Magazine article E Magazine

Three Cheers for Compost a Conversation with Michael Virga of the U.S. Composting Council

Magazine article E Magazine

Three Cheers for Compost a Conversation with Michael Virga of the U.S. Composting Council

Article excerpt

By the time you read this, Compost Awareness Week (the first week of May) will likely have come and gone, but the other major initiative of the U.S. Composting Council--the Million Tomato Compost Campaign--is just getting underway. The campaign is trying to raise the profile of compost as a necessary component of healthy organic food. Michael Virga, executive director of the U.S. Composting Council, explains.

1. E Magazine: What can you tell me about the Million Tomato campaign?

Michael Virga: This is a nationwide effort to spread the word about compost; that compost is a key component of building healthy soil needed to grow sustainable local food that helps local communities. We have united chefs, community gardens, food pantries and compost manufacturers to introduce Americans to the value of compost. We're trying to demonstrate that if you use compost in your gardens you will have healthier soil which will produce healthier plants, healthier vegetables and healthier people.

E: What's the importance of composting?

M.V.: If you send organics like food scraps and yard waste to landfills they give off a lot of methane gas which is 20 times more toxic to the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. So we keep that from happening by recycling that organic material and food scraps--leaves, grass clippings--and we turn them into products that benefit society and the environment and enhance the soil. Compost is a soil enhancer. That's what makes it such a wonderful product.

E: What are the benefits of composting for home gardeners?

M.V.: I'm an avid gardener and I don't use any chemical fertilizers. …

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