The global food waste management market is estimated to grow at a compound annual growth rate of six per cent and is projected to reach US $42.37 billion by 2022, according to a new report.
The report estimates the market value of the industry at $31.71 billion. It pinpoints the primary factors driving the global food waste market as a need to reduce greenhouse emissions and increase the usage of organic waste for the production of animal feed and fertilisers.
A major barrier to projects, it notes, is landfill and incineration techniques causing adverse effects on the environment.
Its already November so we need to chat about summer gardening.
One of the biggest challenges we will all face this summer is keeping our gardens health, happy and adequately watered.
If your soil is typically sandy/silty in texture with minimal organic matter then it will repel and or leach water and your plants will suffer the most.
We’ve learned one very important lesson…if you want a beautiful healthy garden, you have to seriously consider the condition of the soil first; it is the foundation and engine room from which plants grow and if you ignore it, your garden will always struggle.
Right across the country we observe very tired soils supporting tired plants that are just hanging in there. So we are writing this article especially for those of you who want to change that.
How do we take advantage of the hot summer gardening period ahead and achieve maximum health and growth results from our plants and lawns?
Ideally we want every drop of irrigation or rainwater to stay around the root zone of our plants for an extended period. If you water the garden for short periods frequently, you will notice when you scrape under the mulch that your soil is probably still very dry or only slightly moist. This shallow surface moisture not only teases plants but attracts thirsty roots to the soil surface where they compete with each other and where they are most vulnerable to hot soil temperatures. Generally weeds are the only plants that benefit from this kind of watering.
For plants to become strong and healthy they require deep, not so frequent watering which encourages roots into the deeper sub-surface levels of the soil where it is cooler and where they have more room to spread out, it is this soil layer that we must get water to. To assist you in this quest it is absolutely essential to use quality water granules at least 4 times a year around the base of plants and over the mulch surface.
If the mulch is piled up around the plant stems, push it back and create a big bowl so that water gets directly to the plant. Many mulches and soils become hydrophobic (water repellent) once they have dried out and can be very difficult to get back to a condition where they can absorb water effectively. Quality water granules will relax the soil and mulch particles and allow water to filter through to roots deeply and evenly.
When your garden and lawn happily absorbs and uses water effectively, your plants will want to grow and so it is essential to feed them with a quality slow release fertilizer designed for sub-tropical conditions. A good fertilizer will provide all the nutrients your plants need to develop strong, healthy roots, foliage and flowers and will also help them to resist pest and disease.
Water granules and fertilizer are the absolute must do’s for every garden but the overall improvement of the soil foundation is essential if you want to create a lush, healthy, sustainable environment you can be proud of and enjoy. Composts, manures, seaweed and fish extracts are all effective and their addition should be considered as a regular part of your garden care routine. We highly recommend the BIG BIO® range of fertilizers for lawn and gardens available from Circular Food and selected outlets.
A beautiful, strong, healthy garden is within everyone’s reach if you focus more on the soil condition and less on the plants. Consider the assistance of an experienced horticulturist who has a good understanding of soils and how to re-invigorate them. When adding soil improvers, it is important to understand how to monitor and read the results and check and balance the PH.
If you would like to learn more about your soil and how to reap the benefits of summer gardening, we are just a phone call away.
Reproduced with permission from Grotec Landscape Solutions.
Bookmark 3047 café at the Hume Global Learning Centre, on Pascoe Vale Rd Broadmeadows, is now recycling all of its food waste into BIG BIO® organic fertiliser in partnership with Biotech company Circular Food.
The plan is for the café to stock BIG BIO® products for easy purchase by Hume council staff and local gardeners. Steve Morriss, CEO of Circular Food said, “Food waste is full of nutrients that benefit soil and plants. We feed a small army of compost worms who convert organics waste into soil amendments rich in soil microbes, enzymes and plant growth hormones.” The BIG BIO® products close the loop on food waste by building healthier soils to grow stronger, tastier foods.
Congratulations to Bookmark Cafe for taking part in this project and taking responsibility for their food waste.
Our friends at Vegepod have been conducting some exciting trials with BIG BIO. Check out the stage 1 results:
Pod 1: Control (low quality soil)
Pod 2: Low quality soil + worm juice foliar spray
Pod 3: Low quality soil + initial application of castings
Pod 4: Low quality soil + initial application of castings + worm juice foliar spray.
All pods filled with low quality bagged potting mix as available at all retail outlets
Foliar spray of diluted (40:1) BIG BIO® worm juice applied weekly to pod 2 and 4.
BIG BIO® worm castings mix into soil at start in pods 3 and 4.
All pods located together and watered weekly
It’s clear to see from these pics that the castings has an immediate significant effect on plant growth. On closer inspection the lettuce in the castings + liquid pod appears to have a deeper colour and more dense leafage. We’ll keep you posted as the trial enters the next stage and we interpret the results…
Circular Food founder and CEO, Steve Morriss, is also the founder and director of 2016 Victorian Manufacturing Hall of Fame inductee, Close the Loop (CtL), so he’s no stranger to resource recovery and circular economy thinking.
