The Black Soldier Fly Project


Cherry Crossing Research Center is where we conduct research on converting organic wastes like food and landscape residue into value added products. In addition to producing mulch and compost for sale to the public, we are also growing Black Soldier Fly larvae. These little bugs eat 5 times their body weight daily! They then self-harvest right into our buckets when they reach their optimal maturity to pupate into an adult Black Soldier Fly. Larvae are 42% protein and 35% fat, making them great for bait, poultry feed and fish feed. Part of our research is drying the larvae (using waste heat from our biodiesel lab) and pressing the oil out of the larvae to produce clean burning renewable biodiesel from campus food waste. Once the oil is removed, the protein portion remains as a nutritious protein meal pellet to be used for rearing tilapia at the Clemson Student Organic Farm.

To learn more about this project, you can visit the Black Soldier Fly Creative Inquiry page!

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Clemson’s Sustainability Initiatives

This 2014 video informs the viewer of Clemson’s sustainability initiatives. It shows how Clemson University is a sustainable university. Through the leadership of the President’s Commission on Sustainability (PCS) this media piece shares some specific initiatives that show why Clemson is considered a leader in the area of sustainability. This iMovie talk-over highlights many sustainability initiatives that meet the goal’s of Clemson’s Sustainability Action Plan. Brandi Staley, a PCS intern working with Gary Gaulin, Associate Director for Sustainability, wrote the script and produced the video to help inform the Clemson community of the top reasons why Clemson is a sustainable university and to share interesting information that motivates students, faculty, and staff to learn more about sustainability initiatives on campus.

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Video ready for viewing!

Hi composters!

After quite some time and changes along the way, we have a video ready for viewing! Let us know what you think of it. It was shot entirely with a GoPro HERO 3+, and our star of the show is Mr. David Thornton.


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Clemson Composting at FoCI

A couple of weeks ago we had a chance to represent our creative inquiry at the FOCI (focus on creative inquiry) event in the Hendrix student center. It was a pretty cool event to be a part of. Most people aren’t even aware of where their food waste goes, so it gave us a chance to spread the word, and even recruit new students. Camille made our poster, and we all had a picture and paragraph to explain our work over this semester. I think our display was good because we had props out to engage the people who passed by, and we had a nice spot right at the entrance. I really wish this even was better advertised, I only heard of it because I was participating in it. There were very few students in the crowd, and fewer undergrads. I think if students knew this was going on they would enjoy looking at prospective CI classes to take. The people that did come to our table seem genuinely interested, they asked lots of questions and it was encouraging to see others so enthusiastic about our project. Overall it was a nice event, hopefully it will go even better next year.

-Briana Cairco


Clemson FoCI 2014

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Food Digester Animation

I found this short animation that gives a basic overview of what goes on in the digester.


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Greenhouse assembled!

The greenhouse has been assembled and is now waiting for the beds to be assembled. Once all of that is completed, the vermicomposting project will be on its way!

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The videos are in progress since the GoPro has been acquired. The samples for the cups and dehydrator project are mostly here, and the preliminary tests are being conducted.

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Clemson Sustainability in the News!

Clemson Sustainability got the privilege of being featured on WSPA Channel 7 on their Go Green segment. We were so excited to share the projects we have going on and get some recognition for the hard work put into the program. Happily enough they came to interview us during Sustainability Week, which featured waste audits, tours, and a small organizations fair for local vendors and sustainability-related clubs. We’ve included it below so everyone can see and share it. Go Clemson Composting!

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Clemson Composting Weekly Update!

This week during composting, the WSPA news crew came in to interview each of us about our composting projects with the possibility of being aired on the news this Friday. The news crew was doing an eco friendly segment featuring Clemson’s campus during sustainability week! We all basically gave them a synopsis of our projects and future plans for the project. 


This week we also ordered our green house for vermicomposting, Camille received sample cups concerning her project dealing with compostable dining products, and Sam announced that she would be pursuing filming her video’s with a use of go pro camera! 

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Update on Vermicomposting

Last Friday me (Briana) and Hannah visited the site and scoped out the corner where we are planning on setting up the greenhouse. 

The price went up by about $200 on the particular greenhouse we were looking at, but i found it on another site for about $100 less. I had to do some additional research after reading reviews on several greenhouses but I still think this is our best option. The two biggest problems with most of the greenhouses was the construction and the anchoring. Lots of people reported problems with their cheaper greenhouses flying away, but this particular one includes anchoring equipment, and it supposed to be easy to construct.

I also came across several greenhouses with “double walled polycarbonate” which seems to be advantageous for keeping in heat, but overall the trade-offs didn’t seem worth it. Besides, I am already concerned with the worms overheating in the summer, the double walling would increase that concern. Since our winters are relatively mild i believe the single layer wall would be best. 

The first task will be to level the ground where it will go using gravel, and we *may* want to make sort of a flooring with bricks, or concrete stepping stones, my main concern is that the legs of this bin would get wet on the concrete and eventually rot. Most of the vermibeds have metal legs, so we probably should look into that as well, but that is a little above my carpentry knowledge 

heres a picture of what im talking about 



as far as the rest of the materials, we were planning on lining the sides of the wooden box with a tarp to waterproof it, but they recommend just using thermally treated wood (which is weatherproof and rot resistant) when constructing a classic compost bin, so that would probably be the most practical solution. As soon as we can draw a prototype hopefully we can get the supplies and begin construction.

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The Enviromentals: How to Build a Worm Composting Bin

A unique/goofy explanation of how to create and maintain a vermicomposting bin!

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