While many states have statewide composting programs and goals, Oklahoma has not yet adopted such needed policies although compost has proven significantly increase soil organic matter and biological activity needed for optimizing minerals and water availability for plants and crops especially when there is limited water availability.
The USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) released a major scientific assessment on global food security and its implications for the United States. The report, entitled Climate Change, Global Food Security and the U.S. Food System, identifies the risks that climate change poses to global food security and the challenges facing farmers and consumers in adapting to changing climate conditions.
The Oklahoma Composting Council (OKCC) was formed to collaboratively work with various agencies and groups through education to eliminate organic debris from Oklahoma landfills statewide with recommendations for agricultural composting endeavors including local foods, horticulture, etc. since 1995. Yet, Oklahoma’s organics continue to be wasted in landfills, dumped or burned. We need statewide policies to change these dynamics towards soil and climate health.
If anyone reading this blog has interest in working with the OKCC please send us a note. It appears to us that composting in Oklahoma is more an imperative with USDA climate change acknowledgement so we may work together to continue to advocate for composting as a drought mitigation and soil health tool.
Thank you and Happy Holidays!
Kathy Anichini – Moore
Oklahoma Composting Council and
Anichini – Moore Ranch & Farm
Please submit your name and interest in participating on the OK Composting Council’s board by April 15th.
The group could possibly have a meeting the evening of the first OK Composting Conference planned in late May or an alternative time in June 2015. Please indicate your meeting date, interest, and location preferences in an e-mail to Kathy.
The board will be reactivated if there is sufficient interest including performing the necessary work to become a stand alone 50l c 3; and, to routinely comply with all 501 c 3 rules plus developed goals/objectives and dues. These rules and goals include attending scheduled meetings, writing reports/press releases, membership recruitment, public speaking/advocacy, and filing taxes, etc.
The OK Composting Council was originally formed to represent all composting interests. This includes farmers, industry, universities, government, children and the public. It was also formed to provide educational services related to diverting organics from landfills statewide; recycling and reusing organics; and, to support horticulture, landscaping, yard services, organic/sustainable agriculture, and composting soils for local food production.
The last OK Composting meeting was held in March 2012 just prior to an OSU ceremony for Green Sustainability Awards. Attending, as I recall, were Craig Coker, Co-founder; Senator Paul Muegge; Shanon Phillips, OK Conservation Commission; Kefy Desta, OSU; Jason Vogel, OSU; Clay Pope, OK Conservation Districts; Debi Hickman, Woodward Tourism; and myself.
The OK Composting Council, had 501 3 c standing under an umbrella organization. That organization experienced embezzlement issues. After notification, the limited funds were moved and donated to another organization with 501 c 3 status in late 2013 due to lack of participation and/or acceptance by another umbrella organization.
The previous board consisted of eight members plus an Executive Director and an at Large member, Craig Coker who is co-founder. Craig is copied and invited to participate.
The OK Composting Council could vote to participate in a US Composting Council affiliation for mutually beneficial support.
The board was announced/published in Biocycle Magazine in 2005.
Biocycle provides an annual report of the state of garbage in the US with Oklahoma reported to have low organic residuals recycling diversion. The Council could have an enormous positive effect in changing these outcomes to benefit diverse interests while improving soil properties/function and water quality/quantity.
Hoping for a large response to explore the opportunities.
A long time ago, prior to founding the OK Composting Council, the goal for composting was literally Composting for Local Foods and Soil Health. Few thought the mission was viable favoring industrial or “business” approaches to composting so the mission was dropped by consensus in 2004 for the industrial model to appeal to broader audiences. Yet, the industrial model is limiting or linear in approach and has always bothered me because it doesn’t include farmers and/or all interests which says something about our believes being hedged more in profits over a more balanced or sustainable approach that considers all interests. What are all the interests? We might consider more people like farmers, the soil and those that live in soil or the environment, and profit together instead. The broader and more balanced approach is a systems or sustainable approach.
Taking another view, ever wonder why we throw away organic debris in the first place? It’s probably related to policies and practices that condition us to accept linear ideas and assimilating them overtime as cultural values and beliefs.
Today, some may believe such disposal creates economic development or jobs related to picking up and disposing of organics in landfills and some extend their vision to harvesting biogas from landfills. Yet, if we step out of our culture and examine nature we can find better solutions. The same is true in agricultural systems.
There is no waste in nature or natural systems. Everything in nature is used in place or perhaps moved by wind or water and/or reformed by microbes and used again as nutrients, carbon/water storage, and food. Nature’s system is circular which some educators refer to as systems thinking. Whatever we call repurposing organics, almost everywhere in the world and especially in Oklahoma there is an opportunity to compost organic debris locally to restore soil health and increase soils water storage capacity to ease the costs of producing foods or labor, energy, and input costs. And if we build alternative models or systems whether urban or rural to repurpose organic debris we can reverse the process of landfill disposal and relearn to follow natures guidance where there is no waste and where everything has another purpose which will create jobs and restore soil health and other environmental functions. These are the goals and mission of the agroecology work and educational tours on my farm.
Let’s hope the New Year brings more interest in repurposing of organics to build better soils in Oklahoma and beyond!