But at the end of last year, Morriss decided he had run his natural course at CtL so he turned his sights toward his passion – innovative start-ups with a strong social intent…
If you’re not a worm person, you might not have even heard the word “vermiculture” before. I certainly hadn’t 12 months ago. Vermiculture is just a more scientific term for worm farming. The practice of vermiculture, rather than worm farming, usually means it is being carried out on a more commercial scale, rather than your do-it-at-home worm farm. But essentially, the theory is the same.
Here’s a few facts and busted myths I’ve learnt along the vermiculture journey;
Worm castings are worm poo. The worm has amazing properties inside its gut, which makes its “poo” (castings) full of microbes and beneficial plant nutrients. Castings are like gold in terms of food for your plants. You only need a little bit to make a big impact. And don’t worry, castings don’t have any smell.
Worm juice, (otherwise know as vermiliquor) is not worm wee. Worm beds are naturally quite damp environments. They require regular watering to keep the worms happy. The organic waste used to feed the worms also contains a lot of moisture. So, all of this makes liquid a prolific bi-product of the vermiculture system. The liquid naturally drains through the pits, and is collected at the bottom. We re-circulate this liquid back through the beds, to ensure a high microbial count.
A healthy worm farm does not smell. The worms do a wonderful job of consuming all organic waste, leading to an odourless environment, providing it is managed correctly. If your worm farm at home smells, there is something wrong. Perhaps the food is too acidic, or perhaps you are overfeeding. Not sure? Come and attend one of Circular Food’s free Saturday info sessions. Contact us for more info.
Worms won’t leave a happy home. We don’t contain our worms with anything more than a felt blanket over the beds, and this is for warmth not containment. Keep your worms happy by feeding them regularly, keeping them aerated, and adequately watered and they will never leave your side. They’re loyal workers.
Worms will eat anything that was once living. Yes, that includes some traditional “no-no foods” like meat and citrus. In moderation, worms will eat these things too. However, its important to make sure protein levels and ph levels are kept at an optimum level. So without the facilities to test this at home, its safest to avoid these foods in your own worm farm.
And finally, and the most important lesson of all; Worms are one of natures most valuable creations. They are industrious and largely undervalued little creatures, with imperative value for life on earth. Left to its own devices, our planet can figure out any naturally occuring issue. Its solution for organic waste is the earthworm. If we can help them do their job, they can help us reduce our landfills and regenerate our global soil health.
If you have a specific question about vermiculture, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
How did I end up in this industry? Well it came about through the entrepreneurial whirl-wind that is Steve Morriss, who is the founder of Circular Food, and also happens to be my father.
We started this journey looking for a new industry. The environment sector is a major passion for our family, and recycling complex waste streams is Steve’s expertise. So, organic waste recycling seemed like a natural fit. We burrowed into the industry, and the more we found out, the more passionate we became. It turns out the issue of organic waste is one of the most important environmental issues facing our planet – in fact I would argue that it is the most important. The issue is twofold; firstly, whilst huge amounts of food are being wasted, huge numbers of people are going hungry. We have a growing population, and a declining agriculture industry. With current farming practices, retail practices and public mindsets about waste, we cannot feed ourselves for much longer.
Secondly, when food waste ends up in landfill it rots, releasing methane and CO2. If food waste was a country, it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases, after China and the US.
The most frustrating part about these facts is that there is no need for it. Food waste has amazing properties, which are extremely beneficial for our soils. The earth is equipped to take organic material back into the soil, and rejuvenate that ‘waste’ into plant ready nutrients. How does the earth achieve this? Earthworms.
Before we started the Circular Food journey, I knew very little about worms and vermiculture. And when I say “very little,” I mean I knew worms existed and consumed organic waste. That’s about it. The learning curve has been steep.
Vermiculture is an interesting industry, flirting between science and art. The “gospel” of worms is passed through the community, based on a solid foundation of trust and experience.
The industry itself is like an earthworm; humble and understated, but wielding immense potential.
We had the passion and the drive to tap into this industry, but we didn’t have the knowledge or the trust of the people. Fortunately, our paths crossed with Dave Wyatt – a vermiculture expert and industry veteran of 17 years. Circular Food bought his existing business, Vermicrobe International, and we absorbed that business’ expertise and incorporated it into Circular Food. Dave is now Circular Food’s vermiculture manager, and thank golly for that!
As CEO, Steve plans on expanding this knowledge and existing IP by applying a healthy dose of science. We believe in our worms, but the truth is they can’t work fast enough to produce what we need. We (the human race) have left it too late for that. We’re prepared to enter into a journey of extensive R&D, to create a fertiliser based on vermiculture but “supersized” for the modern environment.
Over a period of a few short months, the Circular Food concept has evolved from its kitchen table origins into a tangible business. In April, we secured our first site in Somerton, north of Melbourne. We spent the next two and a bit months renovating and improving this factory. Now, finally, it really feels like home.
We now operate the largest urban worm farm in Australia, equipped with a retail facility and our own lab.
Watch this space. Vermiculture and agtech are about to collide, and it’s going to change the game.