Royal Oak Farm, located in Evington and in operation since 2008, is the largest multi-feedstock waste composting facility in Virginia and is authorized by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. On the 115-acre property, billions of microbes do most of the work creating compost from waste generated by municipalities, industries, businesses and universities, including James Madison University and Virginia Tech.
The week of July 8, Royal Oak began accepting waste from the University of Lynchburg’s dining services. Ken Newman, owner and operator of Royal Oak Farm, said this includes things such as paper towels, napkins, meat and leftovers, which will be shipped to the farm to be composted. Neal said the compost will not come back to be used at the school but instead it will be sold by Newman.
Michial Neal, the co-director chef at University of Lynchburg Dining Services, said the university has been in contact with the farm for at least a month hoping to launch the partnership.
Neal said although the price to compost with Royal Oak is about the same price as taking the waste to the landfill, the partnership was the latest step toward completing the school’s goal toward sustainability and supporting regional producers and farmers. Dining services sends its pre-consumer waste, things like leftovers from food prep to Lynchburg Grows, a nonprofit urban farm, where it is used for gardening purposes.
The university uses two bins for trash and recycling in each dining facility. It will begin using a third bin for the collection of waste for compost, which will be sent to the farm about every two weeks, Neal said.