When it comes to building a symbiotic relationship with the Earth, there are ENDLESS ways to dig in. This can be an overwhelming fact, however we don't have to do it all by ourselves. Every individual has a unique combination of talents and niches. This page is a growing scrapbook of workshops, projects, and how-to's. It is important to remember that we are not alone in our efforts, and that they ARE making a difference. This page is meant to be both an example of what is possible, and an array of starting points and niches for YOU to add your special flavors. I saw a bumper sticker once that read: No one can do everything, but EVERYONE can do something. Contact us to inquire about land projects across the US!
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90 issues and 90 solutions is a blog, created by my beloved, in order to address 90 of the CORE issues of this planet that are holding us back. Rather than just griping about all of the 'problems' and feeling overwhelmed, the 90 and 90 blog offers CLEAR solutions and examples of the small things we can do to make change. The 90 and 90 is an "all play," if you will, and we encourage inspired writers to tackle a subject that they are passionate about. There is also a lot of juicy stuff on the site, and we encourage you to check it out.
Implementing Curbside Composting
Waste to Oasis: From the Ground Up (A Compost Business Proposal)
This world is designed to be eternal and plentiful in its hospitality to Her inhabitants, so long as we love Her enough to listen, trust Her wisdom, and act upon it. At this juncture of the journey, many have been led to believe that the only way to abundance is through the man-made monetary system. We have been fed beliefs that play off of our fears, suggesting that there is a lack in this world that can only be bridged by man. Suggesting we are not protected and provided for unless we pay top-dollar for insurance, homeland security, healthcare and the like. These beliefs are false, and they take us farther and farther away from divinity, and living in symbiosis with this planet. We are being blinded from the importance of taking care of the Mother, for there is no official man-written document stating that if we take care of Her, she will take care of us. Unfortunately, this “every man for himself” mentality has caused much carelessness on this sacred planet that we inhabit.
On average, 40-50% of the food in America goes uneaten (endhunger.org). This makes up the largest percent of solid waste in the United States. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, over 12% of solid waste in the US is food waste, and of that, less than 3% is recovered and put to use. Overall, the US spends somewhere in the ballpark of 165 billion dollars disposing of this waste each year. There are very many pressing issues interlaced with this; unnecessary spending when we are already far in debt, so many of our brothers and sister both overseas and in our very own country are going hungry. The list could certainly go on, but that would be a waste as well; of energy, for I am searching for solutions. Not the kind of ‘solutions’ that solve one problem and create another. For example; if we were to ship our uneaten food to starving countries, we would further be polluting our land and water, and further ignoring the issue that the food we would be sending is largely processed, or even artificially created! When there are so many issues to be resolved, where do we start?
...Well, from the ground up, of course. So here is my proposal.
I desire, in the name of the Mother and all of her inhabitants, to not only significantly reduce waste, but to also create NEW LIFE from it. I currently rest my head in the beautiful town of Sedona, Arizona. The land here, the essence of Earth and her strength in these mountains; it is absolutely breathtaking. As you may expect however, this land has been largely exploited through tourism. I am sometimes saddened to find that this land is not nearly as respected, appreciated, or cared for as I dream it to be one day. One thing I have noticed is that there are no offered composting services in this town, nor the towns surrounding. This is what I wish to provide.
The first stage of this composting service would function essentially like a trash service. Each participant would be provided a bin, likely of five gallons, in which to place next to their countertop, under their sink, or wherever they see fit. Throughout the week, participants would fill this bin with their food scraps: onion skins, broccoli stalks, fruit skins, that wilting head of lettuce they didn’t quite get to in time, etc. At the end of each week, they will put it out on the corner like trash or recycling, and our team will make the rounds; picking up each bin and replacing it with an empty one for participants to fill throughout the following week. We will then bring the compost to our facility, which we will build on a plot of land from two to five acres. This encompasses phase one.
Logistically, the cost to customers would be a monthly fee, just enough to cover our gas and time. The first month may be slightly more, by perhaps 8-10 dollars, to secure a bin. Other than that, it would be a fixed rate, that would likely be able to be reduced a bit every year as we gain more participants.
Already, in just the first phase of this project, we have significantly reduced waste. On average, each American produces over 20 pounds of waste each month (www.rona.unep.org). The population of Sedona, Arizona alone is over 10,000 people in our ‘off season.’ So let us round down, shall we? If only 10% of the people of this town choose to participate in the first month of our service, we will have recovered 20,000 pounds of waste in one month, and be able to put it to good use. This brings me to phase two of our project. Now that we have significantly reduced waste, and even brought the issue of our ‘wasteful’ mindset to awareness, we are ready to start tackling our next issue: Lack.
