A good day for worms

nathanIt’s a very soggy day in the ‘burg. Very, very soggy. Think monsoon. A good day for worms and dirt and plants and compost…….

And all that reminds me of Nathan Lyon (’94), celebrity chef, 2012 Emmy nominee, 2013 Emmy nominee for Outstanding Culinary Host for his work with Good Food America with Nathan Lyon — and one of our Be the Change Dukes.

So why do worms and dirt remind me of Nathan?

Nathan has stepped up as spokesman for the U.S. Composting Council Million Tomato Compost Campaign. According to the council’s website, the campaign, which began in March, aims to “spread the word that compost is a key component to building the healthy soil needed to grow sustainable, local food that helps build healthy communities.”

It’s something Nathan believes in and has promoted throughout his career: healthy eating, healthy living. His philosophy is simple “great food starts fresh.” Foods that travel halfway around the world, he says, use fossil fuels and have less flavor and fewer nutrients. Foods grown and consumed locally are fresher, better tasting — and  better for the planet.

Urban agriculture and local gardening are essential for the production of local foods, but sometimes connecting compost producers with potential community gardeners is tough. Solving this by bringing them together is a fundamental goal of the Million Tomato Compost Campaign.

Here’s how it will work: (from their website)

  • USCC’s STA certified compost producer members will donate STA-certified compost to participating community gardens who sign on to the Million Tomato Compost Campaign.
  • Community gardens will use their compost to grow one million tomatoes, either for their own use or for donation to local food banks.
  • Chefs will work with the community gardeners, schools and nonprofits to teach people about using sustainably grown local food in recipes that even kids will love!
  • Chef Nathan Lyon is the spokesperson for the Million Tomato Compost Campaign, offering tips for cooking with garden-fresh tomatoes grown with compost.

The council has signed up a growing number of compost providers who will provide compost to community gardens at no cost. Both compost providers and community gardeners can sign up and get together via the campaign’s website. When gardens are producing, numbers of tomatoes will be tracked. In addition to growing one million tomatoes, the hope is that some of the produce will make its way into local food banks.

The website also has information about using compost the right way, how to estimate your compost needs, why compost is important and lots of other handy-to-know gardening tips.

It sounds fun, interesting — and with Nathan’s expert culinary help — delicious!

You can follow Nathan on his website and on Facebook. And if you’re watching the Emmy’s on June 16, root for Nathan!


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