Composting for 30,000 people.
Here at the largest worm farm in the southern hemisphere. It is a trial joint-project between the Lismore city council and Triton. The council implemented a system of green bins, Recyclables and landfill. They then deliver the green waste collection to the complex.
The project started 15 years ago.
There are problems with some contamination. In the first year 12% of the input was contaminated. People were throwing moldy veg from the supermarket, plastic bag and all into the bins and into the system. Others were putting everything everywhere once the landfill bins were full.
Through a system of feedback, public education and integration of new biodegradable starch bags this has been reduced to 2% in the highest grade 4mm product that is sold today.
And it is rich!
This operation is large scale. We didn’t get to see it under a microscope.
That was the domain of a smaller scale business called Soil Food Web. Working with composting teas brewed on site they were doing research into the life forms that can number in the millions in a single teaspoon of soil.
They are off the grid. A stand alone solar system powers the lab and the pumping equipment.
When analysing healthy soils biology is intimately connected with the chemistry.
With the decline in availability of abundant oil and its family of products; the culture emerges that encourages a return to biological resources.
They zoom to up to 400x and count, by hand and eye the levels of three key families that live in healthy soils.
This level of work gives measurable information on the nature of what we do when developing soil health. Then give vital feedback when determining what to do next when healing land.
The cure-all is compost. Through a process of continuos aeration of a compost starter, molasses, oats and many other experimental ingredients that feed bacteria and fungus levels a super rich life juice is created that can inoculate large areas of land with benifitial soil organisms that balance the system.
To bring all this home; the marketplace.
Every Tuesday the Tweed Regional Organic Producers Organisaion (TROPO) holds an organic farmers market in the Lismore Showgrounds.
It is a friendly co-operative with a place to openly communicate the needs of the market amongst the growers.
There are two retail distributors allowed in the marker. One is there with the understanding he brings what the local market cannot provide, the other to take excess food at the end of the markets to be resold at another regional market up the coast.
Food is fresh, the greens picked only hours ago.
All store holders are certified, and display that at the stall. Questions about the produce can be asked directly to the person that grew it. They were happy to answer and told us about their gardens and their life as a grower.
Wholistically balanced soil is fertile and healthy. Healthy soils grow healthy food.