Food is one of few foundations to sustaining life. Period. Though Americans are used to seeing their food originate in plastic packaging, it actually comes from this magical thing called SOIL. Soil is the basis for enabling plants to absorb the nutrients they need to become big, strong and juicy. These plants will then be able to do the same for you. You are what you eat, after-all. Can you guess where some of the most nutrient-rich soil comes from? That’s right, COMPOST! Our very own ‘waste.’ It seems that the end of the life cycle seamlessly feeds right back into the beginning. How poetic.
On our land, we will build means to cure the abundant materials that will be obtained through our curbside composting service. The food-scraps in which we will obtain will provide much ‘green material,’ which is high and nitrogen, and heats up and cures quickly. Compost is also ‘brown material,’ which consists of fallen leaves, branches etc. around the yard. Many combinations of green and brown materials work to cure soil at varying rates. Compost takes anywhere from three months to a year to turn into nutrient rich soil. This means that by one year of offering our composting service, we will also be able to provide a new batch of cured organic soil every month. Currently, the closest place to get organic soil in this town is 40 miles away.
This phase of the project would open up possibilities for more volunteers, and more jobs! Overall, it would create possibilities for further collaboration. There are a good many factors to improve your soil, including the use of earthworms, and effective microorganisms, or EM. Not only do these EM eliminate offensive odors from curing food-scraps, they also transmute even non-organic compost into Organic soil. This could create a platform for micro businesses specializing in this kind of knowledge.
Speaking of ‘non-organic scraps,’ it is important to know that there are a few food items that cannot be composted. The list is very short:
*Meat *Sugars (ie. processed foods high in sugar, like Twinkies and that icky stuff. I would also refrain from composting your leftover birthday cake.) *Fats (ie. that jar of bacon grease that has been compiling in your freezer.)
That’s really it. Other than that, anything is fair game. Just bare in mind that though fruits and veggies are certainly compostable, produce stickers are not. Just as tea bags are compostable, though the staples that hold them closed are not. You will find, however, that it is likely that both your coffee grounds, and your coffee filters are compostable! When in doubt, check the packaging. All and all, it is quite simple. You will get the hang of it in no time.
This budding business is not only a project, it is a MOVEMENT. A movement to bringing sustainability to every household and every mind. Saying “yes” to compost is only the beginning. Composting participants will be able to redeem points for the amount of time that they have been providing us with their material. These points could translate into, say, a free bag of soil at the end of their first year. Then a free bag of soil every six months! Who knows, by their third year, perhaps we will be able to give them a free bag of soil every three months! Not only will we be reducing the amount of solid waste on this planet, we will be increasing the incentive to our participants, and whomever THEY in turn inspire, to begin growing their own food! Perhaps our participants will then have such an abundance of food, that they share with their friends, family, and neighbors. Perhaps this will put power back in the hands of the individual to PROVIDE for themselves and their community, to abolish their fears that they may not have ENOUGH. Perhaps this project will catalyze positive steps away from this corrupt system we have been feeding into for all of these years.
This movement will provide the people with materials to not only survive, but THRIVE. It will provide invaluable knowledge, and comfort in shifting to this new paradigm with ease and grace. Throughout this project, we will make the knowledge available to anyone who chooses to ‘bring their own container.’ I visualize creating opportunities, in the form of workshops, festivals, and retreats, on the plot of land in which we will acquire. I visualize getting people involved and excited of all the possibilities of creation held in each and every day on this planet. Even in the very beginning stages, when we are building our composters, we can offer the experience as a workshop, so that people would be able to do it themselves if they so chose. Along the way, we could create workshops on DIY composting. We could hold festivals with workshops during the day, both on composting and ANY OTHER trade, art, skill, knowledge etc. that a volunteer would like to step forward and share. We could have celebrations of the arts, we can build community.
We could also provide our services to other conscious festivals. We could provide both workshops on this knowledge, and we could adopt the food scraps created throughout the festival and put them to good use. We could travel around to budding communities and set them up with the means to compost, and create their very own soil. With the right materials, we could offer our services to local restaurants, hotels, businesses, schools, etc. The possibilities are truly endless.
In short, anything is possible when we start from the ground up.
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