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Dear white people: We need to talk about your diet’s carbon footprint

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When it comes to emissions, our food choices carry some serious weight. And according to a new study, white individuals’ eating habits contribute more on average to climate change-related emissions than other demographic groups.

The study, published Monday in the Journal of Industrial Ecology, examined the “food pipeline” — the production, distribution, and waste associated with the products we eat — to assess the environmental impacts of three different demographic groups, “Blacks, Latinx, and Whites.” Using data from the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, researchers found that the typical diet of a white American includes more foods that require more land and water — and emit more greenhouse gases — than the typical diets of black and Latinx communities.

In the study, white Americans’ eating patterns had the highest per capita greenhouse gas and water impacts of any demographic group due to their consumption of “environmentally intense food items” such as potatoes, beef, apples, and milk. Black Americans’ diets had the highest per capita land impact “due to their consumption of land‐intense food items in the fruit and ‘protein foods’ food groups,” but had the lowest per capita greenhouse gas emissions of the three groups examined.

“If we are to draft policies related to food, they can’t be one-size-fits-all policies because different populations have different eating patterns which have their own unique impacts on the environment,” Joe Bozeman, a student at the University of Illinois at Chicago and first author on the paper, said in a statement.

Of course, how you eat depends on more than just your race. Individuals’ food habits vary depending on geographic location, socioeconomic status, age, gender, culture, religion, and personal preference, to say the least. But the study is just the latest piece of evidence that, on a population level, disparities exist between which demographic groups contribute to — and bear the burdens of — climate change.

According to research published earlier this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, people of color are exposed to higher levels of air pollution than what would be expected based on their own rates of consumption (a contributor to emissions). The PNAS study found that non-white Hispanics breathe in 63 percent more air pollution than caused by their own consumption, while black people are exposed to about 56 percent more than they cause. As for white Americans, the study found they breathe in 17 percent less air pollution than they cause.

“The approach we establish in this study could be extended to other pollutants, locations, and groupings of people,” said study co-author Julian Marshall in an interview with USA Today. “When it comes to determining who causes air pollution — and who breathes that pollution — this research is just the beginning.”

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Dear white people: We need to talk about your diet’s carbon footprint

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Look! A federal agency is pushing for urgent climate action.

It’s well-understood at this point that the Trump Administration is no friend to science-based governance. But there’s one federal agency bucking that trend.

The Bureau of Reclamation, a division of the Department of Interior, raised fresh alarm in a press release this week about the dire drought in the Southwest.

“We need action and we need it now,” said Trump appointee Brenda Burman, who runs the bureau, in the release. “We can’t afford to wait for a crisis before we implement drought contingency plans.”

Looking at the data that Burman’s agency supplied, though, it’s clear that the crisis is already here. Runoff from the Rocky Mountains into the Colorado River is expected to be just 42 percent of normal this year, which would continue a 19-year dry spell that ranks as the driest on record for the region. Such clear-eyed focus on the urgency of climate action has been almost unheard of for a Trump-era official.

“Dating back to 2000, this current period is one of the worst drought cycles over the past 1,200 plus years,” the bureau’s statement said.

It’s worth emphasizing that last point: There’s a megadrought happening right now in the United States. Over the past decade, according to the bureau’s latest numbers, the risk of reservoirs falling below critical levels has approximately tripled. And there’s “no indication the current low runoff and drought conditions will end anytime soon,” according to the agency. With this winter’s dry weather, the chances of the first official shortage on the Colorado River in U.S. history have risen to 52 percent in 2020.

The Bureau of Reclamation has responsibility for managing much of the water of the western United States, and, so far, it looks like it’s taking that responsibility seriously — using weather and climate forecasts as a primary guide.

As Grist recently reported, tensions are rising along the Colorado River as water levels plummet. The river supplies 40 million people with drinking water, and also nurtures millions of acres of some of the most productive farmland in the country. With booming populations and climate change already strangling water supply, the outlook is increasingly dire.

