Across the country, a growing number of States are considering and adopting healthy soils policies, though very few of these policies recognize compost application as a proven soil health-building practice. This presents an unprecedented opportunity to both promote composting and connect the practice to soil health and climate protection.
Soil, home to 59% of life on earth, provides life-sustaining ecosystem services including support for human food systems and climate change mitigation. The addition of compost to soil is among the fastest ways of replenishing soil organic matter, which not only protects soil health, but is also likely to increase soil carbon storage – especially in depleted soils.
Composting also provides unique opportunities to facilitate circular and holistic food systems by linking food waste diversion efforts to regenerative soil practices, and urban centers to areas of food production. However, policy is needed to encourage and invest in the production of high-quality compost and its application to land to maximize the benefits to soils, farms, and climate.
This Healthy Soils and Compost Policy Guide provides an overview of the overlap between healthy soils and compost in policy, as well as opportunities for policy to advance soil health practices, high-quality compost production, and compost use throughout the country. It is designed for advocates, policymakers, and curious minds to explore a menu of policy avenues to address the critical need to both build soil health and divert organic materials from disposal via compost.
Many thanks to Steven Keleti for his support in the creation of this guide.
To share these materials under creative commons license, free of cost, we request you credit the Institute for Local Self-Reliance by including the following:
Source: Sophia Jones and Linda Bilsens Brolis, Healthy Soils and Compost Policy Guide: Synergies and Opportunities, Institute for Local Self-Reliance, 2023 (ilsr.org/healthy-soils-compost-policy-guide). Reprinted with permission.
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