We Depend on Soil that is Alive

…and that depends on Us!

Here is one of the foundations for really taking the future into our own hands!

The Island Cooperative Compost project is for anyone on Martha’s Vineyard who has natural waste. This cooperative composting project’s goal is to take your organic material and turn it into humus-rich compost and soil building earth worms for you and the larger community.

Probably the greatest value-added production and creation model ever.

Benefits to Martha’s Vineyard of Cooperative Composting

1) More protected space, under our feet, for the magic of nature’s infinite intelligence and creativity to go on working.

2) Greater amounts of humus-rich compost with which to feed the soil and give back some of the bounty it has been giving us.

3) Savings in energy, of many kinds, in disposal of organic wastes without shipping – in a constructive way. Eventually including savings on purchase and shipping costs for off-Island compost, fertilizers and potting mixes. And then there is the creation of energy, of life itself.

4) Greater cooperation and collaboration among Island farmers, landscapers, horse owners, residents, institutions, groceries, restaurants, schools, etc. which can only lead to a more cohesive community and thus more benefits for Martha’s Vineyard.

5) All the other benefits which you can think of and which will emerge from your inputs to this web-site and to the Island Cooperative Compost Project!

Origins of the Island Cooperative Compost Project

The idea to try to get this project going was hatched simultaneously in the heads and hearts of Philippe Morin and Chris Riger over the course of the last year without either of them knowing the other was onto it, until mid-August.

They had re-connected after 9 years around the special compost judging category for the 150th anniversary of the MV Agricultural Fair, facilitated by Kathy Lobb. Now the idea itself seems to be pulling them along and calling the shots.

The motivation is simple. If there is a significant amount of valuable compostable organic material on this Island that is not being composted successfully, or at all – then it is time to do something about it.

The soil that feeds us and supports our animals as well as the beauty of the landscapes that feed our souls – needs to be alive.

Good compost can be our broadest spectrum, longest lasting contribution to the soil’s own ability to renew and strengthen its ongoing life. Without added strength like that, under our use, it tends otherwise.

If we do not care for the soil and feed it, returning what we take from it, it will slowly go on dying. But not so slowly that we will not feel it – soon.

Several of the photographs on our web site, like the exquisite portrait above, are by Janet Maya. We hope her photos will continue to flow through this blog. She is a photographer with a deep eye for the heart and soul of life.

The Power and Joy of Composting!

Here’s a true story: Four young teenage girls from Westchester – mall girls, TV girls, never seen a farm, hardly ever even touched soil with one finger girls – come to a small educational farm to spend three whole days. Uh oh …

On the second morning they wander over to the windrow compost pile where the farmer is preparing to add materials to it. It is a cool morning.

The pile is steaming. They ask why and what is it. The farmer tells them, briefly.

But enough essentials of what is going on for them to begin to suspect there may be some magic happening here. They are willing to look at some earthworms.

But not quite touch them, yet.

The farmer shows them some finished compost. “That’s soil,” they insist. They have met the farm cow. They have seen the very large buckets of gooey kitchen scraps. The finished compost doesn’t smell bad, neither does the steaming pile. They ask more about earthworms.

The farmer tells them, opening the door to the magic a little wider.

Come on they say, let’s go get the buckets, and they’re running to the kitchen. They lug them back. The farmer has a couple extra forks and shovels to open the pile a little and get the new material in.  But no!

The girls are rolling up their sleeves reaching into the once totally gross kitchen scrap buckets way past their elbows and heaving the slop onto the pile – opening spaces amidst the cow manure, rotting straw and earthworms with their bare hands.

As they go off to wash up they are all squealing – “Wow! That was awesome, totally fantastic … Did you smell it, that new soil smelled sooo good!” And on and on.

This knowledge is in all of us. This recognition. Deep in our bones.

The next day the young women planted new seedlings in soil amended with that compost and harvested vegetables from the same beds for lunch out on tables in the garden.

3 thoughts on “We Depend on Soil that is Alive

  1. Bravo, Chris and Philippe for such an impressive start. You can count on my support in getting the word out.

  2. How could I have missed this blog! Its incredible. Your design is flawless, like you know exactly what to do to do make people flock to your page! I also like the perspective you brought to this subject. Its like you have an insight that most people haven’t seen before. So great to read a blog like this.

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