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Can Compost Heal the World?

So...What’s all the buzz about composting? Maybe you’ve never done it before— or maybe you just separate your fresh scraps out for municipal composting (or maybe you're still throwing food waste in the trash). Or, maybe you've been composting and didn’t really know quite how significant of a solution it is! (Other than making nutrient-rich fertilizer for your garden.) Regardless of your relationship to the stuff (often called “black gold” by organic farmers), compost has amazing benefits that go far beyond your plants, your soil, and your garden. While it sounds like magical thinking, it’s not— it’s backed by real science. Composting can heal the planet. But how?

For those new to composting, compost is an organic fertilizer created from decomposing natural matter. You can create it yourself, right in your backyard (or porch, or kitchen), using fruit, vegetable, or other plant-based food scraps, and combining them with dead leaves, grass clippings, etc — and lots of other stuff. Mixed with your soil base, this compost is full of living soil microbes that provide tons of nutrition for your plants. But how does something that seems a lot like simple "dirt" do something good for Mother Earth?

  • If we all composted fresh scraps, we’d cut a significant slice of emissions from the atmosphere.

Think about it. Where would all your food scraps go, if you chose not to compost them and just put them in the trash? Probably a landfill.

Apparently, landfills contribute one third of methane emissions that are found in our atmosphere. This pollution leads to unprecedented toxins in the environment, and an imbalanced ecosystem which can result in altered climate conditions.

And these emissions are from organic matter in landfills. Organic matter that could otherwise be composted—by us!

If composting was done on a much larger scale (which is already being done municipally in some cities), this could be huge for pollution and emissions. But it could all start with—and gain speed—if it became a common household practice.

  • Using compost in your garden also keeps carbon out of the atmosphere.

The most beautiful thing about composting at home, and keeping your "trash" out of landfills: what would become pollution or emissions is instead transformed into amazing food for your garden. And if you garden a lot, this cuts down on your grocery bill, and buying food that is shipped from elsewhere.

Remember, food for your garden, is food for your plants, which is food for us!

Composting for a garden, even just a small one, is easier than you’d think. There are also many methods you can use: bokashi, worm composting kits (vermiculture), and more convenient backyard barrels or bins.

  • Using compost grows food and lessens or eliminates your need for chemical fertilizer.

If we take this to an even higher level, the very ways our society grows our food could be completely transformed as well! Farms of all sizes, if they rely on compost diverted from landfills (rather than chemical fertilizers) can treat the land and the soil right, all while keeping pollution and emissions out of the atmosphere— and while growing healthy, nutritious food. Like anything else, it all starts with you.


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