The way the laws governing the Colorado River are structured, Arizona is first in line for significant cuts should conservation efforts fall short. The state’s water allotment from the Colorado River would be cut by 20 percent starting in 2020, jeopardizing its economic growth. Understandably, folks there are watching what Burman has to say very closely.

The need for quickly coming to consensus on conservation is “vitally important to Arizonans,” said Thomas Buschatzke, director of the Arizona Department of Water Resources, in the bureau’s statement.

While Burman didn’t actually utter the words climate change in her comments this week, her insistence on the urgent need to ramp up conservation is in line with the overwhelming scientific consensus of how climate change is expected to worsen droughts in the Southwest in coming decades.

In her confirmation hearings last year, she said, “I believe that climate change is not a hoax,” which is about as good as can be expected from anyone tied to the Trump administration these days.

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Look! A federal agency is pushing for urgent climate action.

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Reminder: Facebook Going Down Is Not A Good Reason To Call the Police

Mother Jones

Facebook suffered a brief outage today. When these kinds of things happen—and these kinds of things tend to happen—the key is to not lose your head. Don’t panic. Stretch your legs. Go for a walk. Check out Twitter. Check out Tumblr. Check out the real world. Whatever you do, don’t call the police.

Just remember: You’re going to get through this.

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Reminder: Facebook Going Down Is Not A Good Reason To Call the Police

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The Italian Job: How the Pentagon Is Creating a New European Launchpad for US Wars

Mother Jones

This story first appeared on the TomDispatch website.

The Pentagon has spent the last two decades plowing hundreds of millions of tax dollars into military bases in Italy, turning the country into an increasingly important center for US military power. Especially since the start of the Global War on Terror in 2001, the military has been shifting its European center of gravity south from Germany, where the overwhelming majority of US forces in the region have been stationed since the end of World War II. In the process, the Pentagon has turned the Italian peninsula into a launching pad for future wars in Africa, the Middle East, and beyond.

At bases in Naples, Aviano, Sicily, Pisa, and Vicenza, among others, the military has spent more than $2 billion on construction alone since the end of the Cold War—and that figure doesn’t include billions more on classified construction projects and everyday operating and personnel costs. While the number of troops in Germany has fallen from 250,000 when the Soviet Union collapsed to about 50,000 today, the roughly 13,000 US troops (plus 16,000 family members) stationed in Italy match the numbers at the height of the Cold War. That, in turn, means that the percentage of US forces in Europe based in Italy has tripled since 1991 from around 5% to more than 15%.

Last month, I had a chance to visit the newest US base in Italy, a three-month-old garrison in Vicenza, near Venice. Home to a rapid reaction intervention force, the 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), and the Army’s component of the US Africa Command (AFRICOM), the base extends for a mile, north to south, dwarfing everything else in the small city. In fact, at over 145 acres, the base is almost exactly the size of Washington’s National Mall or the equivalent of around 110 American football fields. The price tag for the base and related construction in a city that already hosted at least six installations: upwards of $600 million since fiscal year 2007.

There are still more bases, and so more US military spending, in Germany than in any other foreign country (save, until recently, Afghanistan). Nonetheless, Italy has grown increasingly important as the Pentagon works to change the make-up of its global collection of 800 or more bases abroad, generally shifting its basing focus south and east from Europe’s center. Base expert Alexander Cooley explains: “US defense officials acknowledge that Italy’s strategic positioning on the Mediterranean and near North Africa, the Italian military’s antiterrorism doctrine, as well as the country’s favorable political disposition toward US forces are important factors in the Pentagon’s decision to retain” a large base and troop presence there. About the only people who have been paying attention to this build-up are the Italians in local opposition movements like those in Vicenza who are concerned that their city will become a platform for future US wars.

Base Building

Most tourists think of Italy as the land of Renaissance art, Roman antiquities, and of course great pizza, pasta, and wine. Few think of it as a land of US bases. But Italy’s 59 Pentagon-identified “base sites” top that of any country except Germany (179), Japan (103), Afghanistan (100 and declining), and South Korea (89).

