Spirit of the Soil composting guide reissued

Lochaber Environmental Group (LEG), one of the eight implementing partners of the Highland Community Waste Partnership, hosted a book launch on Friday 31 March, for The Spirit of the Soil, at the Highland Bookshop in Fort William.

The book, capturing traditional wisdom and practices relating to food growing, composting and soil health in the Highlands, is one again available thanks to the Highland Community Waste Partnership, with funding from The National Lottery.

First published in 2003, the book, written by John Womble, shows how our ancestors managed at a time when self-reliance was a matter of survival. 

Coordinated by Keep Scotland Beautiful, the Highland Community Waste Partnership promotes more sustainable consumption as a crucial part of efforts to address climate change and re-thinking waste is a key part of this.

Food waste has a particularly high carbon footprint because it releases greenhouse gases when rotting in landfill -it makes up 30% of Scotland’s household waste carbon footprint, despite making up only 18% of the waste by weight.

Composting is an important part of reducing this carbon footprint and Lochaber Environmental Group has been promoting the uptake of home composting for over 25 years.


Susan Carstairs, board member of Lochaber Environmental Group, said:

“This book was originally produced to highlight the living habits of our ancestors and, 20 years later, we can see similarities between their values and the sustainability values we are so proud of in the Highlands.

“As food prices rise, whilst food wasted costs not only people’s pockets, but the planet too, sustainable food production is as important as ever.

“I have no doubt this book will be an insightful and informative read for anyone who wishes to learn more about composting and soil fertility.”


Georgina Massouraki, Highland Community Waste Partnership Coordinator, said:

"It’s fantastic to see the reproduction of The Spirit of the Soil, a brilliant resource and handy guide that captures the wisdom of age-old sustainability values in the Highlands.

“The ethos of the Highland Community Waste Partnership is all about making the most of our resources and this book will provide anyone who reads it with insightful information and tips on how to live sustainably and the benefits of composting, within the unique environment of the Scottish Highlands.

“Food waste, as well as being wasteful and expensive, has a high carbon footprint and currently makes up 35% of an average refuse bin in the Highlands, 70% of which is avoidable or still in packaging.

“Although it is best to avoid wasting food altogether, composting it is a great way to transform it from waste with high carbon emissions, to a resource that can be used to grow more food.

“I’d like to say a huge thanks to Lochaber Environmental Group for producing this wonderful book and encourage everyone who can to pick up a copy.”

For more information about how to get a copy of the book, visit the Highland Community Waste Partnership website.

03 April 2023

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