Word was out that our compost operation was starting to produce. Mom wondered whether I wanted her kitchen scraps. Our friend Marlis offered hers. It’s funny walking in through the front door with giant bags of decomposing cabbage leaves, carrot tops, and coffee grounds like they’re groceries or a new pair of shoes. But it’s becoming less weird and I’m increasingly aware of just what is getting thrown away when you’re not in a handy location.

So these days I’m bringing back all sorts of decomposables: apple cores from work, the fruity remnants of catered lunches, restaurant leftovers wrapped in my napkin. Last weekend Charlie and I manned an aid station at a trail race, and I set out a box just for compost.

But the concept didn’t catch on and at the end of the race I found myself digging through the garbage for melon rinds and banana peels. We separated out the fruit scraps and paper plates and cups, piece by piece. Incredibly there was less than a half shopping bag’s worth of actual trash for a hundred runners. Our worms couldn’t have been more delighted.

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