Thursday, June 22, 2006

Ted tends the compost

We’ve enlisted a whole new corps of sustainability experts at Farm Aid.

Farmers and gardeners everywhere call them red worms, and we call on them almost daily to help us recycle kitchen waste here in the office. Yes, we have a small kitchen here. You can’t be as involved with food and farming as we are without having a kitchen, a nice big table for the Farm Aid family (we do our best work as a team huddled around that table) and a big white bucket under the sink for table scraps.

We call it the Compost Bucket. Not very original, I know, but hey, it cuts down on the confusion and that’s a big deal in an office where ideas fly with the regularity of jet planes and birds. We’ve recycled paper, plastic and metal for quite a while, but it wasn’t until last year that we started recycling food scraps. It’s hardly innovative, but it took some time to get into the habit of tossing all that good green garbage into the bucket. Lots of food items lost for weeks in the refrigerator also end up as nourishment for the sustainability experts, and Carolyn, an urban dweller with no place for a compost pile of her own, often contributes food scraps from home.

Wendy, Carolyn, Glenda, Mark, Jen and I are all avid gardeners and most of the rest of the staff is plotting ways to launch urban or suburban gardens of their own. I consider it a small miracle that, for the moment, I’m the person on staff who gets to tote the Compost Bucket home every few days. The worms in my backyard compost pile love it, of course. They are extremely well fed. In return, they do me the favor of expertly turning out a yard or two of rich black earth every year. A fair and sustainable trade all around.

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