Our soil needs to be repaired
In 2017 there was a bad drought in SA and I felt like if we didn't fix the problem it would happen worse in the future. So I left the country to study a Masters Degree in Water Management in Germany to try and find a solution.
As part of the degree, I lived in Germany, Vietnam and Jordan for 5 months each to experience all possible angles of water management.
I found that the soil is the most important component of the water cycle and in order to fix the water scarcity issue of SA we need to heal the soil.
At a permaculture course in Jordan I learned that healing the soil means putting organic matter back into the soil because organic matter makes the soil act like a sponge. The soil can then hold onto rainwater better and recharge our groundwater systems.
I then figured out that a business was the best model I could use to get food waste (organic matter) back into the soil through composting.
In 2019 I developed The Compost Kitchen which has the purpose of repairing SA's soil using compost made from food waste. It's been fulfilling because I've been connecting with so many people who already cared about composting but didn't have a solution for their food waste until now.
- Himkaar Singh, Founder and CEO
Food waste can heal soil
Organic waste is the most problematic waste stream because it produces methane in the landfill, and can pollute groundwater when dumped in the landfill.
One day we think we can divert all South Africa's organic waste from the landfill so that it can be properly composted, and thereby become a valuable soil conditioner.
During this journey, we aim to demonstrate Circular Economy thinking where the food waste problem is the solution for the soil problem, while educating that waste has value, so that other entrepreneurs can be inspired.
Get back vermicompost made from your food waste
We collect your organic kitchen waste, and return it to you once our hungry earthworms have transformed it into ‘vermicompost’.
Vermicompost is premium compost made by earthworms - which is the way nature intended – and will provide biology in addition to nutrients.
This is a new model of recycling - where you get something back.
Every month you will get back 2kg of of high quality vermicompost,
which you can use in your vegetable garden to grow food again. The vermicompost has all the nutrients a plant could possibly need, so all you need to do is add water and seeds and it will give you homegrown food.
Imagine when we scale and 1000s of homes are receiving the basic ingredient for growing organic food, how the food system will change! This is our way of tackling food security in South Africa, while solving the waste problem.
Receive back 2kg vermicompost to complete the organic waste cycle!
Based on integrated resource thinking
My journey into composting of organic waste was borne out of my experience with working with farmers while doing water research...During my international Msc in Integrated Water Resource Management in Germany, Vietnam and Jordan, I realised that the soil is the most important component in the water cycle.
However, that soil is being lost in urban areas without us realizing how it is affecting our water quality and quantity. Additionally, while volunteering for Green & Book Ambassadors to clean-up trash around Vietnam, I realised that waste is a serious problem.
But with my civil engineering qualification and experience, I know that waste is just resource that hasn’t reached its full potential yet. So my mission is to return soil to urban areas while reducing waste. How lucky are we that earthworms can solve both of these issues!
Composting is getting awareness
Composting is good for business, customers and the planet
Meet Himkaar Singh and the Compost Kitchen, the impact business changing the organic recycling waste game, for the planet and for their customers. The Branson Centre for Entrepreneurship is proud to support this innovative startup and the entrepreneur behind it, working together to make profit and make a difference.
The Easy Peasy guide to growing your own greens
During lockdown Singh’s compost business is on hold. “Graciously our customers have offered to continue paying during lockdown even though we won’t be able to collect their food waste. In return for this, we have given them seedlings and vermicompost so that they can grow their own food during lockdown,” he says.
Grow Back Better
Those of us who have tried to grow organic, have been tried with pests, weeds and disease. But why is it so hard? It is because we are trying to garden with habits which are not meant for us in SA, which originated about 100 years ago when gardening books from England were circulating the world.
(link is to article published on our blog because the source link continually changes).