Happy Earth Day!

Before writing this post, I did a little research on the history of Earth Day and learned that this year marks the 43rd annual Earth Day in the United States. The idea for Earth Day came from Gaylord Nelson, a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, who saw a national teach-in on the environment as a way to get environmental protection on the political agenda. Earth Day has grown tremendously since then, but still keeps an environmental focus. Today, Earth Day will be celebrated across the globe in more than 190 countries.

It sounds cliché, but at Stemilt, we strive to celebrate Earth Day every single day. My grandfather, Tom Mathison, created our sustainability and social responsibility program, Responsible Choice, back in 1989. He often said, “truth of the matter is we are just caretakers of the land and it’s our job to leave it as good as we possibly can, or better if we can.” Like many other wise words spoken by Grandpa, these have stuck with me, and many others at Stemilt. Being a steward of the environment isn’t just a good thing to do, it’s our responsibility.

Before I share tips for how you can live greener, I just have to share a quick green story from Stemilt – the story behind our World Famous Compost.

My father, Kyle Mathison, is a 4th generation farmer that’s always done things a little outside of the box. So, it really didn’t surprise anyone when he told us he was going to start a compost farm on Stemilt Hill back in 2005. Kyle’s vision for starting the compost farm was simple – feed trees with the best nutrients possible in order to grow fruit with deeper, more complex flavors. And where do the best nutrients come from? Right in our backyard, of course!

Kyle started collecting green waste from Stemilt orchards and packing plants. Instead of filling landfills, all of the leaves, stems, tree branches, rotten fruit, wood from broken pallets, and other green waste from these areas became important fuel for making his compost. A few years later, he opened a green waste recycling center in Wenatchee where community members can now dispose of green waste from their yards or businesses. Today, over 500 truckloads of green waste are regenerated into a nutrient-rich fertilizer that fuels over 1,000 acres of Stemilt apple, pear, and cherry trees! Since you can’t see it live, here’s a video of Kyle talking about why he composts which lets you see the process in action:

Don’t worry, being green doesn’t mean you have to start a huge compost farm like Kyle did! Keeping it simple and practicing the old saying “a little goes a long way” are both good to keep in mind as you strive live a bit greener today, and every day.

6 Tips for Going Green this Earth Day:

    • Start a Compost Pile: Composting your green waste is a great way to reduce the amount of trash sent to landfills, as well as create a natural fertilizer for your plants.

 

    • Recycle: If you don’t have recycling in place at home or at work, Earth Day is a great time to get started. You’ll be amazed at the trash you reduce by recycling.

 

    • Use those Reusable Bags: Skip the paper and the plastic at your grocery store and bring along those reusable bags. If you don’t have any, stock up now.

 

    • Turn off the Lights: Enjoy natural light during the day and turn off the lights when you leave a room. These little things to conserve energy add up over time.

 

    • Ignore the Print Button: On Earth Day (and whenever possible), try to reduce the amount of emails and other documents you print at work. Only printing when necessary can save a lot of paper.

 

    • Walk or Bike Places: Consider alternate transportation as you head to the store (for Stemilt apples!) or to work for the day. Burn calories and reduce your environmental impact by walking or biking to places on occasion.

 

Finally, it’s your turn to share! What “green” things are part of your daily life? What extra things will you do to make a difference on Earth Day?