by Malia Guyer-Stevens, Slow Food USA Editorial Intern
Slow Food Southeast Missouri hit the ground running when they joined the Slow Food family this past spring. Our newest chapter started, in their words, “in an effort to encourage and connect small farmers to consumers in our region.” By creating a chapter, they are building a community dedicated to the Slow Food mission of good, clean and fair food, but they are also building some physical spaces as well.
Starting back in April they constructed the Slow Food Shed at the Cape Riverfront Market that functions as the “composting headquarters” – part of their bike-powered compost pickup for the residents of Cape Girardeau. The downtown Cape Compost Initiative consists of weekly bicycle pick up of residential food waste buckets, on-site composting of food waste into garden compost, and education of how to turn food waste into compost. The project aligns with the chapter’s goal of raising awareness for local food systems, and for Aaron Arnzen, the project leader, “an ever burning passion to continue to use the bicycle as a tool for good.”
Compost is sometimes referred to as black gold because of just how valuable the decayed organic matter is for plants and our soil. And while 30-40% of our food in the US goes to waste each year, composting is an incredible way to make sure it doesn’t end up in landfills, and can be used to grow healthy food and keep our soils healthy. It not only contains nutrients, but also beneficial fungi and microbes that help break down the plants and food into the final product. In that way, it’s really these “bugs” that build the soil, and it’s just our role to gather all the food together and give it a place to decompose. Follow along on their Instagram to keep up with composting updates, or if you live in the area find ways to be involved on their website.