Composting is the managed biological process that optimizes the conditions for microbes to break down organic waste in the presence of oxygen, transforming the organic waste into a versatile soil amendment primarily used to improve soil quality.
Composting, a stream of organics recycling, is location-specific, which physically ties the process to a limited circumference. This differs from other recycling processes, where materials are shipped across oceans to be used or discarded. The enforced circumference of organics recycling has people at its center and calls for greater stewardship and communal responsibility over the management of food waste.
The result of this process is compost also known as Black Gold. As communities of colour work towards self-determination, I believe that Compost can be a useful aid in reclaiming agency over oppressive living situations. The discipline of composting and the product that it yields can serve as a testament for communities to acknowledge their potential involvement in the food cycle. Labelled as consumers, black communities if they so choose can identify themselves as producers, as agriculturalists and in so doing, access more decision-making power as to how their neighbourhoods flourish.
However, there is much work to be done to insure that organics recycling brings power to the people, and not get co-opted and green-washed by removed, capitalist interests. This is hard. Large-scale compost facilities tend to be built in struggling neighbourhoods often without consent from residents therein. Traffic increases, pollution skyrockets all at the expense of the peoples’ health.
I do believe that organics recycling can be an integral step towards Afrikan Self-determination, symbiotically balancing black gold and black power all while resisting climate change and environmental degradation.