Composting turns household, government, and business waste into soil organic matter and valuable fertilizer. It is one of nature´s best mulches and soil amendments, a ready alternative to commercial fertilizer. Using compost improves soil structure, texture, and aeration plus increases the soil´s water-holding capacity. Waste that otherwise would occupy space in overflowing landfills in this way contributes to the sustainable use of urban land.
Mérida Verde´s Composting Task Force strives to educate people about the benefits of composting and to convince them it is a worthwhile endeavor. Our audiences range from school children to home and business owners to government agencies within the municipal offices of the City of Mérida, the US Consulate offices and the Cancer Hospital in Merida.
- School Programs.Since our inception, composting advocacy has been a top priority for Mérida Verde. We have taught composting to more than 1000 children in public and private schools as well as prepared exhibits for special school events.
- General Public Education and Special Events. We have participated in numerous successful events including a dozen radio talk shows, preparing and distributing much educational hand-out material, arranging for visits to composting facilities in the homes of our members, and sponsoring a successful event in a local museum.
- Free Consulting Service. One of our most exciting activities has been our volunteer consulting service. Upon request, Mérida Verde experts make home visits to help people set up a compost system. We have done this on numerous occasions. Our “clients” also include businesses and organizations, the most prestigious perhaps being the US Consulate, where we assisted them in establishing composting programs for their paper, kitchen food, and extensive yard debris.
- Mérida Verde´s Urban Agriculture Programs.Composting is essential in our urban agriculture programs as a way for turning organic matter into a compost, and harvesting rich organic matter to enrich the garden. Also, to avoid sending garbage the landfill.
- Networking/Collaboration with Other Groups/Government Agencies. We have initiated and/or participated in successful projects with numerous local groups including the International Woman´s club, the Garden Club of Campestre, the Agriculture School at Mani, Áak Ecological Park at Xcunyá, and CICY, the Yucatan Center for Scientific Investigation.
For the past two years, Mérida Verde has been participating in the City ´s Composting Project as a member of the City´s Consejo Consultivo para el Manejo de Residuos Sólidos. Though accomplishments in this area are more difficult to measure, we have voiced our agreements, as well as our concerns, and continue to do so, regarding the ongoing challenges Merida faces in solid waste management.
Our goals include continuing our prior work plus trying to greatly expand our consulting service by obtaining a grant to publicize our free service more widely.
We are also eager to expand all components of our Urban Agriculture programs, helping residents in low income neighborhoods find suitable sites for composting and farming in urban areas and ultimately forming cooperatives to sell their excess products.
More educational materials and sponsoring tours of successful residential composts are additional possibilities.