
  • Ability to prioritize
  • Ability to take direction and work independently to isolate and solve complex problems relating to the project
  • Understanding of the requirements of the project and ability to carry them out
  • Reliable transportation and valid driver’s license
Application Process:
Application is made through UMF’s Partnership for Civic Advancement.
Complete and submit the Partnership’s Internship Application Form online.
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