Publicly, US officials say there are no US military bases in Italy. They insist that our garrisons, with all their infrastructure, equipment, and weaponry, are simply guests on what officially remain “Italian” bases designated for NATO use. Of course, everyone knows that this is largely a legal nicety.

No one visiting the new base in Vicenza could doubt that it’s a US installation all the way. The garrison occupies a former Italian air force base called Dal Molin. (In late 2011, Italian officials rebranded it “Caserma Del Din,” evidently to try to shed memories of the massive opposition the base has generated.) From the outside, it might be mistaken for a giant hospital complex or a university campus. Thirty one box-like peach-and-cream-colored buildings with light red rooftops dominate the horizon with only the foothills of the Southern Alps as a backdrop. A chain link fence topped by razor wire surrounds the perimeter, with green mesh screens obscuring views into the base.

If you manage to get inside, however, you find two barracks for up to 600 soldiers each. (Off base, the Army is contracting to lease up to 240 newly built homes in surrounding communities.) Two six-floor parking garages that can hold 850 vehicles, and a series of large office complexes, some small training areas, including an indoor shooting range still under construction, as well as a gym with a heated swimming pool, a “Warrior Zone” entertainment center, a small PX, an Italian-style café, and a large dining facility. These amenities are actually rather modest for a large US base. Most of the newly built or upgraded housing, schools, medical facilities, shopping, and other amenities for soldiers and their families are across town on Viale della Pace (Peace Boulevard) at the Caserma Ederle base and at the nearby Villaggio della Pace (Peace Village).

A Pentagon Spending Spree

Beyond Vicenza, the military has been spending mightily to upgrade its Italian bases. Until the early 1990s, the US air base at Aviano, northeast of Vicenza, was a small site known as “Sleepy Hollow.” Beginning with the transfer of F-16s from Spain in 1992, the Air Force turned it into a major staging area for every significant wartime operation since the first Gulf War. In the process, it has spent at least $610 million on more than 300 construction projects (Washington convinced NATO to provide more than half these funds, and Italy ceded 210 acres of land for free.) Beyond these “Aviano 2000” projects, the Air Force has spent an additional $115 million on construction since fiscal year 2004.

Not to be outdone, the Navy laid out more than $300 million beginning in 1996 to construct a major new operations base at the Naples airport. Nearby, it has a 30-year lease on an estimated $400 million “support site” that looks like a big-box shopping mall surrounded by expansive, well-manicured lawns. (The base is located in the Neapolitan mafia’s heartland and was built by a company that has been linked to the Camorra.) In 2005, the Navy moved its European headquarters from London to Naples as it shifted its attention from the North Atlantic to Africa, the Middle East, and the Black Sea. With the creation of AFRICOM, whose main headquarters remain in Germany, Naples is now home to a combined US Naval Forces Europe-US Naval Forces Africa. Tellingly, its website prominently displays the time in Naples, Djibouti, Liberia, and Bulgaria.

Meanwhile, Sicily has become increasingly significant in the Global War on Terror era, as the Pentagon has been turning it into a major node of US military operations for Africa, which is less than 100 miles away across the Mediterranean. Since fiscal year 2001, the Pentagon has spent more on construction at the Sigonella Naval Air Station—almost $300 million—than at any Italian base other than Vicenza. Now the second busiest naval air station in Europe, Sigonella was first used to launch Global Hawk surveillance drones in 2002. In 2008, US and Italian officials signed a secret agreement formally permitting the basing of drones there. Since then, the Pentagon has put out at least $31 million to build a Global Hawk maintenance and operations complex. The drones provide the foundation for NATO’s $1.7 billion Alliance Ground Surveillance system, which gives NATO surveillance capabilities as far as 10,000 miles from Sigonella.

