May 6th-12th Is International Compost Awareness WeekApril 30th, 2012 by Craig Mullins
Held each year during the first full week of May, International Compost Awareness Week (ICAW) is the largest and most comprehensive education initiative to come from the compost industry. The week-long celebration is a multi-media publicity and education event meant to showcase composting and compost products, through large scale commercial composting as well as composting in your own backyard.
For over a decade, International Compost Awareness Week has grown in numbers and strength, gathering great support through sponsors and compost advocates.
“ICAW is the longest running community based awareness campaign about compost in the World. I always look forward to the new poster in the new year and how we can link everyday life to good social and sustainable habits that nature teaches us with composting. As a charter member of ICAW, our slogan at Filtrexx is let nature do it. This of course, includes composting. ” – Rod Tyler, CEO Filtrexx Land Improvement Systems [source]
International Compost Awareness Week is designed to bring positive attention to the science of composting and all that it can provide through the rallying of composting advocated and building awareness throughout communities.
1. a mixture of various decaying organic substances, as dead leaves or manure, used for fertilizing soil.
2. a composition; compound.
verb (used with object)
3. to use in compost; make compost of: to compost manure and kitchen scraps.
4. to apply compost to (soil).
A key ingredient in organic farming, compost is organic matter that has been recycled and decomposed as soil amendment and fertilizer.
The process of composting, in its simplest form, starts with a heap of wet organic matter like leaves or food waste that breaks down after a period of weeks or perhaps months.
Composting is very much a science; a process closely monitored with methodical multi-step methods includes measured inputs of water and air, as well as carbon and nitrogen rich materials. The process of decomposition is aided with shredded plant matter, added water, and proper aeration through the regular turning of the mixture. Worms and fungi are also used to further break down the material.
Fun Facts About Compost:
- Composting can be traced back to the early Roman Empire.
- Europe began to modernize composting for organic farming starting in the 1920s.
- In 1921 the first industrial station for composting urban organic materials was established in Wels/Austria.
- Some cities across the U.S., like Seattle and San Francisco, require that residents sort their food and yard waste for composting.
- One of the biggest non-commercial compost heaps in Europe is located in London’s Kew Gardens.
There are several people who are important to the history of compost…
- Rudolf Steiner, founder of the farming method called biodynamics.
- Annie Francé-Harrar, appointed on behalf of the government in Mexico to help set up a large compost organization in the fight against soil degradation and erosion.
- Sir Albert Howard, worked extensively in India on sustainable practices.
Composting was imported to America by various followers of these early European movements in the form of persons such as J.I. Rodale (founder of Rodale Organic Gardening), E.E. Pfeiffer (who developed scientific practices in biodynamic farming), Paul Keene (founder of Walnut Acres in Pennsylvania), and Scott and Helen Nearing (who inspired the back-to-land movement of the 1960s). Coincidentally, some of these personages met briefly in India – all were quite influential in the U.S. from the 1960s into the 1980s. [source]
Do you compost at your home or business? How do you do it? Do you have any tips or advice? We would love to hear what you have to say about compost and how you plan to honor International Compost Awareness Week!