The Be the Change Project’s Top Tips for Regenerative Living #4 Compost & Soil Building



Katy making a Biodynamic compost pile in our backyard with restaurant scraps, coffee, straw, and amendments.

This is the fourth installment of my series on tips for regenerative living. Our goals are to improve the environment around us while nurturing closer connections to home and community.  Each tip requires a little more energy and a little more chutzpah to make happen but, hey, it’s worth it.   Part 1. Part 2. Part 3.

Of all there is to do in our backyards (actual or figurative), I can’t think of any other process that is as blatantly regenerative as improving soil.  And, at the heart of soil building is composting.  As things are now, most of our country’s organic waste winds up in the landfill.  This is a no-no.  Once there it decomposes anaerobically giving off methane gas while creating a toxic leachate that can foul groundwater.  Instead, we can transmute our food and yard scraps into nourishing compost that gets nutrients to plants, holds and filters groundwater, creates habitat for critters, sequesters carbon in the soil...and so on.  It’s modern day alchemy - the transformation of lesser materials into veritable gold.  There’s serious science to composting, of course, but it’s also just not that hard to do.  Go online (, for example) or grab a book from the library to get the basics and get started.  Regenerative living takes some effort so set up a composting system that works with your life so it becomes part of what you do and who you are.

NOTE: You may be thinking that composting is not so hard, not so radical, and you’re right!  But how many of us don’t do it?  And, if you do, how can you do it with more impact on multiple levels (what’s called “stacking functions” in Permaculture parlance)?

We’ve been composting at our BTC homestead since day one and we were far from experts when we started.  However, we learned by doing and by getting advice from friends.  We got so into composting that we eventually launched two successful composting businesses:  the Reno Rot Riders (Reno’s first compost collection service) and Wormtopia (vermicomposting at a larger scale).  Both of them have helped increase composting awareness in town, developed composting advocates, and actually composted tons and tons of material that have improved soils and grown plants all around Reno. 

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