Compost Love

Our three-year-old likes to declare from time to time: “We are a compost family!” This may not serve her well in elementary school, but we think it’s really cute. And true.

Dan is known to say “When else can you take something that people consider trash – pure trash! – and turn it into something beautiful and wholly necessary.”

Isn’t that romantic? That’s why I married him. (What an odd couple we are.)

So we compost. A lot. If you’re going to grow food organically, ecologically, sustain-ably, you need organic matter. ‘Organic’ as in carbon- based, not as in US Organic Standards.

Think of it this way: if a farm provides 2 tons of food to feed the masses, that’s 4,000 pounds of organic matter leaving the farm.  That matter has to be replaced somehow.

So we pick up manure from a couple of neighboring farms, and we pick up produce-department waste from Ellwood Thompson’s Natural Market in Richmond.

We turn the compost with the tractor:

We also use biodynamic practices here, so we utilize a biodynamic compost starter, pictured on the right:

And apply it with love to a beloved compost pile:

Finally, it’s topped off with straw:

We have kids, remember, so there always seems to be some random kid toy in our photos. Note soccer ball. It would be a twisted sort of compost-pile humor to joke that the ball is a regulation size ball. That would make this pile really tall. Alas, it’s not.

This is just one pile of many, and an important part of the process of providing food. Thanks for reading.

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