Columbia, SC Edition
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Gardener’s Outpost: Re-Soiling the Local Community

Americans do not consciously plan to waste resources, yet nearly one-third of food is thrown away each year. A banana is not purchased with the intent of tossing it when it becomes too ripe to eat, spinach when it becomes wilted and slimy, or dairy products beyond the expiration date. Choice items are selected and placed in the cart, purchased and bagged with the intention of enjoying them within a few days or weeks. So why is so much food being carelessly discarded, why is that a problem, and how can it be solved here at the local level? Gardener’s Outpost, located at 709 Woodrow Street, in Columbia, has an answer!

    First is a lack of awareness. Going to the grocery store or market without first taking inventory of the pantry, cabinets and refrigerator immediately results in buying too much food. There is also the issue of extra food or leftovers not properly packaged to preserve freshness. These items are accidently pushed to the back of shelves and constantly overlooked, leading to stale or expired items that are eventually discarded.

    Second is a lack of education. This deficit in knowledge affects the population on several different levels and has no economic, racial or social boundaries. Our current processed, commercially prepared, convenient, microwave culture has led to confusion regarding how real food is produced and the cost from farm to table to landfill. School children are challenged when asked to identify fruits and vegetables and often think produce comes from a “store,” “drive through window” or “out of a box or bag,” not from a plant on a farm. There is a long trail of land, labor, energy, water, fertilizer, machinery and other resources used to package, prepare and transport food to be considered. Armed with nutrition education, consumers can wisely choose nutrient-dense foods with sustainable packaging to be prepared at home, protecting their health, the environment and the atmosphere.

    Third is a lack of consideration for life. Throwing away food not only wastes hard-earned money, it destroys valuable resources that cannot be replaced. Foods within landfills release methane as they decompose because there is not enough oxygen for the food to decompose normally, as it would in a garden compost. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas that is more than 25 times stronger than CO2, not to mention the damage that plastic packaging can do. Water consumption is also crucial. A large part of our food is produced in countries where water is scarce, and many people do not have access to clean water. Globally, the amount of food wasted could feed nearly four times the number of people that are hungry in the world each year.

    Gardener’s Outpost has found a viable answer to this enormous problem: Re-Soil, Columbia’s first licensed, commercial class three composter. Re-Soil collects food waste from large producers, such as supermarkets, schools and production facilities, to create an organic compost and soil mix that is safe for the environment, pure and rich. This compost offers more nutrients, greater porosity and beneficial organisms without the soluble salts often found in mushroom compost and without the herbicides found in manure composts.

    Midlands area residents are in luck because Re-Soil is easily accessible! Gardener’s Outpost is proud to be the exclusive downtown retailer carrying Re-Soil. Just one of their many services, the family-owned shop can take care of all of your needs in one stop—from seasonal advice for planting and preparing your garden, to landscaping design and installation, to safe pest control and specialized tools, all the way to harvesting and cooking your bounty! Their mission is based on the value of tithing the earth through planting, using natural and organic techniques that create beauty through the symbiotic relationship of nature. Bless the Earth and nourish your body at the same time!

For more information, call 803-252-0041 or visit 

Note: Along with being an editorial contributor, Kristi Antley is also a health coach and weight-loss program coordinator.

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