2020: Cinco de Mayo on Taco Tuesday. 4th of July, Halloween, Christmas, and New Year’s all to land on weekends. This year was set to be LIT! Needless to say, things have not, in fact, been lit. Unless you’re talking about a dumpster fire. However, the hard work and dedication of the folks here at Compost Fairy over the last few years have placed us, and the rest of Memphis for that matter, in the enviable position of having A LOT to celebrate.

Since COVID stopped in for an extended visit in March, our Compost Nation QUINTUPLED, and that growth shows no sign of slowing. With more people composting, we’ve created 3 more living wage jobs in the local sustainability sector. And by “we,” I mean you, Memphis. YOU created those opportunities by deciding to responsibly manage your food waste. And now (here’s the big news, y’all!), to better support this growth, we’re bringing in a new organization to expand our capacity.

Memphis, meet our new partner, Atlas Organics. The folks at Atlas and Compost Fairy have been swapping compost knowledge for the last few years. It made sense that when Memphis was ready to go REALLY big in composting operations – we’re talking industrial scale – that our friends would come help us do that.

Atlas Organics already operates 4 major facilities in the Southeast, so I guess you could say we’re bringing in the compost big guns. They know composting operations, but we know Memphis (and yeah, I know a little about composting, too). Because of that, our people aren’t going anywhere. Your driver isn’t going anywhere. Our friendly staff, who sends out your weekly reminder emails isn’t going anywhere. And I’ll still be making compost, so I’m not going anywhere either. We’re all working with the same goal in mind, and we’ll be able to do that with 10x more Memphis households and businesses.

More big news! Atlas has new programs for you. While the sticker on your bucket won’t be changing, you’ll have new options for composting. Starting in December, ALL residential subscribers will receive TWO buckets to double composting power and impact. Even better, subscribers can receive finished compost MONTHLY, instead of biannually. Isn’t that great? Check out the details:

New Benefits for All Residential Subscribers

  • DOUBLE the Impact! You will get TWO 4-gallon buckets, instead of one.
  • Finished Compost EVERY MONTH. You may request TWO 4-gallon buckets of finished compost.
  • If you choose to wait and receive your finished compost when you need it, no worries, you can do that too. We’ll keep tabs on how much you accumulate – a “compost credit,” if you will. We will deliver one month’s compost credit at a time, but feel free to request compost several weeks in a row to use your credits.

New Residential Pricing

  • Self-Service Drop-Off – $15/month
  • Curbside Service, Bi-weekly Pickup (every other week) – $20/month
  • Curbside Service, Weekly Pickup – $30/month

Current curbside customers will be automatically enrolled in the weekly service plan.
Fill out this google form that will enable you to modify your service if you choose to do so.

Timeline

• Additional buckets will be deployed to residential curbside customers starting December 1, 2020.
• Your finished compost or “compost credit” availability begins on December 1, 2020.
• You will see the price adjustment on the next billing cycle that falls on or after December 1, 2020.

All of these cool changes will help Memphis scale up to our composting abilities, which basically translates to more
space, supplies and manpower. Processing more food waste means we’ll be delivering more back to the community, too – to your backyards, to our school gardens, to local farmers. Good compost feeds the earth.  We are closing the carbon gap and healing the soil, on top of diverting literal tons more waste away from landfills.

That’s real impact, Memphis. If we can fix food, we can fix everything else.

This last bit is a love letter to all of the other Fairies out there in Memphis. Even though I am the original Compost Fairy, it would be closer to the truth to say that I am A Compost Fairy, because we are many.

To the early adopters that committed to being the first people in the history of Memphis to participate in a residential curbside compost collection program: y’all are legends.
Continue to lead us…

To the restaurants that let us figure out how we were going to serve them after they agreed to work with us:
You are my heroes.

To the neighbors who have never complained and, somehow, don’t find it strange to see folks driving up to my house (AKA the office) at all hours of the day to pick up bags of compost on my porch:
You have the patience of Job, thank you!

Special shout-out of gratitude to you true believers of the Compost Nation that volunteered with us on Saturday mornings when we were turning compost by hand with pitchforks and shovels:
That’s a special kind of love. For real.

To our partners in the nonprofit community and in local government with whom we’ve built a powerful and potent food-waste-diverting, soil building, public-health-improving, regenerative-agriculture-enabling organism:
Hold our beer. This town will never be the same. I’m so excited to be at your side to see what happens next.

Lastly, to my friends, loved ones, and comrades-in-arms, the tireless board of directors and staff of the Compost Fairy:
We built an industrial scale composting facility from nothing. Literally. You have given your skills, your creativity, your big brains, your beautiful green hearts and many THOUSANDS of hours of blood, sweat and tears to this project and to this city. Whether they know it or not, every Memphian – present and future – owes you a tremendous debt of gratitude. Our world will be a better place because of your commitment, dedication and sacrifice.

We can do it – one bucket at a time (or two!).

I’ll leave you with this last piece of inspiration. This little girl made my 2020. Below is the story recently printed in Edible Memphis that captures the perfect proof of our impact in Memphis.

On a recent stop at an apartment complex in north Midtown, a girl—maybe four years old, wearing Buddy Holly-style glasses and a ridiculously cute white frilly princess dress—cautiously approached me while I was swapping out the compost cart for her building. Holding tight to her momma’s hand, she tentatively asked, “Are you the Compost Fairy?”

“I sure am!” I replied. I asked her for her name, and she answered quickly. She was much more eager to get her next question in: “Why do they call you the Compost Fairy?”  

“I’m kind of like the Tooth Fairy,” I told her. “Because, like her, I take something a lot of people might think is worthless, like a tooth, and turn it into money! Only, I take your banana peels and the leftover spaghetti and meatballs that stayed in the fridge too long and turn it into super plant food for your mom, so you guys can grow those pretty tomatoes.” I pointed to a small container garden tucked between parking spaces on their lot. We fairies had filled those containers with compost earlier this spring. It now hosted a handsome crop of tomatoes, beans, peppers, and wildflowers of every color. The little girl looked at the garden, then looked at the cart full of food waste on my trailer, then back again. She screwed up her little face for a few heartbeats, and then I watched her realize what this all means…

Full Article: https://www.ediblememphis.com/stories/a-note-from-the-compost-fairy

I love my job, and I love what we’re doing here. 

Thanks for helping us build this Compost Nation, one bucket at a time.

Questions?  Check out our FAQ page here.

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