MAPLETON – Environmental advances in soil health, waste diversion and community building were celebrated on Sept. 26 at Ross Enterprises here.
Compost leaders from across Canada, the United States, Europe, Asia and South America joined Buck Ross and family and Pat Brewster at the farm operation for an evening of local food prepared by the volunteers of the Drayton Mapleton Agricultural Society, with musical entertainment by the Moore Brothers of Drayton.
Delegate greetings and updates on provincial and local sustainability programs were provided by Perth-Wellington MPP Randy Pettapiece, Mapleton Mayor Gregg Davidson, Wellington North Mayor Andy Lennox, and Minto Mayor George Bridge, along with Wellington-Waterloo Community Futures Development Corporation general manager Rick Whittaker, Dr. Barbara Swartzentruber of the City of Guelph and Christine Brown, field crops sustainability specialist of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
Mark Keating of Nebula Controls displayed the company’s 100 per cent electric vehicle, a 2018 Ionig hatchback, sporting a sign on the windshield “Proudly Powered by Elmira’s Garbage,” recognizing Bio-EN’s anaerobic digestion power generating facility’s contributions to carbon-free transportation.
Once solely the interest of home gardeners through backyard compost bins, organics recycling is now becoming a powerful component in government and industry strategies to divert valuable resources from landfill and help mitigate climate change through the return of locally-made organic matter back to soils, Ross Enterprise officials note.
“Political commitment was given to these innovative technologies that will help save the world, be it for food sustainability, energy production or water and air quality, for generations to come,” officials state.
“We were delighted to host these national and international experts who are dedicating their lives to better soil productivity, reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, improved water quality, green energy production, and local job creation,” said Ross, a fourth generation farmer and owner of Ross Enterprises.
The evening was the culmination of a four-day national organics recycling conference presented by the Compost Council of Canada, an organization dedicated to building infrastructure and awareness of organics recycling throughout Canada.
The conference’s two full days of tours included visits to Guelph’s Organic Waste Processing Facility, Bio-EN Power in Elmira, All Treat Farms in Arthur, Ross Enterprises’ Soil and Crop Research plots and Molok North America in Mount Forest, along with visits to many of the University of Guelph’s sustainability and environmental technology development initiatives.
Through the conference’s 35 presentations, in-depth updates were provided on the importance of organics recycling to divert 40% of Canada’s waste stream through composting and anaerobic digestion, while improving the health of soils which have seen productivity declines of up to 50% in recent years.
It is estimated that for every tonne of organics diverted from landfill, greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced by one tonne, substantially contributing to climate change solutions.
“The community’s hospitality and generous sharing of their many talents created an inspiring atmosphere for our delegates,” said Susan Antler, executive director, the Compost Council of Canada.