Fifty years is a long time to try to get a point across. When Jerome Goldstein started Compost Science in 1960, the world’s soils were becoming more depleted, and the volume of organic waste being generated was growing by leaps and bounds. Why not, he asked, recycle those organic waste streams back to the soil, and replenish the nutrients and organic matter? The inaugural issue in Spring 1960 was filled with research and projects that were doing just that. So has every issue since then – and there have been hundreds.
So do people get the point? Fortunately, the answer is yes, recycling organics to build healthy soils is no longer a foreign concept. Finally, it seems, people get that. And, in fact, you don’t have to look too far to see it happening. From vacant lots in the middle of cities to farm fields in rural communities, organics are being recycled back to the soil.
So is it time to celebrate? The quick answer is a resounding yes. We have a lot to celebrate, starting with the simple fact that after 50 years of publishing (from its inception as Compost Science to its in-between name of Compost Science/Land Utilization, to the current name, BioCycle), there is no shortage of material to write about or people to consume the information. And better yet, we have an industry to provide equipment and systems, government agencies to support and oversee programs, and continually growing markets for the compost, mulches and bioenergy produced. In fact, we just heard recently that compost is the only recycled commodity that has not gone down in value these past few months!
Our 50th Anniversary Gala celebration is part of the BioCycle International Conference 2009, April 27-30 in San Diego, California at the Town & Country Hotel Resort (see pages 6-9 for details, or visit www.biocycle50.com). The theme of the Gala is a BioCycle Reunion, bringing together people who were there in the beginning and along the way since 1960, as well as those who are just starting out.
A cornerstone of the celebration is a Photo Gallery, which will be set up at the Gala and featured on the Conference website. We are gathering photos from BioCycle subscribers and advertisers that capture the last five decades of composting, organics recycling and renewable energy. While paging through the early issues, we came across the picture above in the November/December 1978 issue of Jim and Linda McNelly – then of Planet Earthworm Company in Boulder, Colorado – “sifting soil” with equipment they constructed “by cannibalizing whatever they had around.” This is an excellent example of type of photos we are requesting. Please email photos for the gallery as soon as you can to BioCycle’s art director, Doug Pinkerton (firstname.lastname@example.org) or mail them to Celeste Madtes, BioCycle, 419 State Ave., Emmaus, PA 18049. The past 50 years of experience – captured in the pages of BioCycle – have provided our generation and those to come with the essential tools and knowledge to recycle organic waste streams back to the soils. We have a lot to celebrate. Let’s get this party started.