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Friday, January 18, 2019

7 pounds a week!

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Did you ever wonder what happens to the food that is thrown away and sent to the landfill?

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Working in our garden beds

Hello Everyone!

We are already half through the month of January, and I hope everyone's year is off to a good start.

This week I decided to talk about food waste and composting after reading Gwinnett County's plan to reduce food waste in our public school system. As I had mentioned before, I am passionate about composting as it produces healthy soils which then give us healthy plants that are more nutritious and resilient to pests and disease.

If you have visited Alegre Farm, you are aware that we practice vermicomposting and most recently added other forms of composting to reduce waste and reutilize it for our garden. If not, please visit us in our upcoming Farm Adventure Day coming Friday, April 5th.

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Students digging for worms in our compost bins.

Returning to the subject of compost and food waste, I felt it was important to discuss something that many of us are not aware of: what happens to food that ends up in our trash and is sent off to the landfill.

I think it's safe to say that many believe that it decomposes. I also think it's safe to say that many would be surprised to know the truth, which I'll tell you later.

My intent isn't to tell you how much food is wasted, but to let you know what happens to the food wasted. I hope it can be a motivation for more of us to compost.

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According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 20 percent of what goes into municipal landfills is food.

Did you know that we toss one pound of food in the garbage per person everyday. Do the math: Take the number of people in your household then multiply it by 7. What did you get? So you can see it adds up pretty quickly.
Imagine turning vegetables, fruit, paper, leaves, and even lawn clippings into a beautiful compost that you could use in your own garden or flower bed. That compost is rich in elements that your plant needs. Even if you don't have a garden, that could be fertilizer for your grass to grow lush and green.

Now let's go back to focusing on what happens to the food that goes to the landfill. But first, please make sure you are sitting down because it's going to shock you!

Are you seated, yet? Ok, good!

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Better to compost the leftover lettuce

New York Times reports that after 20 years of sorting through garbage cans and landfills, archaeologist William L. Rathje has found 40-year-old hot dogs, perfectly preserved beneath dozens of strata of waste, and the head of lettuce still in pristine condition after 25 years. But the one that still makes him shake his head in disbelief is an order of guacamole he unearthed. Almost as good as new, it sat next to a newspaper apparently thrown out the same day. The date was 1967.

Surprised? I was, too!

But that's not everything. Grimes from NY Times also explained that paper resists biodegradation and counts for more than 40 percent of landfill volume.

So why does it take so long?

Because when food is put into the landfill it gets buried. When it's buried oxygen can't reach it, which is necessary for decomposition.

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Enjoy the earthy smell of fresh compost.

My question to you?
Are you willing to compost your food scraps? It can be as easy as placing it in a 5 gallon bucket. If you would like more information on how you can compost at home or possible future workshops, please fill out our form here.

I hope that this has brought you awareness and motivation to reconsider composting your food scraps.

As we work at Alegre Farm to implement sustainable practices, soon I will discuss a way to take composting another step further by using a method that breaks down meats and fats, those things that we don't want in our compost piles or vermicompost.

Until then, have an amazing weekend and I hope to see you soon!

Sincerely,

Pilar
Owner of Alegre Farm

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Children exploring our garden and learning about composting.

 
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