This Thanksgiving, Thank the Dirt with Compost!

Happy Thanksgiving! It’s that time of year when we fixate on food; making it, eating it, overeating it, deciding what to do with the leftovers. But while everyone is busy pulling out old family recipes and poring over worn, stained cookbooks, here at “Dirt! The Movie” headquarters, thoughts of good food lead inevitably to thoughts of good compost. After all, it’s healthy, healing soil that produces the yummiest, most nutritious fruits and veggies, and nothing insures good dirt like compost!

And compost gives us even more to be thankful for: We throw away tons of garbage each year and compost is a way to lower our deposits into landfills. Compost also allows food and animal products to decompose, rather than rot. Done right, compost helps to create rich, healthy, sweet smelling soil.

There are probably as many different recipes for compost as there are for stuffing! And like stuffing, compost “blends” are influenced by geography, tradition, and effectiveness. Actors Julia RobertsDarryl Hannah and Pierce Bronson are devoted composters. Roberts even taught Oprah Winfrey how to compost on her show! Their celebrity is helping to shed light on what can appear to be a complicated or mysterious process.

A few years ago, Denise and Randy Ritchie were successful screenwriters. Then life sent them off in another direction, first to consult for a friend’s landscaping company, then to take over the firm itself and create a very successful landscape/construction enterprise. The Ritchies’ growing environmental consciousness led them to start a new company, Eco-Partners, which focused on insuring sustainable practices at landscaping job sites. But fate had another surprise in store: one day while standing in the supermarket checkout line, Denise was flipping through a magazine when an article about biodynamic compost caught her eye. “I think it was fate, because that article changed everything. I was blown away by what biodynamic compost is capable of.”

Long story short: Denise and Randy recently created another business, Malibu Compost, the world’s first manufacturer of biodynamic compost. Their not-so-secret ingredient: the manure of dairy cows.

Geography plays a big role in composting concoctions. Up in Maine, the choicest commercial compost comes from  local materials such as mussels and blueberries, which go into Penobscot Blend.

Everyone composts differently. What’s your technique? If you have a recipe for compost, share it with the Dirt! community in the blog comments below.