In a landscape full of potentially harmful, genetically modified foods, many health conscious people are turning toward organically grown produce, though high costs for organic products can prevent even the healthiest eaters from getting the natural fruits and vegetables they desire. However, there is hope as sustainable gardening and composting techniques have made organic foods not only delicious but also affordable.
On Nov. 3, UC Santa Cruz students Ryan Goldberg, Abigail Putnam and Lloyd Kirk showed City on a Hill Press how to create a low-cost, sustainable garden through composting. Compost is decomposed organic matter that can be reused as natural fertilizer and is commonly used in green, sustainable farming. The process is positive for the environment and is relatively easy and cheap to make.
Compost is commonly comprised of a layered mixture of collected food scraps, animal byproducts and straw. Most of these ingredients can be found in gardening supply stores or acquired through local authorized resellers. Used in combination, both compost and home gardening is a fun and cheap way to get fresh produce.
What you will need to get started:
- Shovel and/or pitchfork
- Animal feces
- Straw or hay
- A tarp
- Green food waste
- Why compost? Composting removes vegetative material from going to landfills. This can extend the longevity of landfills and significantly reduce methane emissions.
- 17 percent of all atmospheric methane gas comes from landfills and over a span of 100 years traps 20 times more heat than carbon dioxide, the most prevalent greenhouse gas.
- Any form of vegetative matter can be composted — composting animal proteins can not only produce lower quality compost, but can also create extra potentially harmful odors.
If you are interested in composting visit the EPA’s website: http://www2.epa.gov/recycle/composting-home
Editor’s note: this article originally ran in our print edition on Nov. 7 under a different headline and has since been changed due to potential sensitivity issues.