I don't think a week goes by without the mention of the environment in the news these days, whether it be global warming, plastic waste or food waste, when I started the business I decided that I needed to implement a way to use as much of the produce as possible with all that said its inevitable that there will still be waste, especially when we talk about bulk cooking or dare I say it, MASS PRODUCTION, luckily for me were still relatively small and all my waste food is from veggies and i'm lucky enough to have a backyard big enough to allow me to process them into lovely compost to reuse on my veggie beds.
In a world struggling with environmental challenges finding a sustainable solution for food waste is a high priority. Looking
to nature and its natural processes, composting and worm farms offer a simple yet powerful way to tackle this issue at home while helping feed and nurture the garden. In this blog post we'll talk about the joys of composting and worm farms, highlighting their positive impact on the environment, reducing food waste in landfills and the many benefits they provide.
1. Food Waste in Landfills: A Global Concern:
Food waste is one of the biggest issues when we talk about global warming, "but its food it'll just breakdown won't it?" I hear you, but when food scraps end up in landfill, they decompose without sufficient access to oxygen, releasing methane, a potent and stinky greenhouse gas, if you've ever started a compost pile and didnt fully understand what to do or didnt aerate it im sure you'll of smelt the somewhat gassy smell, I speak from experience😅. Methane contributes to climate change and speeds up global warming. By diverting food waste from landfills, we can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote a more sustainable future.
2. Composting: Nature's Recycling System:
Composting is a natural process that converts organic waste into nutrient-rich compost. It mimics the decomposition process found in nature.Think of a forest floor, the leaves, twigs and damp floor provide a fertile ground for microorganisms and beneficial bacteria to break down food waste into a valuable soil amendment that then gets taken back up into the trees and shrubs through the roots. The joys of composting include:
Reducing Waste: Composting allows you to divert food scraps, coffee grounds, eggshells, dead leaves from the ground, and other organic (meaning natural) materials from the landfill, reducing the volume of waste that ends up in the bin.
Enriching Soil: Compost acts as a nutrient powerhouse, enriching soil with essential minerals, microorganisms, and organic matter. It improves soil structure, enhances water retention, and promotes healthy plant growth. It's well known that compost is the answer to most soil problems, too sandy add compost, too heavy add compost. lacking in nutrients... you get the point.😅
Closing the Loop: Composting completes the cycle of sustainability by returning nutrients from food waste back to the earth. If you grow your own food at home what better way to close the loop than to keep the cycle going and create a circular economy, why buy compost if you can make it your self but only if you have the space that is.
3. Worm Farms: Nature's Little Helper:
Worm farming, also known as vermicomposting, takes composting to another level by harnessing the power of worms. Worms, particularly red wrigglers or tiger worms these are just a type of worm that work really well in the worm farm setting, consuming organic waste and transforming it into nutrient-rich castings.
The benefits of worm farms include:
Increased Efficiency: Worms speed up the decomposition process, breaking down organic waste faster than traditional composting methods. They consume a wide range of food scraps, including fruit and vegetable peels, coffee grounds, tea leaves, and shredded paper. if thinking of starting a worm farm go easy on citrus and onions mind, the worms find them a little bit too acidic in large numbers and will try and mutiny and escape.
High-Quality Compost: The castings produced by worms, often referred to as "black gold," are a nutrient-dense fertilizer that surpasses even traditional compost in its richness. They contain essential minerals, beneficial microbes, and enzymes that enhance plant growth and soil health. does it smell you ask, not at all unless somethings gone wrong like we mentioned above, it actually smells like a damp forest, quite pleasant if you ask me.
Educational and Engaging: Worm farms offer a unique opportunity to engage children and adults alike in the fascinating world of vermicomposting. Watching worms diligently recycle food scraps can foster a sense of environmental responsibility and appreciation for the natural world. It always amazes me just how quickly they get through everything, one week its there the next its not, did you know that a worm can eat half its body weight per day.
4. Closing the Loop: Environmental Benefits:
Composting and worm farms contribute to a range of environmental benefits:
Reduced Methane Emissions: Diverting food waste from landfills reduces methane emissions, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.
Soil Health and Biodiversity: Compost and worm castings enhance soil health, promoting microbial activity, improving nutrient cycling, and fostering biodiversity.
Water Conservation: Compost-amended soil has improved water-holding capacity, reducing the need for excessive irrigation and helping conserve water resources.
Sustainable Gardening: The nutrient-rich compost and worm castings produced can be used to nourish gardens, potted plants, and indoor greenery, fostering sustainable and eco-friendly gardening practices.
With more and more local councils supporting the green FOGO (Food organics, Garden organics) bins, This allows more food waste and organic material to be composted on a larger scale, so for big households that produce a lot of food scraps and households that don't have access to a garden where composting just isn't practical, this is a great idea and the mass role out should have a much bigger impact in reducing the amount of organic waste going to landfills.
Here at The Mulberry Pig all of our food waste (apart from onion peel and lemon skins) goes into our worm farms, as the business has grown so have our worm farms, we started with one, then got 2 more, we now have 3 large in-ground worm farms from the great guys at Subpod. We plan on being able to expand to 5 of these in total in my home garden and when that can no longer keep up, worms can only eat so much after all, we will look at getting a different system that will be able to keep up with our waste production.
Composting and worm farming offer a simple, rewarding, and eco-friendly way to reduce food waste, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and feed the environment. By transforming food scraps into valuable compost and worm castings, we close the loop on sustainability, promoting healthier soils, vibrant gardens, and a greener future. Embrace the joys of composting and worm farming, and embark on a journey of transforming food waste into a powerful force for positive change.