The Koren Family

I knew I was going to stay with Ben and his family my first night so I asked him if there was anything I could write about in the blog. He did not think of anything right away, so when I saw their composting operation I asked him why he had not mentioned it. “It is just something we have always done.”

Ben with the compost pile

Ben with the compost pile

Composting, or the decomposition of organic waste by micro-organisms and bacteria, is one of the more sustainable efforts you can take part in because the use of compost (rich soil) in your yard or garden returns organic matter, nutrients and vital bacteria to the earth. Composting is also a component of the growing international movement striving toward Zero Waste. Keeping things out of the landfills and incinerators starts with only buying things you need, reusing what you or other people already have, recycling (I guess I could have said ‘the three Rs’), and composting the organic waste.

On another note Ben’s parents are pretty cool for school. His father Ed is a cartoonist for the New Yorker, while his mother Curtis is the founder and director of Vermont Intercultural Semesters (VIS), a program for High School students to gain credit abroad in Ladakh, India. VIS offers semester and year long immersion courses during which students take part in lectures, discussions, field trips, home stays, and workshops with themes of community heritage, sustainable development, and cultural identity. The placed base courses infuse hands on learning with critical thinking, a method which I can say from experience brings significance to what is being taught in a way that classrooms cannot. For more information visit

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June 2009
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