First of all, if you’re not familiar with composting. Here are a few key facts which highlight the benefits of keeping your food scraps and starting your very own compost bin:

🌿  It lowers your carbon footprint: Up to 30% of garbage is made up of food waste?  Composting these scraps reduces landfill where the scraps release methane and potent greenhouse gases.

🌿. It helps your yard retain moisture – Adding homemade compost to your yard will enrich the soil. It also supresses plant disease and pesky yard pests.

🌿. Your yard will thank you: Composting encourages the production of beneficial bacteria and fungi. These bacteria and fungi will breakdown organic matter to create humus, a rich nutrient-filled material.

🌿. And lastly, your need to use chemical fertilizers will be greatly reduced.

But How Does Composting Help with Food and Water Security?

We asked RAOG Business Memeber and Vermicompsosting champion, The Box of Life owner and founder, Akil.

Here’s what he said:

Composting can help water conservation – Akil: “Compost is a sponge and can absorb a lot of water, preventing runoff. It also acts as a layer of mulch, preventing soil evaporation losses.”

A statistic from the Solana Centre for Environmental Innovation that supports this: A hundred pounds of average soil (a 1×10-foot row tilled six inches deep) with a pound of compost mixed in will hold an additional 33 pounds (4 gallons) of water. Take the organic content to five pounds, and that hundred pounds of soil will hold nearly two hundred pounds (25 gallons) of water!

Composting can also assist with soil health – Akil: “Compost is living – microbial life helps plants grow more stronger and more resilient. This is the most important part. Microbes also help plants absorb more nutrients from the soil, so it prevents leaching of fertilizer into our waterways.

Then you have vermicompost, which is supercharged compost because of the earthworm. It adds another dimension to compost through the addition of enzymes and plant hormones from the gut of the earthworm.”

As mentioned above, RAOG Business Member ‘The Box of Life’ specializes in vermicomposting.

Here’s a little more information on the process.  In short: ‘Worm composting is using worms to recycle food scraps and other organic material into a valuable soil amendment called vermicompost, or worm compost. Worms eat food scraps, which become compost as they pass through the worm’s body.’ Quote Source

And here’s how The Box of Life, Worm Studio produces vermicompost:

  1. Start by adding your kitchen scraps to the bottom bin
  2. When that bin gets full, stack the 2nd bin on top and continue feeding. Once that it full, you add the third bin.
  3. The wormies finish eating the scraps from the bottom bin and travel upwards through the mesh in search for fresh food, leaving behind their castings
  4. When the top bin is almost full, it’s time to harvest castings
  5. Simply remove the bottom bin, empty out the contents, and place it on top of your stack and continue feeding
  6. By continuously rotating the bins, you will get fresh castings every 3-4 months

Another perk of a Vermicomposting box is that you don’t need a lot of space to facilitate having one.

To see more of Akil’s Vermicomposting solutions and where to ethically get wormies, visit his website here.

You Can Get Compost Bins in Various Shapes and Sizes:

If you’re serious about your composting, a metal bin could work for you! The metal ensures pests and rodents can’t hunker down and the metal lets the bin gently heat in the sun which helps breakdown what’s inside.

If you want to hear more about HOW and WHERE to compost in your yard: RAOG Business member, Speedibin have a fantastic page on their website which is a great resource as you embark on your composting journey: Read more from the Speedibin team here.

Let’s dispel a myth – you need a large yard to compost. Not true!

🌿.  If you live in an apartment or if you have a small yard, you could start a countertop compost bin for your house plants like this four-piece recycled container (picture above) from Green Act Business Member, The Rogerie.  It’s the perfect way to reduce your organic waste without all the smell! The integrated ventilation and charcoal filter allow airflow while blocking odor, and the dishwasher-safe plastic makes is a breeze to clean.

🌿   Another great option for small spaces is this Urban Composter City Kit from The Kind Matter Company.

If you already compost and feel like your yard still needs a boost, we encourage you to veer away from chemical-based fertilizers which can:

🥀   Harden Soil
🥀   Decreased Fertility
🥀   Strengthened Pesticides
🥀   Pollute Air and Water
🥀   and Release Greenhouse Gases

Instead opt for natural, organic store bought fertilizers if possible: such as animal maneure (seek out local family farms if possible) or wool pellet fertilizer which can reduce your need to water by up to 25%!

If you’d like to read more about the merits of composting, Akil of The Box of Life suggested these two user-friendly websites for more info. Urban Agriculture and What.com. We found them very user-friendly and chock-full of helpful composting advice.

Will you reduce your kitchen waste while nourishing your yard and house plants this year?
Let us know in the comments below!