February a month that is always short and sweet. Though as someone who celebrates their birthday in the month of February, maybe I'm biased ;) This month we composted 259 lbs of waste bringing our grand total to 2411 lbs. Not as noteworthy as last month, but I'm excited by our solid and steady growth. What will our next big goal be--3,000, 5,000, maybe even 10,000 lbs?
This month we had a new member join and multiple people reach out. As spring beckons from around the corner, I can't help but imagine growth in our future. I was also able to get Back2TheDirt a spot at the Montgomery Farmer's Market, so if you are in the area, check us out in May. I'm excited to get to interact with people one-on-one, talk about the amazing benefits of composting, and see what kinds of soil mixes and compost teas people are interested in. I was able to design and print off a sign for my booth thanks to the Cincinnati Public Library's Makerspace, such a cool space. I've also been collecting paper towel rolls and gallon jugs to package the seedlings and compost tea I plan to sell. Why buy new, when you can reuse? (However, I had someone warn me that paper-towel-roll-pots mold so I also bought some paper to roll paper pots. I'll have to update you next month on which paper-based pot wins my vote.)
Besides the exciting news, the past month has been marked by a perpetual feeling that I can never get enough done. Maybe it's the stress of two jobs or the piling paperwork of tax season and my grant report due in March. Suffice to say, I felt fully submerged in the stress and finesse of the small details of everything I needed to get done.
I had a helpful conversation with my dad, though. He asked me how I would scale up the business. I sighed, and thought about all the obstacles and impossibilities--like financing this growth."What if money wasn't an issue, what would you need to process all the food waste in Cincinnati?" I thought about it and answered, but still was not appreciating the mental exercise. My dad pushed me "If this is really as urgent of an issue as you say it is [referring to climate change and environmental degradation], you need to stop viewing this messing with some worm in your grandparent's basement." He explained that it had to be bigger than me, that I needed to engage and mobilize people. Admittedly, I have at points felt like this project of Back2TheDirt has been "little old me, keeping some worms in basement," and I don't know how I am going to encourage a compost "movement." I still feel like I am in the stages of "can I make this work?". That said, it snapped me out of running through my to-do list and reminded me to have a long term vision.
Fun Fact: The worms don't have vision. They don't have eyes and cannot see. However, they do have light sensitive cells on the outer layer of their skin that allow them to sense changes in light. This is important because worms exposed too long to light will become paralyzed and die.