On World Soil Day, December 5th, we are encouraged to recognize the critical importance of the connection between soil and water to life on earth. Ecosystems and agricultural systems depend on healthy soils and clean water to sustain life.
One tangible way to improve these broader systems is to utilize a valuable resource that we have at our fingertips: food waste. Through composting, we can convert food waste into a nutrient rich soil amendment that increases organic matter, an indicator of soil health. The ability to compost food scraps allows each of us to contribute to the big picture - supporting healthy soil that will, in turn, be used to grow more food, more plants, more trees.
Composting infrastructure at all scales enables the diversion of food scraps. For example, small scale urban garden composting creates an opportunity to divert food scraps from landfill and deliver community benefits. Community gardens (and urban parks) can enrich soil through usage of compost generated on site, which will add to the beautification of garden plots. These small operations also provide local opportunities for learning in collaboration with neighborhood associations or local schools. Children and other groups are able to learn about soil science through a tangible experience.
Where on site composting is infeasible or impractical, commercial scale composting facilities are often best suited to process municipal and commercial food waste. At Vivaria, our goal is to contribute to positive change by developing compost facilities throughout the state using aerated static pile technology. The aeration system enhances composting conditions, accelerating the process, while also limiting any odors or air emissions. Compost facilities provide a clean and efficient solution to handling bulk food waste, allowing food to return back to the earth as nutrients.