Beginning in 2003, “Joint Task Force Aztec Silence” has used P-3 surveillance planes based at Sigonella to monitor insurgent groups in North and West Africa. And since 2011, AFRICOM has deployed a task force of around 180 marines and two aircraft to the base to provide counterterrorism training to African military personnel in Botswana, Liberia, Djibouti, Burundi, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Tunisia, and Senegal.

Sigonella also hosts one of three Global Broadcast Service satellite communications facilities and will soon be home to a NATO Joint Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance deployment base and a data analysis and training center. In June, a US Senate subcommittee recommended moving special operations forces and CV-22 Ospreys from Britain to Sicily, since “Sigonella has become a key launch pad for missions related to Libya, and given the ongoing turmoil in that nation as well as the emergence of terrorist training activities in northern Africa.” In nearby Niscemi, the Navy hopes to build an ultra high frequency satellite communications installation, despite growing opposition from Sicilians and other Italians concerned about the effects of the station and its electromagnetic radiation on humans and a surrounding nature reserve.

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The Italian Job: How the Pentagon Is Creating a New European Launchpad for US Wars

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Obama Is Actually the Third President to Install Solar Panels at the White House

Photo: AgnosticPreachersKid

While the Obamas are away on vacation this week, ABC reports, their famous residence will be outfitted with energy-saving solar panels. But this is actually the third time that a sitting president has had solar panels installed on White House. In the past, however, solar installations at the presidential mansion have been met with less support—and less fanfare.

Jimmy Carter was ahead of the times. In 1977, he declared that the country was entering an energy crisis. To set a good example, he set about installing 32 solar panels on the White House in 1979. Carter declared that, “a generation from now, this solar heater can either be a curiosity, a museum piece, an example of a road not taken, or it can be a small part of one of the greatest and most exciting adventures ever undertaken by the American people; harnessing the power of the Sun to enrich our lives as we move away from our crippling dependence on foreign oil.” 

When Ronald Reagan took office, however, he promptly stripped the residency of its recently installed solar panels: his chief of staff reportedly thought the panels were “a joke,” says the Washington Post. Ten years later, those downtrodden panels were given a second though less glamorous chance at life, this time at Maine Unity College’s cafeteria.

In 2003, George W. Bush, seemingly acting out of character, brought solar back to the White House. American City and Country reported on the development a decade ago:

The National Park Service, which manages the White House complex, installed a nine kilowatt, rooftop solar electric or photovoltaic system, as well as two solar thermal systems that heat water used on the premises.

Two solar thermal systems, one to heat the pool and spa and one to provide domestic hot water, were also installed.

“With solar systems popping up on homes, businesses and farms across the country, it’s most appropriate to have solar providing energy for America’s most recognizable home,” said Glenn Hamer, executive director at the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).

With the Obama administration’s latest additions, the White House will increase its solar capacity with 20 to 50 new panels, USA Today reports. The administration added that the installation should pay for itself within eight years.

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Mine Deal Puts New Scrutiny on China’s State Industries


Warhammer Battlefields: Lustria – Games Workshop

The jungles of Lustria ring with the sound of battle as the Lizardmen march to war. This product details a two player Warhammer campaign set in the steamy wilds of Lustria, allowing you to battle against a friend across the tabletop. It also includes digital campaign tracker, so you can mark your progress toward victory.

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Merle’s Door – Ted Kerasote

Now including a wonderful new photo insert chronicling Merle’s life, this national bestseller explores the relationship between humans and dogs. How would dogs live if they were free? Would they stay with their human friends? Merle and Ted found each other in the Utah desert— Merle was living wild and Ted was looking for a pup to keep him company. As their b […]

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Warhammer: Lizardmen – Games Workshop

Long before the rise of the new races, the Lizardmen ruled supreme. Alien, enigmatic, and without mercy, the Lizardmen will stop at nothing to restore order to a chaotic world. It is what they were made to do. After long ages of fighting to preserve their ancient civilization, the Lizardmen now seek to conquer, fully enacting the unfinished plans of their lo […]

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The Honest Life – Jessica Alba

