Unbeknownst to one another until our first carpool together in 2010 to a workshop on operating your own Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), we were on a parallel journey of investigating, understanding, blogging, and striving to improve the Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia food system. Our paths merged while working on a sustainability initiative to build an edible and educational community garden on a previously vacant and weedy hillside on the University of Maryland’s College Park campus. As that piece of land, the Public Health Garden (now Community Learning Garden), took shape and flourished, we discovered our hearts, ambitions and visions were so parallel we were essentially able to double the length of our days and impacts and could likely do the same thing in cyberspace.
So we settled on the phrase and domain name “Compost To The Moon” because it represents possibility within all life cycles. The miracles of nature that produce nourishing food are often appreciated. But the possibilities of the banana peels, egg shells and apple cores – the less glamorous side of food – are often overlooked. It is in the decomposition of food, where many people see an end, that we see a beginning.
We don’t believe in waste. Not in the kitchen, in the garden, on the clock, or hidden away in a cozy, sleepy town. Far too many beautiful initiatives are taking place in the agricultural, culinary and health communities that may not be considered headline news to every organization but deserve to be highlighted and seen by all. By examining the collective system, we hope to shed light on the good, the bad, the recyclable and the compostable and continue to visit local farms, brainstorm ways to close agricultural and waste management loops, and work to grow beautiful, edible produce for all.
We started on this journey together in 2010. Since then, we have achieved many of the goals we set out for when we met at UMD. But, we’ve learned that ours is a life of constant learning, striving, and visioning. We are re-launching the blerge to tackle the next inquiries, experiments, and steps on our lifelong journey to connect with our food, environment and communities – and ourselves.
We invite you to join us on this journey – either through this website or by getting involved in a community garden, sustainable agriculture initiative, or farmers market near you. Get to know us. Get to know your farmer. Get to know your food.
About Allison: By day, Allison Tjaden is the Assistant Director for New Initiatives for the Department of Dining Services at the University of Maryland. She is also co-jammer of Batty Batches LLC. By evening and weekends she is the queen of our kitchen and planning for a farm of her own. Her gateway into the food revolution was her quest to start cooking for herself, coupled with Barbara Kingsolver’s “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle”. This personal commitment led her to consider the political, environmental, and health related issues associated with the foods we eat. She left her job in project management and IT consulting to pursue her Masters in Public Health, focusing on Environmental Health. She is determined to change the food system, promote local agriculture, and improve health wherever she goes – all while enjoying cooking and eating the rewards of her labor with friends and loved ones every day. Reach her at Allison@compost2themoon.com
About Deb: By day (and often evening and weekends) Deborah Lakowicz-Dramby is the Director of Goat Snuggles at Eco-Goats and working on the farm and garden at Willowsford, a new development in Loudon County, VA built around – and with close ties – to the production farm. Her gateway into the food revolution was either Michael Pollan’s “The Botany of Desire,” Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle,” or something Thomas Jefferson said -depending on which topic is up for discussion. While her background in journalism and media led her to found and maintain the award winning blog, Just Saying, her deep interest in the topics covered on the blog led her to enroll in (and recently become the first graduate of) a new Sustainable Agriculture program at the University of Maryland. Despite her best efforts to spend more time in the kitchen, Deb is fascinated by the history and act of cultivation and the eco-systems that make it all happen (with or without us). She is dedicated to the idea of a Pareto Optimal world and society and aims to leave all spaces better and more productive for than she finds them. Reach her at Deb@compost2themoon.com
About Your Food and Farms: Check out the incredible resource: Local Harvest. Their website allows you to find real food, farms and communities deeply engaged in the real food movement with simple zip code input.