The Joy of Getting Dirty—Sunday, Feb. 3

Today was all about dirt—making it, that is. As part of the garden project, we held a composting workshop to create ‘fertilizante organica natural.” Families with an interest and need to grow some of their own food were invited to learn how to create fertile soil for the garden beds we’re building for them.

This mixture of leaves, fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds and egg shells will turn into rich soil with a bit of time, sun and moisture

I confess, I’ve taken dirt for granted. As a home gardener on a Midwest farm, I’ve never had to worry about where to find soil for my plants. Here in Cozumel, fertile soil isn’t easy to come by. The island has a wealth of sand, rock, and crushed coral but very limited topsoil. As with many things here, when you need something not readily available, you make it yourself. In keeping with the educational mission of Friends of Cozumel, we decided to learn how to make good quality garden soil.

Adrian taught us the fine points of mixing organic matter to create natural fertilizer for gardens

The volunteers had been saving their fruit skins, vegetable peels, coffee grounds and egg shells and gathered fallen leaves and blossoms in preparation for a workshop on composting. The class was led by Adrian, a local bilingual biologist with a love of the reclaim, reuse, recycle concept. Adrian repeated the information in Spanish for Antonia, Charo and Lupe who hope to grow food for their families. He mixed the organic components together for composting starter kits that we sent home with each family.

Benji (right) proudly gave us a tour of the many plants he’s growing

The compost created in the workshop will supplement soil made by Benji—a man recreating his grandmother’s Mayan lifestyle near the jungle. He grows native plants and makes soil with a mixture of livestock manure, sawdust, common dirt and leaves.

Antonia’s family is anxious to begin their new garden

When the first load of his soil was delivered to Antonia today, it was clear that the entire family was thrilled. Think about that. Joy from dirt? It’s not so unusual when you realize this can make a significant change in their lives. They’re one step closer to sustainability, and that brings us joy. ~ Phyllis from Nebraska

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