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2012 Digested

Posted by Mike 8 years, 8 months ago

Meet Mike: Mike Robe is a freelance bacterium compostium out of North Carolina. Aside from his love of all things compostable, Mike enjoys reading and writing, tennis, go-karts, and rescuing puppies from fast-moving currents. In 2003, Mike won the Compost Cup for converting 1,000lbs. of food scraps into soil in 4 minutes and 23 seconds- a time yet to be bested.

Howdy neighbor!

For those of you that haven't had the pleasure of meeting me, my name is Mike Robe. I settled in with the humans at CompostNow where I manage billions of other microbes in breaking down all those compostables you send our way. It's a dirty job, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

The guys asked me to write this up because they say I was "closest to the action" in 2012. I think the real reason is because they're still super busy collecting food scraps and talking to all of you composters. I'm ok with this because as long as they obsess over those scraps, I get to eat! This also frees up the various couches around the office, so I make an effort to sample each of them while the guys are out doing their thing.

Have you noticed the ticker reading 50,000lbs. of food scraps diverted at the top of the page? Yes, you read that right. That's the weight of 27 Smart Cars! But because we're creating soil with these food scraps, let's quantify that 50k in terms of produce. Since we can offer 50% of that 50k as nutrient-rich soil, you could use the 25,000lbs. of soil to grow 5,000 tomato plants! Multiply that by however many tomatoes grow on a single plant, and you've got alot of tomatoes! Let's say each plant yields 5 tomatoes- that's 25,000 tomatoes! And a lot of ketchup! We want to thank you BIG TIME for telling your friends and family about us! Without you spreading the word, we'd have no room to grow to support such efforts in reducing food waste. Keep it up!

Speaking of growth, we definitely wouldn't have been able to do so had we not invested in heavy machinery. I remember it like it was yesterday, but it was definitely a Tuesday sometime last October. I was following a scent I had picked up on my way to work, it was either old Nike's or new parmesan, but what I actually found was way better than both of those things- but smelled just as bad. My nose led me to Scrappy, our Dodge Sprinter, cowering in a box under an overpass. Abandoned and scared, Scrappy looked up into my beady microbial eyes, and I looked back into his wide bug-ridden windshield, and from then on we both knew that I'd exploit his talents for my own gains. A match made in heaven.

It wasn't long before Scrappy was all shiny and crisp. He ran like a charm and was very eager to make his route. The big guy is a total natural, which is great because we're haulin' some serious food scraps nowadays! We also got around to tattooing Scrappy with Matt's awesome design! I tried to convince Scrappy time and time again to get "Compost or DIE" on his back bumper, but he wouldn't even hear it. Something about it being "too much". And he says he's a rebel...psh. Here's the result:

As if a new best friend wasn't all one Mike Robe could ever want, the guys went and leased me a building too! It has a driveway and garage for Scrappy (unless I'm using it for parties), space to hold all of the compostables we collect, heat and running water for the humans- you name it, we got it. 706 Mountford is a sweet spot, not just for CompostNow, but for a slue of other startup companies here in Raleigh, NC as well. We love it here, it's very motivating.

We've had so many meet ups and made so many connections here at 706 with our Garden Partners. We've got our first event in the works with Inter-Faith Food Shuttle and Raleigh City Farm! We want to invite members from all backgrounds to see what we're up to. Our Garden Partners agree that all of you need to witness how and where your co-created soil is being put to work. You'll get to see, hear, and taste the amazing results of nutrient-rich composted soil in urban farms and community gardens. Together we can bridge the gap in the urban food cycle by giving back what we don't eat as soil to grow more tasties. This will be the beginning of many events, and we can't wait to see how our parties and engagements evolve throughout the year. Here's to going with the flow! *Here, here!*

Oh! And holy compost, Asheville is hoppin'! We are overwhelmed with how excited you all are for us to come to town- we're stoked. We really feel the love, and we're dishing it out tenfold when we finally set up shop! We need 300 wait-list sign ups to make the move into Asheville, and right now we're sitting pretty at just over half of that. We've had healthy press from Mountain Xpress, Ask Asheville, Ashevegas, and of course we noticed all of the community spotlights and shout-outs from you! But we're not there yet, and we need your help to hit 300 and beyond! Run to the tallest peak in Asheville and yell from the top of your lungs, "COMPOST NOW!!!". If that sounds too strenuous, you can always just direct your neighbors to the wait-list: compostnow.org/asheville. There are some challenges to overcome before we can launch, but we know we can do it with the support of the community. You've got this in the bag, Asheville, I can feel it.

Before we get back to 2013, we want to thank those that have had our back on all sorts of avenues that make up CompostNow and this movement. You've written blog posts for us, canvassed farmers markets and neighborhoods, talked to strangers and found friends, driven hundreds of miles and taken too many photos- all so we can be a happy and healthy people and planet. Without you, we're just a van and microbe with some guys in a garage. Thank you.

If you're reading this and are saying to yourself, "Hey! How the heck can I help spread the word about CompostNow?!", no worries! We gotcha covered- direct your passion to our inbox: thedirt@compostnow.org

Let's do this!

-Mike Robe, community manager and hungry microbe

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