As a new mom, Jessica Alba wanted to create the safest, healthiest environment for her family. But she was frustrated by the lack of trustworthy information on how to live healthier and cleaner—delivered in a way that a busy mom could act on without going to extremes. In 2012, with serial entrepreneur Brian Lee and environmental advocate Christopher Gavigan, […]

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Warhammer Battlefields: Border Wars – Games Workshop

Races clash endlessly across the battlefields of the Warhammer world, fighting bloody skirmishes to expand their domains and repel invaders. Border Wars is a two player Warhammer campaign that can be set anywhere in the war-torn Warhammer World. It allows players to use any armies they choose in a series of linked battles, charting a bitter war between rival […]

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How to Paint Citadel Miniatures: Lizardmen – Games Workshop

Brightly coloured scales, tarnished golden weapons and yellowed claws are all distinctive visuals of the Lizardmen army. From the markings denoting specific spawnings to the icons of the ancient Slann cities, each Lizardmen force has a unique appearance. This product contains eleven painting guides for a wide variety of Lizardmen Citadel Miniatures, includin […]

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Warhammer 40,000: The Rules – Games Workshop

There is no time for peace. No respite. No forgiveness. There is only WAR. In the nightmare future of the 41st Millennium, Mankind teeters upon the brink of destruction. The galaxy-spanning Imperium of Man is beset on all sides by ravening aliens and threatened from within by Warp-spawned entities and heretical plots. Only the strength of the immortal […]

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Dogtripping – David Rosenfelt

David Rosenfelt’s Dogtripping is moving and funny account of a cross-country move from California to Maine, and the beginnings of a dog rescue foundation When mystery writer David Rosenfelt and his family moved from Southern California to Maine, he thought he had prepared for everything. They had mapped the route, brought three […]

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How to Raise the Perfect Dog – Cesar Millan & Melissa Jo Peltier

From the bestselling author and star of National Geographic Channel’s Dog Whisperer , the only resource you’ll need for raising a happy, healthy dog. For the millions of people every year who consider bringing a puppy into their lives–as well as those who have already brought a dog home–Cesar Millan, the preeminent dog behavior expert, says, “Yes, […]

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Farsight Enclaves – A Codex: Tau Empire Supplement – Games Workshop

Commander Farsight was once hailed by every Tau caste as a genius warrior-leader without compare. As his career blazed a bloody path across the Damocles Gulf and back again, O’Shovah split away from the Tau Empire, doggedly pursuing the Orks that had killed so many of his Fire caste comrades. It was the first overt sign of a rebellion that was to change the […]

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Mine Deal Puts New Scrutiny on China’s State Industries

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Tom’s Kitchen: Raw Root-Veggie Slaw

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In most areas of the country, late March is one of those awkward times to shop at the farmers market. Glamorous spring vegetables like asparagus and artichokes aren’t in yet; winter staples like beets, carrots, and radishes are still coming out, but you’re starting to get bored of them. That’s the exact situation now playing out in Central Texas, with the added annoyance that my favorite veggies of all, leafy greens, are already on the way out, laid low by the fast-warming weather.

Even so, I was able to coax a fresh, fun dish out of what was abundant at the farmers market: beets, kohlrabi (a bulbous relative of broccoli, cabbage, and the rest of the brassica family), carrots, and spring onions. What inspired me was a gadget that has been stuck on a low shelf of my kitchen, unused, for years: a mandoline. I had always thought of mandolines as fancy devices that I would never be able to afford. When my mom gave me this inexpensive, plastic Japanese-brand model as a gift a few years ago, I never got around to trying it out. As an experiment, I decided to subject my market bounty to its razor-sharp blades, and came away impressed: a zippy, crunchy salad that tasted like spring on a salad plate, not winter warmed over.

You can make a very similar, slightly less attractive salad by simply grating the veggies, or slicing them as thinly as possible. Use any combo of winter veggies—except, of course, for ones that really need to be cooked to be enjoyed, like potatoes. The combo I used brought together sweet (carrots), earthiness (beets), and spice (kohlrabi), as well as a great clash of colors. A radish or two would also have been nice. It’s also important to brighten the dish with plenty of herbs—parsley and mint work great—as well as a tart dressing.

