Grocery Stores Plan to Sell Compost for Gardens

6 years 5 months 4 weeks ago Monday, April 21 2014 Apr 21, 2014 Monday, April 21, 2014 5:24:00 PM CDT April 21, 2014 in News
By: Alyssa Strickland, KOMU 8 Reporter

COLUMBIA- Don Day has had a passion for agriculture for nearly half a century. For more than two decades however, he has composted. 

"I'm kind of cheap," Day said. "I don't like to buy a lot of stuff."

Day composts food scraps that others would normally throw away.

Compost, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, can include anything from food scraps from the kitchen, horse manure, leaves, grass cuttings, or straw. All of these items can create a good balance for a compost pile.

Day is not the only one composting, Adam Saunders, the Public Outreach Coordinator for The Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture (CCUA) said now is the best time to add compost to a garden.

"The spring is a good time to do it because it infuses good fertility and structure to your soil, before you plant a bunch of crops," Saunders said. 

Saunders also said to not use meats or dairy within the compost mixture, because that will attract unwanted critters. 

Conveniently enough, if you do not make your own compost, you can go to a local grocery store in town and buy some.

"Hy-vee and Menard's both sell our compost that is manufactured right at our city landfill using pre-consumer waste, from their own stores, to make this compost," Andrea Shelton said. "It's called Columbia's Own compost."

Andrea Shelton works for Columbia's Community Development program. One of her department's goals is to teach people the value of composting. She says having the compost in grocery stores is one of the best ways to encourage people to recycle. 

"We're trying to teach people how to recycles their food waste, their garbage from out of their kitchen," Shelton said. "There is a way to recycle that also."

Composting has made all the difference to Don Day.

"My soil is better than it was to start with, it could still use some improvement, but I'll keep putting compost on it," Day said.

Composting has also inspired and empowered, as Shelton said, one person at a time to make a change in their individual lives. 

"Food waste, we can make those things into valuable commodities that we can use," Shelton said. "And compost is one of them."

Shelton said if kids can do it, so can she, and so can others. For more information on which classes to take that the city offers and that CCUA offers, visit their websites.

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