The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Campaign Highlights Importance of Compost to Improve Soil in Your Garden
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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
By Tara Lohan
If I were to open my refrigerator, the origins of most of the food wouldn't be too much of a mystery — the milk, cheese and produce all come from relatively nearby farms. I can tell from the labels on other packaged goods if they're fair trade, non-GMO or organic.
By Mark Hertsgaard and Kyle Pope
Some good news, for a change, about climate change: When hundreds of newsrooms focus their attention on the climate crisis, all at the same time, the public conversation about the problem gets better: more prominent, more informative, more urgent.
By Jeremy Hance
VIETNAM, July 2019 – I'm chasing a ghost, I think not for the first time, as night falls and I gather up my gear in a hotel in a village in southern Vietnam. I pack my camera, a bottle of water, and a poncho; outside the window I can see a light rain.
By Bailey Hopp
If you had to choose a diamond for your engagement ring from below or above the ground, which would you pick … and why would you pick it? This is the main question consumers are facing when picking out their diamond engagement ring today. With a dramatic increase in demand for conflict-free lab-grown diamonds, the diamond industry is shifting right before our eyes.