Articles & Commentary

How Hot Compost Can Cool The Planet

Nine year old Nico successfully persuaded Unilever to remove plastic scoops from its Surf washing powder thereby eliminating 15 tonnes of plastic from the system. He now seeks the help of the Minister of Education to put compost bins in every school so that students can recycle nutrients into the soil, grow healthier vegetables, harvest, cook and share fresh kai, and learn about the importance of compost.

It’s an idea that worth thinking about, particularly as it is becoming increasingly apparent that the world is in a persistent cycle of drought, floods, deforestation, soil erosion, land degradation, heat waves, heat domes, soaring temperatures, disruption of precipitation patterns, extreme weather events, forest fires, crop failures, and alarming food shortages. New Zealand is not exempt from this crisis. The cost of fruit and vegetables, essential for a healthy diet, has increased year on year by 17% for the last three years and shows no sign of abating. Food is becoming unaffordable. It is driving communities into hunger and poverty.


Growing food resilience – School News NZ

Tim and I had an uplifting experience recently when we visited Stratford Primary School to install a composting system. This school has, over the years, placed a huge emphasis on actively engaging the children with nature and natural cycles.

Composting was one of those activities. The school also has an established kitchen garden, a large orchard, and they keep bees and chickens. Eggs come from the henhouse, not the supermarket, honey comes from the hive and chutney and marmalade are made from the gardens and with leftovers from the Fruit in Schools programme. Now they wanted to get more serious about composting. Why is that not surprising?


Why schools need to compost – School News NZ

Making compost usually leads to growing food.

In schools, that means a fun escape from the classroom and a chance to pick up some handy life skills around food, nutrition and abundance.

It also links with the sustainability curriculum, teaching about the interconnectedness of photosynthesis, growth and decomposition. How better to engage with that important topic than in the kitchen garden where the compost heap is cooking away; vegetables and fruit trees thrive; and the soil is spongy and moist.

CarbonCycle compost to superfoods

Why is local composting important?

In most parts of the world, organic waste still goes straight to methane-producing landfills. Nowadays, some governments and local councils are starting to realise that composting is essential for sustainable communities. However, their solution is usually an industrial-level compost plant or anaerobic digester, where food waste is transported from communities to an external processing plant. While they have good intentions, unfortunately this practice actually creates more problems and is not the ideal way to deal with organic waste. We believe that local composting is always best, and here is why.

Making compost locally is critical to the reform of our food supply. Composting can, should and must be done on a local scale.”

– Richard Wallis (Doctor Compost)
what is compost

What is Compost?

There is some confusion as to what compost actually is, and what it does. Compost is the result of plant or animal-based matter decomposing in a controlled manner. The end result is a substance which is rich in nutrients and can be used as a soil conditioner to help plants grow. Compost is the product of the act of composting.

CarbonCycle Composting

What is Composting?

Composting is in essence a process that takes spent organic material (largely water, oxygen, nitrogen and carbon), mixes them, and then lets nature take over to provide the raw materials for photosynthesis and new life.