Coalition Report

By Kayla Boschert, Intern
Coalition for the Environment


Enriching Soil Through Food Waste

Summer meals mean BBQ, and all the seasonal dishes such as corn on the cob, tomatoes, potato salad, beans, salad, and fresh fruit. People often fill their plates with more food than they can possibly consume, and cleaning up afterward presents a more analytical approach if you want to be environmentally friendly. Recycling aluminum cans, glass bottles, and plastic has become routine for most of us. Paper plates with food leftovers that contain meat and dairy get tossed in the trash bin. What is often forgotten is properly disposing of food waste from vegetables and fruit. Ninety-four percent of the food we throw away ends up in the landfill. Did you know your food waste is made up of valuable nutrients that can be composted and added back to the soil, where it originated? Composting food waste allows individuals, businesses, and farmers to organically fertilize and enrich the soil, promoting soil microbes that aid plant growth for gardens and crops.

Soil is an essential natural resource here in Missouri. Good soil is made up of an exact composition of organic material, dissolved minerals, air, and water. Not only does good soil allow farmers the ability to organically grow crops, but it also helps mitigate erosion, runoff, and purifies water as it drains through the ground into our streams and rivers.
Having good, fertile soil is very important to both farming and our overall ecosystem. It provides a much better alternative than using chemical fertilizers that poison the soil, leach into our water streams and food supply, and damage our all-important environment. By recycling food waste into organic compost and reworking it back into the soil, you’re helping the environment, and completing the perfect eco-friendly cycle of farm to home and back to the farm.

At the Missouri Coalition of the Environment, we live what we preach. We keep a bin on the kitchen counter to collect all of our organic waste. The bin gets filled up quickly with fruits, veggie remains, tea bags, coffee grounds, etc. When the food waste bin gets full, our composting champion takes the bin home to mix it in with their larger composting bin. The compost is used to enrich their garden soil, fertilize, and grow some of the best home-grown vegetables you’ve ever tasted.

Composting is easy and great for the environment! Remember to keep this in mind before discarding all your food waste at your next summer barbeque.

For more information, please visit www.moenviron.org.