From Dr. Mercola:
Growing your own food is an important aspect of achieving optimal health, and to really succeed in that endeavor, you need healthy soil. Composting various household waste is an excellent way to achieve this end.
In her book, “Compost City: Practical Composting Know-How for Small-Space Living“, New York City native Rebecca Louie reveals how to create compost even in the smallest of spaces.
She also provides valuable tips on how to network and identify local resources to help you generate high-quality top soil, which is crucial to growing nutrient-dense food.
“I grew up in New York City, in Queens… So, I didn’t have the benefit of growing up in areas where yards, backyards, and playing in grass were a common thing,” she says.
“In my early adulthood, I was a journalist, an entertainment writer… In that world, there’s not so much of an intersection with natural living with plants. I was more into the red carpet versus the green carpet.
Then, in my late 20s, the industry started shifting. I started doing that soul searching thing that happen to a lot of people. I took some time off. The moment I took that time off, I started to hear the world around me…
I started to observe [and think] “Wow, I’m part of the community.” And with that came an awareness of the food I was eating. I started cooking more. I started trying to grow things…
As this happened, [the transition to composting] came very organically… I’m eating all these foods, I’m cooking, and growing all these plants, but where am I putting the resulting scraps? Where does that go?”
When at First You Don’t Succeed
Rebecca’s initial ventures into composting using a worm bin ended in disaster. All the worms died. But the failure spurred her on to learn how to do it right. Like many other cities around the US, New York City offers a free Master Composter certification program, so she signed up and took it at the Queens Botanical Garden.
“In that course, I really learned about soil system, the value of returning organic matter to the soil, both for the environment at large and for the plants that live in it,” she says.
“As a plus, and something that I’m really excited about now, is the potential for building community around things like composting. You have a community garden but with that can come a community composting effort.
Suddenly, people are networking, making friends, sharing activities together, and getting outside. It’s a really transformative moment that’s happening right now.”
Composting is a more controlled version of what happens naturally on the forest floor. Leaves fall down and decompose, providing shelter and nourishment for a network of micro and macro organisms, from fungi and bacteria to larger creatures like worms.
Many of them ingest and break apart this biomass, returning to the soil organic matter that feeds the plants growing in the soil. Composting mimics this