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Sneak Peek: Cosmic Compost

Stage 1. Mesophilic Initiation:
Lactobacillus + Leuconostoc

I’m launching Cosmic Compost, a design collection acknowledging the significant microbiota of decomposition ecology. I’m starting with a small series of 6 bacteria significant to compost microbial ecology, organized based on their roles during the 3 main phases of hot composting.

The designs are available as greeting cards, posters, art prints, notebooks, stickers, throw pillows, and mugs through RedBubble. Something fun for your favorite science or microbe loving friend.

This initial phase is a fermentation phase, with organisms like Lactobacillus and Leuconostoc leading the charge. Both Lactobacillus and Leuconostoc are found in fermentation communities, such as in the production of sauerkraut, cheese, kefir, kombucha, and even the anaerobic composting method bokashi.

During this initial phase of decomposition, it is the compounds that are easily degraded that are the first to be metabolized, such as simple sugars, starches, and lipids. After a few days, the frenzy of microbial metabolic activity releases heat and the temperature begins to increase.

I’ll be revealing the rest of the collection later next week, and will be sharing a weekly exploration of each organism. Consider this a sneak peek.

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Summer of Soil

It’s a busy summer this year! I am preparing to teach the Composting Ecology course at the University of Vermont for a month from mid-July to mid-August. Before that happens though, we are celebrating the launch of a community compost program in Claremont, CA. And I am giving a talk on the Power of Soil at the Pasadena Library. Both events are free and open to the public. Come check them out if you’re around!

Community Composting at the Claremont Friends Meeting: Sunday, July 1 from 11am – 1pm we are having a Launch Day Celebration. This program will accept residential food waste from 30 families from within the Friends Meeting House program. This eliminates transportation emissions associated with hauling entirely, as member families are already going to the Friends Meeting House for community programming, and will just need to bring their bucket of food scraps with them. At our Launch Day Celebration, we will talk about the basics of composting and build our inaugural pile. It’s a great opportunity to connect with other like-minded folks, get some physical activity, and do meaningful work together. This program is being launched through a local organization called Sustainable Claremont.

The Power of Soil at the Pasadena Library: Saturday, July 7 at 10:30am I will be talking about the importance of soil health in maintaining the health and well-being of people, the environment, and our communities. I will provide a broad overview of soil and society, the importance of the microbiome, and the transformative power of community scale programs.

I’ll be visiting farms and compost operations in New England while I’m there. If you’d like to have me speak, teach, or consult on any kind of compost program, I’ll be available in September!

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