Don’t let the city’s organic composting program slide

Open letter to Whitehorse mayor and council: I am a longtime organic gardener in Mount Lorne and have been teaching and encouraging local people to grow and eat local food for many years. I have also s

Open letter to Whitehorse mayor and council:

I am a longtime organic gardener in Mount Lorne and have been teaching and encouraging local people to grow and eat local food for many years. I have also sat on the Yukon government’s agricultural industry advisory committee as a representative of Growers of Organic Food Yukon since its beginning.

Last fall, we were given a directive for the committee to work towards a local food strategy, with goals that included more farmers selling more local food and more private Yukoners growing their own food. OK.

I teach primarily at my homestead, which has a variety of animals to produce top-quality compost. If we are serious about real sustainability, it will not be based on imported chemical fertilizers – they are not produced here and do not improve the soil.

So, when my students remind me that they will not have 30 animals in their backyards to produce the compost they must have, I say, “Go to the city. They have a huge feather in their cap in that their municipal compost is certified for use in organic production. An almost unheard of feat for any city’s compost.”

But not anymore. I can hardly believe that they would let this go, that it is not valuable enough to maintain the standards needed for this certification. The guys on the ground haven’t had a water system in place for good compost production for almost a year. They lack the most basic equipment to keep up with the growing supply of compostables.

Their top-notch soil science operator that put the certification in place has left in frustration. And all those locals who are very serious for very good reasons about growing some of their own food? Well, they ask me if the compost is trustable from the city now. Is it? How do we know?

Come on, city, put the money where it is needed. People want to compost, and we need the product. You know how to do it right, so we need more than lip service to the most central ingredient if we are to seriously move towards more food security for the North.

Shiela Alexandrovich

Whitehorse

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