Million Tomato Campaign
BETHESDA, Md. – Today the U.S. Composting Council (USCC) announced the launch of a nationwide campaign to boost the soil health and growing power of community gardens across the country, while also growing healthy, fresh food for food pantries. The USCC will spearhead the donation of thousands of pounds of compost through the Million Tomato Compost Campaign, which will bring together compost manufacturers, chefs, community gardens and food pantries to help build healthy soil that produces sustainably grown, local food for the nation’s communities.
Celebrity Chef Nathan Lyon, chef and co-host of PBS’ “Growing a Greener World,” author of seasonal cookbook Great Food Starts Fresh and spokesperson for the campaign, is encouraging gardeners to grow their own tomatoes in soil improved with compost while offering healthy tomato-based recipes for families.
“Embracing compost is a wonderful and easy way to support the sustainable food movement,” said Chef Lyon. “I am happy to be joining the Million Tomato Compost Campaign to share nutritious and delicious food the whole family will love. Composting is nature’s way to grow food that’s good for the environment, as well as our health.”
Although tomatoes are one of the most popular vegetables grown at home, they can be difficult for beginning gardeners to grow, so using compost is key to building healthy soil. Adding compost can reduce the need for chemical fertilizers and allows soil to hold water well, which means plants need less water, and gardeners can spend less time caring for their plants. All of the compost manufacturers participating in the Million Tomato Compost Campaign produce Seal of Testing Assurance (STA) certified compost, which certifies that their compost meets federal health and safety standards and has passed stringent testing measures which ensure ongoing quality and safety.
“Compost has huge benefits for people growing local and sustainable food, and compost itself is a local and sustainable product as well,” said Michael Virga, Executive Director, USCC. “We all can use compost in our gardens to improve the quality of our soil and have a more bountiful harvest. It’s so satisfying to see these sustainability efforts come full circle.”
At the end of the campaign in August, each participating community will count the number of tomatoes they are donating to food banks and the USCC will calculate the pounds of compost donated to community gardens. People interested in participating in the Million Tomato Compost Campaign can track the number of tomatoes grown and learn more about the program at www.buy-compost.com. The site also provides information for home gardeners on where to buy compost and how to use it in the yard and garden.
About the US Composting Council
The Million Tomato Compost Campaign is a program of the US Composting Council, a national organization dedicated to the development, expansion and promotion of the composting industry. Established in 1990, the U.S. Composting Council (USCC) is the only national organization in the United States dedicated to the development, expansion and promotion of the composting industry. The USCC achieves this mission by encouraging, supporting and performing compost related research, promoting best management practices, establishing standards, educating professionals and the public about the benefits of composting and compost utilization, enhancing compost product quality, and developing training materials for composters and markets for compost products. USCC members include compost producers, marketers, equipment manufacturers, product suppliers, academic institutions, public agencies, nonprofit groups and consulting/engineering firms.
The USCC is a non-profit 501(c) (6) organization that also directs the Composting Council Research and Education Foundation (CCREF), a 501(c) (3) charitable foundation, which administers public and private research and education activities.