With less than 15% of Australia’s land arable, and with the population estimated to increase to as much as 40 million by 2050, it is imperative we repair as much land as possible to sustain increased demand on food production.
An important path to achieving this is seeking ways to bolster overall soil condition using fertilisers that produce lasting benefits.
To this end, there are myriad chemical fertilisers, natural animal product-based substances, and organic compost alternatives available to gardeners and farmers. But with increased impetus on individuals and organisations across Australia to improve their sustainability measures, it can be unclear on how to choose an approach that optimises productivity and yield. This is only intensified by the additional need to find a product that will reduce any negative impact on the environment. It doesn’t help therefore, that in an attempt to be perceived as ‘green’ by users, brands and products can seem misleadingly more sustainable than they actually are.
Thankfully,there is a transparent solution that answers the sustainability challenge twice over.
Wasted food sent to landfill is a major source of greenhouse gases. Currently, the yearly total of greenhouse gases caused by food waste in Australian landfill is equivalent to the emissions of our steel and iron ore industries combined.
When food is composted into a fertiliser, it bypasses landfill, and the nasty gases it would create are never produced. This means that by increasing the practice of composting in Australia, we both reduce our output of greenhouse gases, while also helping to improve the health of our nation’s soil.
The Eco Guardians SoilFood™ System doesn’t only help businesses divert their food waste from landfill, it is also designed for making compost from food waste to be used in improving soil condition.
The SoilFood™ System turns the recycled food waste into a slow-release organic fertiliser using an electric compost machine. The resulting output of the process can be used on both commercial and residential gardens. SoilFood™ is a slow-release, high-nitrogen organic fertiliser that is safe to use on all plants and soils. This dynamic end product is now available for purchase from South Melbourne and Prahran Markets, and is delivering great results throughout continuous scientific trials. SESL senior soil scientist Declan McDonald has tested the SoilFood™ and stated “This material has strong fertiliser value, given its high nutrient levels.”
Fertilisers provide essential nutrients to developing plants in the form of three key elements; nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. These are extremely important for good plant health in the following ways:
SoilFood™ is rich in each of these key elements, as well as a multitude of other great trace elements that support plant health and growth. But it isn’t just the solid matter created by the Soilfood™ process that can be put to good use in gardens and farms.
An added benefit or the SoilFood™ system is that the moisture that is extracted from the food scraps is recoverable and can be used for irrigating soils, further maximising the efficiency of the undertaking.
A trial was recently conducted using SoilFood™ to grow pumpkins for FareShare Food Charity, and the results were amazing. Studies show that even a small amount of SoilFood™can enhance plant growth and crop yield, with some crops increasing by over 50%. SoilFood™ - made from food recycling - is also the perfect antidote to chemical fertilisers, with its nutrients readily available to plants and long term benefits provided to the soil.
So how would the average gardener or farmer use it?
It is advised that when applying SoilFood™ the application rates of between 100g and 150g per sq meter during the growing season are typical.
Unlike composts where the nitrogen levels are usually in the order of 1%, the organic SoilFood™ has a strong fertiliser value given its elevated nutrient status. The nitrogen levels would be around 3.5%, even more with certain feedstocks to the process. This means that less material is required to provide a similar fertiliser benefit and keen farmers, gardeners, and agricultural enthusiasts can reap the rewards of a concentrated, organic solution.
The EPA NSW has the toughest rules in Australia concerning land application of products derived from food and Eco Guardians are pleased to have conformed to those and received an exemption.
Soilfood™ and other compost-based fertilisers are some of the most effective solutions on the market. This is because they reduce negative environmental consequences while improving soil health. Composting at a micro scale in the human household has been commonplace for many centuries, but there has been less done until recently to take advantage of its benefits at scale.
There is huge potential for using the Soilfood™ System in public and commercial spaces, where food is produced or consumed. It constitutes a hygienic, convenient, and low-cost way to introduce composting as a viable option in spaces where crowds of customers would previously send any organic scraps straight to landfill.
It’s a uniquely sustainable approach that is healthy for the environment, while benefiting the wider community. With the closed-loop solutions that Eco Guardians can tailor to suit all sizes and types of businesses, maximising the sustainability benefits is more convenient than ever before.
If you would like a small sample of SoilFood to try on your garden, or would like to know more about our automatic compost machines, please contact us here.