By Evan Folger, Ezra’s Cafe
While it’s extremely important for us to focus on using and creating the best foods for our customers, it’s almost just as important to pay attention to what we do with our food waste. At Ezra’s Cafe, we compost nearly 100% of our food waste. Each year, over 5,000 gallons of our composted food is used to build up the soil at our very own organic farm, not far from the cafe. These nutrients from the composted material make our organic heirloom produce extremely nutritious, which we use in the food you eat here!
Composting is the process of returning the nutrients that are in foods to the Earth’s soil by allowing them to naturally break down over time. Our foods are especially nutrient-dense because they are organic, wholesome, and have lots of vitamins and minerals, so it’s essential that we don’t let these valuable nutrients go to waste in a landfill. Landfills lock in food materials and cover them up with other trash, so the food is broken down in an anaerobic process – without oxygen. This creates methane gas over time, a highly damaging greenhouse gas. By choosing to compost instead of throw away our food scraps, we not only enrich the soil where we grow our crops, but we also help limit global climate change by lowering the emission of greenhouse gases.
Thankfully, more people out there are realizing the wide spectrum of benefits of composting, and success stories are growing in numbers! There are tons of companies and organizations that are seeing the benefits of composting. New Seasons Market, a chain of 12 stores in the Pacific Northwest, has saved over $25,000 in waste expenses over the past 7 years through their composting endeavors. They’ve put 2,410 tons of food back into the Earth, and kept this from being wastefully put into landfills. Middlebury College in Vermont started their composting program in 1993. They recycle or compost two-thirds of all waste on campus, and they compost well over 300 tons of food every year.
Food waste is an enormous environmental issue because of the scale of the problem. In America, roughly 40% of all food is wasted, according to the National Resources Defense Council. This is truly an unacceptable ratio. Worse yet, food waste is now the number one material sent to landfills and incinerators, according to Biocycle.net. This is why we strive to compost as much of our scraps as we possibly can in our kitchen. We strive every day to be as Earth-friendly as possible and leave the Earth better than how we found it.
Composting truly saves the planet and enriches your plate, one banana peel at time!
Are you interested in volunteering with us at the farm? Check out our farm page for more info. You can also email us at [email protected] to let us know you would like to be on the farm email list (which is different than the cafe list).
Cheers to your health and the planet’s too!