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Composting during Covid reaps rewards for Le Refuge

When Yellowknife paused its green bin operations, Le Refuge owner France Benoit saw an opportunity.

Benoit started putting out her own green bin and encouraged locals to start dropping their kitchen scraps in there rather than tossing them out with the garbage.

“I decided to take matters in my own hands,” she said. “I’ve been quite surprised, this has been a popular place to leave kitchen scraps.”

“It’s turned into quite a little successful community program.”

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Benoit said she would receive at least one full green bin of kitchen scraps a week, even after the city resumed curbside collection of green bins. This all went into her composter behind and helped accelerate the composting process. 

To my mystery green bin lovers! Thank you for dropping off your kitchen scraps at my house. I know a few of you because…

Posted by Le Refuge Farm on Sunday, 27 September 2020


With the added volume from the composting, the compost mound was able to reach temperatures of 120 degrees fahrenheit, accelerating the composting process and meaning she had more fertilizer available to use for planting.

Prior to the green bin program, Benoit was forced to use leaves and garden waste, which produced compost much slower.

Benoit said the compost mound was able to maintain temperatures of between 120 degrees fahrenheit and 140 degrees fahrenheit throughout the spring, summer and into the fall because of the constant supply of food waste she was receiving.

Le Refuge Farm changed locations earlier this year, meaning Benoit was without compost for a period of time. But the compost reaped from the kitchen scraps has been spread throughout Le Refuge’s farms raised beds, in preparation for next year.

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“Always with compost you’re one season behind me, so this puts me in a good place for the next gardening season,” said Benoit. “You always have your eye on the pie which in my case is for next year.”

Benoit has wheeled away her green bin for the year, but has hopes to continue the program in the future.

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