Throughout the summer, 17-year-old Lucas Pitts of North Hall High School put 150 hours of work into building a compost station for Georgia Mountain Food Bank’s community garden.
The project marked his biggest step toward becoming an Eagle Scout.
“I have done some smaller wood construction projects for school, but not like this,” Lucas said.
The teenager, who is a member of Boy Scout Troop 26, said he felt inspired to make an 18-by-4-foot compost station for Georgia Mountain Food Bank after speaking with his Scoutmaster Phil Dennis.
“They’ve been working on growing their community garden, and he said they could use something like a good compost bin to grow fresh fruits and vegetables,” Lucas said. “I thought that sounded like a good idea.”
Through donations from the food bank, friends, family and other community members, Lucas raised $1,000 to purchase materials for the project. Over the course of four sessions, he finished installing the compost station in mid-July with the help of 12 other Scout members.
Lucas said he conducted extensive research on compost bins and combined different designs to create his idea of the ideal contraption, which includes three compartments. When the nonprofit’s staff and volunteers dispose of weeds or other discarded plant material in the garden, they can now place them in the station’s left bin.
“Depending on its progress, you move it to the next container,” Lucas said. “The idea is that in however many months, depending on what it is, by the time it gets to the right side, it will be finished compost.”
Steve Mueller, operations director of Georgia Mountain Food Bank, said Lucas contacted the nonprofit over a year ago to share his plans, and they gladly accepted. The community garden — located next to the organization’s Gainesville office — offers a harvest each summer of a few hundred pounds of fresh vegetables, which he said helps feed people around Hall and surrounding counties.
“It (the compost station) will hopefully help us keep our garden healthy over the next couple of years as the compost will be ready for next year,” Mueller said.