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Compost to Fight Hunger

Composting is a fundamental step in the fight against hunger. Composting, or the process of taking food waste and turning it into nutrient dense soil for farming and gardening, plays a crucial role in combating hunger by reducing the amount of food waste that ends up in landfills. Globally, approximately one-third of all food produced is wasted, amounting to about 931 million tons annually. 

composter in action at Project Grow

At Second Harvest, we strive to ensure that no edible food goes to waste. However, there are certain food products that are not suitable for consumption that must still be responsibly disposed of. Things such as eggshells, banana peels, and even coffee grounds all count as food waste even if we don’t normally eat them, and they contribute to greenhouse gas emissions should they be sent to landfills. Composting helps us stop that from happening.  

At our recent Generous Helpings event, all waste was thoughtfully composted. Over 400 guests attended these gatherings, generating 26 bins of organic material that was composted alongside Compost Nashville. Second Harvest transformed what could have been mere trash into a valuable resource, showcasing a remarkable commitment to sustainability. 

Composting does more than just reduce greenhouse gas emissions; it also revitalizes our soil. By adding organic matter to our soil, compost acts as a fertilizer that slowly releases essential nutrients, such as nitrogen, into the ground. Compost also improves the structure of our soil to prevent erosion, helps soil retain moisture to reduce the amount of water needed, and attracts beneficial organisms to the soil like bees and worms. This improved soil can increase agricultural productivity, thus supporting more robust food systems that could help feed people in need.  

That’s why our revolutionary agriculture program, Project Grow, composts diligently throughout the year. Grass clippings, weeds, food scraps, and more are thrown into our compost bin at Project Grow every day. As these items decompose, we can prepare our garden to be a host to endless vegetables and fruits that will help us feed Middle and West Tennessee. Second Harvest has recently also started composting food waste from our donated produce. Despite our best efforts, not every piece of food that enters our warehouse is suitable for feeding our neighbors in need, but that doesn’t mean that food needs to go to waste! Thanks to our partnership with the Compost Co, we have already diverted over 800 pounds of food from landfills. This food will now go on to keep our mission going, rather than be wasted in a landfill.  

Composting is an important step in our mission of providing food to those facing hunger and working to advance hunger solutions. We need composting to cut back on our emissions, reduce food waste, and keep our soil healthy so it can grow the foods we need. Get involved in the fight by starting a compost pile today or joining in with a local organization. Your efforts not only nurture the environment but also empower communities to sustainably manage their food resources and strengthen our collective impact against hunger. 

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