Happy International Compost Awareness Week! Of course, it’s our favourite time because the world pays attention to the eternal, magical substance that our Kambhas and Aagas make so beautifully.
This year’s theme is aptly titled “Healthy Soil, Healthy Food” because you cannot have healthy food if you don’t have healthy soil. And you cannot have healthy soil if you don’t compost! This is why closing the loop from farm to table to compost back to farm again is so vital!
And we’ve got tonnes of our signature brand Citizen Compost – literally – all made in our Aagas – the community composter designed by Daily Dump.
But isn’t it ironic that we are sitting on piles of organic nutrition that will keep us all healthy, but the pipelines to send it to farmers and urban forests are blocked?
Look at all the barriers keeping compost from the land that needs it the most:
1. City sizes have grown so farms are farther away.
2. Transportation to the farther farms is more expensive.
3. Prices of Organic Compost vs urea are not comparable.
4. Over 60 years of putting urea into the ground is a hard habit to break.
5. There are many grades of material that go by the same name – Organic Compost – often most of it is not organic and cannot be used on certified organic farms.
6. Testing and labelling increases the cost of this material.
7. If compost created by cities does not reach farmers or re-generate soil then the whole exercise to get citizens to do this is defeated.
So our challenge is to create fresh pipelines serving from urban composters to rural growers. India needs to regenerate its soils because ⅓ of it is degraded. Now there’s a movement to take barren land and bring it back to life. There’s also a growing movement to green cities, conserve biodiversity and create local, organic urban farms. That’s the good news!
When we first began selling our community composters 3 years ago, known as the Aaga, we added an incentive to encourage business and domestic communities to compost their organic waste. We figured if we bought it back from them they’d be incentivised to compost. And it works! Each month in Bengaluru we pick up around 10 tonnes of compost from 55 communities who use our products. The other 180 communities use the compost they collectively make to grow or nourish a their gardens or the trees in their neighbourhoods. Each kitchen in these apartments creates around 3/4 kg – 1 kg of kitchen waste per day, which of course quickly becomes a fantastic resource when using our Kambhas and Aagas.
But what do we do with all that black gold? We mature it and sieve and give it love. We then find interested farmers, earth regenerators, tree growers, urban farmers, experimenters who are working to put life back into the soil. These people know that in addition to giving health to the food we eat, compost helps lock carbon into soil through an intricate process that helps in fighting climate change.
Imagine!: making compost and putting it into the soil around us – farms, urban trees, and gardens – actually helps to counteract climate change by taking carbon from the air and putting it back into the ground where it does us all good! We’ve partnered with Afforestt and Say Trees to donate our compost in the past. Now we’re trying to expand our networks so whoever needs it the most can have access to it.
Small farmers may not have access to enough organic compost, but to source it from the cities is a problem, because they cannot afford the transportation. Often these mavericks need the compost at basic cost. CSR funding and donations seem to be a way to get this material to where it is most needed.
But we’re working on a model to fix the urban-to-rural compost pipeline:
Proto Village in Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh is a groundbreaking project started by Kalyan Akkipeddi that is creating a holistic, organic, equitable and circular and green community. It is the 2nd driest district in India. Situated on 12.5 acres of land, this community is making a self-sustaining, ecologically sound village.
One truck load of our compost has already helped them with this process. Mr Niranjan Khatri sponsored one truck of compost to reach them and now they’ve planted several plots of vegetable gardens with tomatoes, gourds, chilies, melons, leafy greens, beans, and bhindi as well as fruit-bearing trees like chikku, mango, drumstick, jamun, and papaya.
And this is where you, our loyal customers and fans from around the globe, come in. We’re kicking off a crowdfunding campaign for International Compost Awareness Week to raise ₹28,000 to send 3 tonnes of compost 200 kms to Proto Village to continue helping them change the structure of their soil so they can create their self-sustaining farming community.
All you have to do is click this link to the Ketto website that’s hosting our campaign and donate what you can. Every little bit helps! Please share the link and spread the word! Help put to good use this black gold that can turn barren land into rich, fertile humus that can grow a bounty of food. That’s how you can participate in making Healthy Soil and Healthy Food for this year’s International Compost Awareness Week.
So as you walk around outside, take a good look at that stuff under your feet. It also is in desperate need of being brought back to life with organic compost like the kind our Aaga communities are making! And some of you who have bought our Citizen Compost to help grow your own gardens have found out how wonderful a product it is! If you have been putting off composting, this week may be a great time to start! Call us at +9916426661 or give us a missed call at +9180 46535444.
And have a happy week composting!