Nicky Scott has been fascinated with composting since working -whilst still at school- with the legendary Dick Kitto on his composting business. He studied organic growing at the Henry Doubleday Research Association, now called Garden Organic, and subsequently set up a market garden in Devon.
In the early 1990’s he helped set up the first community composting project in Devon which developed not only composting, but also a market garden, a community shop and has now grown into a community business called ‘Proper Job’.
Nicky became the co-ordinator of the Devon Community Composting Network (DCCN) and the chair of the National Community Composting Network (CCN) for many years. Through the CCN he became involved in the Compost Doctors project which was funded by DEFRA to look at small scale, in situ, food waste composting systems. Through this programme many different innovative systems were trialled around the country. Nicky teamed up with Steve Ross-Smith from the Worm Research Centre in Yorkshire and developed the Scotty Hot Box as well as the concept for what is now the Ridan composter.
Through the Compost Doctor project many systems, both bespoke and innovative, were trialled alongside existing composters such as the ‘Rocket’, ‘Big Hanna’ and the ‘Jora’.
Nicky realised that these systems offered a ‘one stop’ approach; from raw material to finished compost. However, composting goes through a short initial hot phase, which is accelerated by turning or tumbling, which is followed by a longer maturation phase. Therefore it is a waste of expensive equipment and considerably slows down the process if it is left to mature in one of these big machines. Why not take the material out when it’s ending its hot phase and leave it to quietly mature until its ready: hence the invention of the Scotty HotBox!
Nicky has been invited to speak at many conferences and seminars in the UK and abroad. Some of his key work on composting is listed below:
1995 – 2017
Continuing with work with Devon local authorities and as a director of Proper Job, Nicky was asked by Green Books to ‘translate’ ‘Backyard Composting’ by John Roulac into English and adapt for UK market. This led to a fruitful collaboration with Green Books leading to 2 films and 4 books to date; ‘Permaculture in Practise’ and ‘Composting for All’ ( both with Malcolm Baldwin), ‘Composting for All’ (booklet), ‘Reduce – Reuse – Recycle’, ‘Composting, an Easy Household Guide’ and in 2009 ‘How to Make and Use Compost – the Ultimate Guide’, all published by Green Books and Chelsea Green in the States.
Since 2005 working with promoting composting in schools for all food waste and developing the equipment, systems and back up for this in collaboration with Green Machine Solutions in Yorkshire. This work was very much informed by the now defunct ‘Compost Doctors’ project which was a DEFRA funded project looking at composting food waste in situ for businesses.
Also worked with new Economics Foundation (NEF) and the Open University on ‘unleashing the potential of community composting’ which involved a short film as well as several networking events.
Closely involved (member of the advisory committee on compost) with Community Composting Network and the Federation for City Farms and community gardens.
Spoken at innumerable conferences and events around the UK.
Lectured to students at Southampton, Exeter, Plymouth universities and Schumacher College.
2000 – Expo Hannover communities conference at the Expo speaking about Community composting.
2003 – speaker at ‘Small scale composting’ conference Coventry (Composting Association.
2009 – speaker at Nameste nad Oslovov Czeck Republic Composting Conference
2010 – speaker at the formation of French Community Composting Network in Nantes – produced schools compost guide #1
2011 – first web-link presentation with Aberdeen Forward
2012 – edited school compost guide #2 & 3 s
2014 – trainer with Federation of City Farms and community gardens with Euro project involving Italy, France, Germany and Austria – attending training events in France and Italy.
2014 writing Compost Curriculum with colleagues from DCCN, DCC and Resource Futures.
2014 Keynote Speaker and workshop leader at Soil conference in Falmouth Cornwall UK.
2015 – became chair of Growing Devon Schools Partnership.