Ready to compost at home but not sure how to get started? Check out Hannah and her family’s DIY pallet bin compost system in their traditional urban/suburban neighborhood. Read on for more about how she and her family started composting and how it’s going now.
The Compost Chronicles series highlights families in various circumstances who have all found a way to compost at home that works for their lifestyle. Hopefully, you can be inspired to give it a go and help our planet become a little healthier.
Did you know that composting can transform your trash into new life? And that new life, in the form of microbes, fungi, earthworms, and more, provides the foundation for much of all other healthy life on Earth?
Composting is a great way to create healthy soil to support people and our planet. Healthy soil is also a magical carbon sink that absorbs carbon from our atmosphere and helps cool the planet. While dead dirt has few living organisms, a teaspoon of healthy soil has more living organisms in it than the entire population of humans on Planet Earth!
We need everyone to learn how to compost at home and make it a part of everyday life.
Don’t think you can compost? We’ve got a whole set of resources on Everything To Know About How To Compost At Home, including more Compost Chronicles interviews. All of this information about how to compost at home will hopefully prove that just about anyone can make space and find a system to turn their food scraps into nutrient-rich compost to enrich our soil, feed our food cycle, and limit the food waste that ends up in landfills.
In today’s edition of Compost Chronicles, we’re introducing you to Hannah. We discovered Hannah when her sunflower celebration dance went viral on Instagram. Since then, we’ve been following her and her family’s adventure in creating a small urban homestead in Wisconsin. We’ll let her tell you more about how she got into composting and how it works for her family.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself, where you live, your family, etc…?
My name is Hannah Fameree and I live in Northeast Wisconsin with my husband AJ, son Jack, and one on the way! I grew up in Iowa and met my husband in college. We lived in Madison, Wisconsin, and Denver, Colorado, and then decided to move back to his hometown to put down roots.
We live in a pretty urban/suburban area (depending on your perspective) but are hoping to find our forever homestead on a few acres in the next few years. We love spending time outdoors, baking sourdough bread, and taking day trips to towns and state parks to go hiking.
Tell us a little bit about why you decided to start composting?
My husband studied Biology and Environmental Science, so he’s always been really interested in living an eco-friendly life. We realized the benefits would substantially outweigh any frustration we might come across as we built our compost setup. Composting saves food from the landfill and it doubles as amazing, organic soil for our garden. As soon as we bought our home, we knew we wanted to start gardening and composting right away.
What method or methods of composting do you use or have you used?
At first, we just had one large makeshift area made out of posts and wire where we dumped our compostable items. It was a huge pain to turn it over since we didn’t have anywhere to put it, so we decided to build a sturdier compost unit with two stalls.
We found free pallets on Facebook Marketplace and built the stalls with those. We didn’t have a blueprint to follow, but it was very easy to intuitively build!
We have two 2-stall units, one in each corner of our backyard. We keep a small container in our house where we put our food scraps. When it’s full, we bring it out to a larger bucket right outside of our back door.
When that fills up, we go to the compost stalls and dump it. We also put all of our yard brush and cardboard in the compost stalls as well. It’s taken about three years’ worth of composting, but we finally made enough to use in our three raised garden beds!
Related Reading: DIY Wooden Pallet Compost Bin Tutorial
How has sharing your sustainable living practices connected you with others in the composting or food waste space?
Having our Instagram @thewisconsinhomestead, where we share images and videos of our gardening, composting, and outdoor adventures, has connected us with tons of other like-minded people. Thanks, hashtags!
One of my favorite accounts is @sprautsonsprouts, a mom of four living in Illinois who is dedicated to reducing waste. She has a series showcasing how much or little she’s thrown in the trash or recycling each week. It’s motivating to see others focusing on these efforts! It helps us keep sustainability front of mind.
Is this a creative outlet primarily or do you have a greater vision behind your online work?
Our Instagram started as a hobby to share photos of the garden, but it’s definitely evolved into something much more. We also started a podcast called The Wisconsin Homestead where we discuss things like parenthood, positivity, clean eating, gardening, composting, and homesteading in general!
Ever since we’ve “seen the light” on living more simply, we feel the need to spread what we’re learning to more people. Hopefully, it will resonate with some. I look back to just five years ago and am in awe of how much our lifestyle has changed. I can’t believe we didn’t start living this way sooner, so I want to help others learn and get inspired.
How does your family feel about composting?
Our household is just my husband, toddler, and I, so we are definitely all on board. It’s honestly really easy once you have your stalls set up, and our toddler loves to help us carry our food scrap bucket out to the compost stalls.
Have you experienced any benefits from composting, especially ones that might have surprised you?
So many benefits. I always knew that we’d get great, beautiful soil eventually, but I didn’t realize just how much the food scraps and yard waste would break down. We’ve been composting for three years and you can barely tell.
I’m also shocked at how many times we’re heading to the compost stalls per week – we have way more food scraps than I realized, so it’s saved us a ton of space in our garbage cans. I feel like we barely throw anything away anymore.
Anything else you’d like to share with readers about your composting practices, especially to help beginners gain confidence that they too can compost?
Just start, despite what your neighbors might think. We got some weird looks and questions when we built our stalls, but it’s one of the best things you can do for the environment and your garden. Don’t let the thought of building a compost unit intimidate you; you can do it. I’m sure there are great instructions online if you want a little guidance.
Also, you can compost even in small spaces. We live in the middle of the city on 1/4 acre and have plenty of space to compost outdoors.
Related Reading: 9 Ways To Compost In The Suburbs
Where else can we find you and learn more about what you’re up to?
Want to share how you compost at home?
We’re always on the hunt for more great composters to tell their story and encourage others by sharing just how easy it can be to compost no matter your lifestyle. You definitely don’t have to be a blogger or have any online presence to share how you make sure your food scraps don’t end up in the landfill.