Fire Breathing Dragons

I’ve been exploring composting options for the Kits Community Centre commercial kitchen. We checked out the White Dragon in action at Trafalgar’s Bistro. It was impressive! This automated system cooks organic matter in twelve to twenty-four hours. I was skeptical, but when I saw the finished product, I was amazed. It was dry and it looked like finished compost. The White Dragon manages all the food scraps, including meat, fish and bones, cooked food, grains, baked goods and paper napkins, from the restaurant (lunch and dinner daily) plus their bakery next door, and they’re nowhere near capacity yet. There was no smell, no mess. In fact, the back end of the restaurant was as immaculate as the front end.

The restaurant has partnered with Inner City Farms, an urban farming group; they retrieve the finished compost through the little trap door weekly. Due to the high nitrogen (green materials) content, the compost is best used as a winter mulch or combined with carbon matter (brown materials) and finished off in a worm bin before it is used in the garden or urban farming plots.

General Manager Andrea Thorgilsson told us that they used to spend $900 a month to have their garbage hauled away. Now they spend about $300 to have all their recyclables picked up by Urban Impact, a company that recycles well beyond the regular blue box items; ABD picks up the items with deposit. The fee for the city garbage bin that they now have is included in their property taxes. She showed us the tiny garbage container they use.

They are committed to other sustainable business practices as well. On their menu that day they had Golden Beet and Apple Soup and a Harvest Vegetable pot pie, the ingredients all sourced locally.

Green Good Composter, the company that sells the electric composting system, stocks a range of sizes to accommodate both home and commercial use. The unit (GG-50) Trafalgar’s has is pricey ($30,000), but will pay for itself in just over two years. City Farmer is testing both an indoor Red Dragon model as well as the White Dragon at the Vancouver Compost Demonstration Garden.

Go peer into the mouth of the Dragon yourself, then you’ll understand why I’m so fired up.


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