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Mother Jones
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Tom’s Kitchen: Raw Root-Veggie Slaw

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The FastDiet – Michael Mosley & Mimi Spencer


The FastDiet

Lose Weight, Stay Healthy, and Live Longer with the Simple Secret of Intermittent Fasting

Michael Mosley & Mimi Spencer

Genre: Health & Fitness

Price: $10.99

Publish Date: February 26, 2013

Publisher: Atria Books

Seller: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc.

The official US edition of the international bestseller—containing US measurements and a month's worth of meals in color. Is it possible to eat normally, five days a week, and become slimmer and healthier as a result? Simple answer: yes. You just limit your calorie intake for two nonconsecutive days each week—500 calories for women, 600 for men. You’ll lose weight quickly and effortlessly with the FastDiet. Scientific trials of intermittent fasters have shown that it will not only help the pounds fly off, but also reduce your risk of a range of diseases from diabetes to cardiovascular disease and even cancer. “The scientific evidence is strong that intermittent fasting can improve health,” says Dr. Mark Mattson, Chief of the Laboratory of Neurosciences, National Institute on Aging, and Professor of Neuroscience, Johns Hopkins University. This book brings together the results of new, groundbreaking research to create a dietary program that can be incorporated into your busy daily life, featuring: • Forty 500- and 600-calorie meals that are quick and easy to make • 8 pages of photos that show you what a typical “fasting meal” looks like • The cutting-edge science behind the program • A calorie counter that makes dieting easy • And much more. Far from being just another fad, the FastDiet is a radical new way of thinking about food, a lifestyle choice that could transform your health. This is your indispensable guide to simple and effective weight loss, without fuss or the need to endlessly deprive yourself.

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The FastDiet – Michael Mosley & Mimi Spencer

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Pope Francis Vs. Black Francis

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Yesterday’s selection of Pope Francis got me wondering: How does the new Holy Father compare against indie rock godfather and former Pixies frontman Black Francis?

Pope Francis
Black Francis

St. Francis of Assisi
Name his dad wanted to give his next son

Means of elevation to current status
College of cardinals
College radio

Mass attendance
Dropped out of UMass

Animal lover cred
Named after patron saint of animals

Named Doolittle after man who talked to animals

Spanish skills

Controversy involving B/breeders
Says only straight people should be able to get married or adopt kids
More critical acclaim for Kim Deal’s post-Pixies work

Believes God is number…

1.2 billion Catholics
Backing band called The Catholics

Mother Jones
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Pope Francis Vs. Black Francis

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Compost Council Launches Site That Connects Buyers and Sellers

Locally sourced compost is at the center of’s model. Photo: Flickr

In the last few years, composting has become a profitable business. You can buy compost from big box stores, but one organization thinks the best compost for your backyard comes from your neighbor’s.

That’s why the U.S. Composting Council has launched, a site that connects compost buyers with sellers in their own neighborhood via an interactive map, which highlights sellers in your zip code within a 125 mile radius.

Both small scale consumers and “prosumers,” like landscapers, nursery workers and other industry professional can use the site to locate healthy, local compost.

Sellers have also committed to donating compost to community gardens all around the country. This month, the council will launch the Million Tomato Compost Campaign – an effort combined with chefs and community gardens throughout the U.S. to grow one million tomatoes using donated compost.

“The Million Tomato Compost Campaign spreads the word that compost is a key component to building the healthy soil needed to grow sustainable, local food that helps build healthy communities,” the council says on its website.

Many chefs have agreed to help educate their communities, including schools and nonprofits, on how to grow their own sustainable food. Chef Nathan Lyon, host of Discovery Health’s local food-focused A Lyon in the Kitchen, will act as the face of the Million Tomato campaign.

Christina Caldwell

Contributing Writer

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Compost Council Launches Site That Connects Buyers and Sellers

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