Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

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

A bushfire burns outside the Perth Cricket Stadium in Perth, Australia on Dec. 13, 2019. PETER PARKS / AFP via Getty Images

By Albert Van Dijk, Luigi Renzullo, Marta Yebra and Shoshana Rapley

2019 was the year Australians confronted the fact that a healthy environment is more than just a pretty waterfall in a national park; a nice extra we can do without. We do not survive without air to breathe, water to drink, soil to grow food and weather we can cope with.

Read More Show Less

By Fino Menezes

Everyone adores dolphins. Intelligent, inquisitive and playful, these special creatures have captivated humans since the dawn of time. But dolphins didn't get to where they are by accident — they needed to develop some pretty amazing superpowers to cope with their environment.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Protesters face off against security during the Dakota Access Pipeline protests. ROBYN BECK / AFP / Getty Images

In just two weeks, three states have passed laws criminalizing protests against fossil fuel infrastructure.

Read More Show Less
Donald Trump and Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, listen to White House coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Birx speak in the Rose Garden for the daily coronavirus briefing at the White House on March 29, 2020 in Washington, DC. Tasos Katopodis / Getty Images

President Donald Trump has bowed to the advice of public health experts and extended social distancing measures designed to slow the spread of the new coronavirus till at least April 30.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Charli Shield

At unsettling times like the coronavirus outbreak, it might feel like things are very much out of your control. Most routines have been thrown into disarray and the future, as far as the experts tell us, is far from certain.

Read More Show Less