Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Campaign Highlights Importance of Compost to Improve Soil in Your Garden

Food

The Million Tomato Compost Campaign is declaring success with its goal to grow a million tomatoes in soil improved with locally produced compost.

The campaign, launched last April by the U.S. Composting Council (USCC), sought to boost the soil health of community gardens across the country and produce healthy and fresh food for local food pantries.

Tomato plants grow big and strong, thanks to compost.

Gardeners in more than 100 community gardens from Washington state to Florida grew 1.2 million tomatoes last summer, USCC said in a press release. The USCC is a national non-profit trade and professional organization that promotes recycling of organic materials through composting.

More than 85 compost manufacturers donated to the campaign 2,888 cubic yards of compost that met the USCC's Seal of Testing Assurance (STA) standards—the industry's seal of approval.

Campaign organizers say the gardens illustrate how private companies, community organizations, chefs, kids and nonprofits can work together toward a common goal of healthy soil, healthy food and healthy communities.

“The one million tomatoes that community gardeners grew in compost are testament to the growing power of compost and the people power of dedicated sustainable gardening champions,” said Lori Scozzafava and USCC executive director. “We’re proud of our work to spread the knowledge that using compost is nature’s way to grow fresh fruits and vegetables and build healthy soil.”

Tomato plants grow big and strong, thanks to compost. Photo credit: U.S. Composting Council

One participating garden was sponsored by the Tulalip Tribes Health Clinic in Washington state and was planted with the help of the clinic's patients. Another community garden in Santa Maria CA and grown by Vocational Training Center, produced tomatoes for needy families through the local food bank.

Nathan Lyon, chef and spokesperson for the campaign, worked to encourage gardeners to grow their own tomatoes in soil improved with compost. Lyon, co-host of PBS’ Growing a Greener World and author of seasonal cookbook Great Food Starts Fresh, also offered healthy tomato-based recipes.

“The Million Tomato Compost Campaign has proven that people across the country are hungry—not only for fresh and healthy sustainable food, but also for the tools they need to grow healthy food on their own. That starts with good soil and compost,” Lyon said. “Starting with the soil is so important because healthy soil leads to healthy food, which builds healthy people and communities.”

The Noga family tends to their tomatoes planted as part of the Million Tomato Compost Campaign. Photo credit: U.S. Composting Council

Tomatoes are one of the most popular items grown at home, but they can be difficult to grow for beginning gardeners, the USCC said.

The USCC advises using compost as key to building productive soil. Adding compost can reduce the need for chemical fertilizers and allows soil to hold water well, which means plants need less water and gardeners can spend less time caring for their plants.

 

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The Anderson Community Group. Left to right, Caroline Laur, Anita Foust, the Rev. Bryon Shoffner, and Bill Compton, came together to fight for environmental justice in their community. Anderson Community Group

By Isabella Garcia

On Thanksgiving Day 2019, right after Caroline Laur had finished giving thanks for her home, a neighbor at church told her that a company had submitted permit requests to build an asphalt plant in their community. The plans indicated the plant would be 250 feet from Laur's backdoor.

Read More Show Less
Berber woman cooks traditional flatbread using an earthen oven in her mud-walled village home located near the historic village of Ait Benhaddou in Morocco, Africa on Jan. 4, 2016. Creative Touch Imaging Ltd. /NurPhoto / Getty Images

By Danielle Nierenberg and Jason Flatt

The world's Indigenous Peoples face severe and disproportionate rates of food insecurity. While Indigenous Peoples comprise 5 percent of the world's population, they account for 15 percent of the world's poor, according to the World Health Organization.

Read More Show Less
Danny Choo / CC BY-SA 2.0

By Olivia Sullivan

One of the many unfortunate outcomes of the coronavirus pandemic has been the quick and obvious increase in single-use plastic products. After COVID-19 arrived in the United States, many grocery stores prohibited customers from using reusable bags, coffee shops banned reusable mugs, and takeout food with plastic forks and knives became the new normal.

Read More Show Less
A mostly empty 110 freeway toward downtown Los Angeles, California on April 28, 2020. Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The shelter in place orders that brought clean skies to some of the world's most polluted cities and saw greenhouse gas emissions plummet were just a temporary relief that provided an illusory benefit to the long-term consequences of the climate crisis. According to new research, the COVID-19 lockdowns will have a "neglible" impact on global warming, as Newshub in New Zealand reported.

Read More Show Less
Centrosaurus apertus was a plant-eating, single-horned dinosaur that lived 76 to 77 million years ago. Sergey Krasovskiy / Stocktrek Images / Getty Images

Scientists have discovered and diagnosed the first instance of malignant cancer in a dinosaur, and they did so by using modern medical techniques. They published their results earlier this week in The Lancet Oncology.

Read More Show Less
Parks keep people happy in times of global crisis, economic shutdown and public anger. NPS

By Joe Roman and Taylor Ricketts

The COVID-19 pandemic in the United States is the deepest and longest period of malaise in a dozen years. Our colleagues at the University of Vermont have concluded this by analyzing posts on Twitter. The Vermont Complex Systems Center studies 50 million tweets a day, scoring the "happiness" of people's words to monitor the national mood. That mood today is at its lowest point since 2008 when they started this project.

Read More Show Less

Trending

The ubiquity of guns and bullets poses environmental risks. Contaminants in bullets include lead, copper, zinc, antimony and mercury. gorancakmazovic / iStock / Getty Images Plus

New York State Attorney General Letitia James announced Thursday that she will attempt to dismantle the National Rifle Association (NRA), arguing that years of corruption and mismanagement warrant the dissolution of the activist organization, as CNN reported.

Read More Show Less