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Highlands Environmental Group Reproduce The Spirit of The Soil

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The book is a reproduction detailing the self-reliance of our ancestors, Highland wisdom captured includes local growing, composting and soil fertility

A Highlands environmental group launched a reprint of a book giving a short history of soil fertility and composting in Lochaber last week.

Lochaber Environmental Group (LEG) released The Spirit of the Soil on Friday, 31 March with a gathering at the Highland Bookshop in Fort William.

The book, commissioned by LEG and written by John Wombell was originally published in 2003, and focuses on how our ancestors managed when self-reliance was a matter of survival.

Lochaber Environmental Group is part of the Highland Community Waste Partnership, which is led and driven by eight established community groups across the Highlands and is coordinated by environmental charity Keep Scotland Beautiful.

Funded by The National Lottery, the HCWP brings the partners together to scale up action on waste prevention and reduction in the region and promoting more sustainable consumption overall.

Each partner brings their own experience and expertise to the table, with main areas of focus including reducing food waste, packaging and single-use items and promoting sharing and repairing instead of buying new, as well as raising awareness of how the way that we consume – make, use and discard goods – contributes to the climate emergency.

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 the carbon impact of food waste and Lochaber Environmental Group has been promoting the take up of home composting for over 25 years.

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

“We were delighted to launch the release of The Spirit of the Soil recently and I’d like to thank everyone who attended the launch.

“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, food wasted costs not only people’s pockets, but the planet too, making sustainable food production is an 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, HCWPartnership Coordinator at Keep Scotland Beautiful, 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.”

If you’re interested to learn more about composting, you can also attend the first FREE HCWP online composting workshop with LEG on 4 April.

Sign up here: https://www.keepscotlandbeautiful.org/highland-community-waste-partnership/events/#online

The book will be available in select bookstores.

For more information on the Highland Community Waste Partnership or to order a copy visit https://www.keepscotlandbeautiful.org/highlandcommunitywaste

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