Friday, April 01, 2016

Local First Friday: Veteran Compost



Veteran Compost (http://www.veterancompost.com/) turns food scraps into organic compost in the Washington, DC metro area. 

A veteran-owned business, it employs other veterans and their family members. The team collects trash and food scraps from bins in both residential and commercial areas. They also work special events, composting materials for anything from small weddings to large festivals.

Veteran Farms has a 30-acre farm in Aberdeen, MD, with a farmhouse dating from the 1870s. The team uses wind power there to compost materials, and they have a large-scale vermicomposting operation in their barn, collecting castings from more than a million worms, according to their website

The business was started by Justen Garrity nearly six years ago. Garrity, who grew up in Howard County, MD, was in the Army for around 10 years. Upon returning, he noticed a demand for organic materials for soil improvement. He created Veteran Compost to meet this need and help with the landfill problem.

“We get to work with so many great people in our business,” said Garrity. “It’s a cool way to help people be more environmentally sustainable.”

Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans have a higher-than-average rate of unemployment. Also, two-thirds of the material that we throw away each year is compostable. Veteran Compost seeks to solve both of these issues. 

The business sells organic compost blends, gardening and potting mixes, seed starting mix, worm castings, and tea and coffee bags.

While it started very small, the business has been expanding largely since its inception.

“We’re always growing,” said Garrity. “We’ve been steadily hiring more employees, requiring more equipment, opening more facilities.”


About the Author 
Seema Vithlani is a junior multi-platform journalism major and French minor at the University of Maryland. This spring she is also an editorial intern for Washington Gardener Magazine.
"Local First Friday" is a weekly blog series profiling independent garden businesses in the greater Washington, DC, and Mid-Atlantic region. Washington Gardener Magazine believes strongly in supporting and sourcing from local businesses first!

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