I have always been a bit of a greenie. Even though I have lived in the Nicola Valley for over 25 years, my kids tease me that it is my Island roots that give me this edge. Maybe so, but lots of people that were born and raised here share similar views.

Some of us were instrumental in setting up the first recycling facility back in the late 80’s when we held collection days and sorted through tons of material, trying to divert it from the landfills. We have come a long way! Twenty years later we can recycle any day we want, people regularly use cloth bags, there’s a Farmers’ Market, Footprints Harvest and folks trying to revive the Community Garden (leave your name at City Hall if you are interested in getting involved). All these initiatives are encouraging and full of hope.

I took an ecology class at NVIT and we had to track our ecological footprint. I learned so much about how I live! Go to www.myfootprint.org for a mini version. I struggled through my assignments and was shocked at how much we (humans) consume and specifically how much we (as a family) consumed. I try to be mindful of the choices I make as a consumer. I tried to raise my boys asking questions about their buying choices. At the same time I believe it is our job to give our children hope for the earth and for me that means being a part of the solution and reducing my ecological footprint when I can.

One of the main ways to reduce our footprint is with the food we eat. The closer we live from where our food comes from, the more positive impact we have on the planet. This is one reason that gardening is important to me. Compost is the key ingredient that changes a mediocre plot into an abundantly producing garden. Incorporating compost into existing beds will increase the yields and health of plants. A general estimate is that one 4×4 foot garden plot will produce enough food for one person over the growing season, double that if you want to preserve some. That is fairly manageable for many of us. Adding up to one third compost to your growing mix will ensure your success.

If growing some of your food is not appealing or not an option, there is excellent food grown in our surrounding area. Supporting local markets is another step to treading lightly and embraces our local growers and Canadian Farmers. Seek out where to find good food. Get your name on the list for the Baillie House annual strawberry fundraiser. These come from the Fraser Valley, ready to freeze and are delicious! (Call them at 250-378-0349.)

My intention was to write a series of four articles on composting to promote our Sunshine Valley Good Earth Company and encourage the use and the benefits of compost. I guess I’ve kind of deviated and written instead about our global footprint and my passion for good local food. But then food, water and compost are all linked. They all lead to a sustainable community.

Kate Anderson – local partner of “The Good Earth Company” 250-378-9674.