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As organic gardeners, most of us are well aware the benefits organic compost can provide to our fruit and vegetables, but many may have less of an understanding of how it fits into the larger picture of sustainability. Organic compost may be an absolutely essential thread in the tapestry of preventing ecological ruin.
It should go without saying that we are fundamentally reliant on the viability of the soil for our survival, but as we speak that very soil is being decimated at an exponential rate. Though erosion (soil loss) is a natural and necessary process, recent scientific analysis has shown that human-caused erosion has outpaced all natural erosional processes combined by a factor of 10. By contrast, natural soil formation roughly keeps pace with natural soil erosion. The primary driving force behind human caused erosion is large scale, conventional agriculture. Within our current agricultural system there are few measures in place to rebuild healthy soils to account for the huge amount of soil lost and destroyed. Human caused soil loss is one of the great ecological crises of our time, but is largely under recognized.
So, what's the good news? A large part of the solution to this daunting problem may lie in your table waste, lawn clippings and autumn leaves. Studies by The Rodale Institute and others have demonstrated that using organic compost in lieu of conventional chemical fertilizers is not only an economically viable option in terms of comparable crop yields, it has the added benefit of restoring health and structure to the soil itself by increasing the soil's ability to absorb and retain moisture, decreasing waterway polluting run off, increasing beneficial microbial life, buffering soil pH and enabling new vegetation to easily take root.
We want to make organic gardening easy and accessible to everyone, so we film a short video every week and e-mail it, along with a special discount offers, in our weekly newsletter (click to sign up). Visit our Organic Gardening Resource Center to browse all our archived videos & articles.
Here's a sampling from our Organic Gardening Resource Center: