One woman is taking on composting for more than 90,000 Kamloops residents | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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One woman is taking on composting for more than 90,000 Kamloops residents

Lisa Forth often uses the finished product as fertilizer in community gardens.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK / Go Forth Composting Services
February 10, 2020 - 7:00 AM

One Kamloops woman is taking on a tough job that is usually run by municipalities - and she’s doing it out of her backyard.

She's running a private composting business because Kamloops has no other alternatives in place. 

“I’ve always really liked working for myself and having made up jobs, as me and my friends call them. But I’m really glad it has worked out. It’s really nice working for yourself, especially being a stay at home mom,” Lisa Forth says.

Forth has always been a composter, but in 2015, she began collecting compost from residents all around the city and would bring it home to turn the food waste into nutrient-rich soil.

“This is my first real business,” Forth says. “It was a whole new ball game, so I thought, ‘Why don’t I give this a try?’”

Her success so far just might inspire market solutions for many other B.C. Interior communities — very few of which have any composting services at all.

After some networking, she scored big contracts to service private buildings through her company Go Forth Composting Services. Now, she’s expanding to offer the service to all residents of the river city.

Word of her mission reached Marcia Dick, the solid waste services analyst for the City of Kamloops, and things got much more serious. Dick had a contract with B.C. Lotteries Corporation, and would collect the compost from the provincial headquarters in the city. When her time was up in 2018, she suggested Forth take on the job.

Forth continued to run her pick-up service and also took on contracts to service the Tournament Capital Centre and various City buildings. She purchased multiple joras from Dick, which hold, turn, protect and process the compost.

“I could do the BCLC stuff in my joras in my alleys, and I pick it up downtown and I live downtown so it was quite convenient,” Forth says.

Forth knew it was time to ease up on her workload after she had her second child. She stopped doing the pickup service and focused solely on her contracts, and collected and processed 11 tonnes of food waste last year alone.

“A lot of people were sad to see the service go, but I just explained how I can’t physically do it, I can’t be away from the kids and they said, ‘Well, we’ll drop it off.’ So I kept that in my mind over the past year, and then I got pregnant with twins.”

While she’s been enjoying her downtime with the kids, residents are still reaching out to her in hopes of finding some way to compost. Now that her twins are five months old and easier to care for, she’s decided to offer a weekly drop off service.

“I get probably an email a day from people saying, ‘I’ve heard of your service, I can drop it off, we’ll pay anything.’ There’s really eager people wanting to compost and I finally said, ‘You know, I think this is the year.’”

Credit: FACEBOOK / Go Forth Composting Services

Forth recognizes the large gap that is left by the lack of a municipal composting service. Although there is a yard waste compost facility at Cinnamon Ridge, there’s nowhere for residents to take their own kitchen scraps. She wants to prevent unnecessary waste from going to the landfill, and eventually offer educational sessions to schools and businesses on the benefits of composting.

“When I did an info booth at the farmers market once for the City, most people said they came from somewhere to Kamloops and were surprised we didn’t have it and know that other municipalities near us have it, so they’re like, ‘When will Kamloops get started?’ I think the conversation has been brought up more often now, so I think people are wondering what composting is and how they can do it.”

Although she believes there’s still a lot to learn, she’s got her business license and completed a level one compost operation certificate, so she knows proper food waste handling, temperature controls, and how to check the soil for acidity.

People can drop off a five-gallon bucket of food waste for $10, and exchange it for a clean one if preferred. She says a container that size takes a family of four about two weeks to fill.

The service will begin in March, and she’ll welcome food and yard waste every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Drop offs are welcomed in the alley behind her house at 785 Dominion Street, where she’ll sit nearby and play with her kids. She is expecting around 20 people on the first day but says it could jump to 50 based on the number of people she used to collect from. She says she'll hire a helper if need be.

Although it takes months to process, she doesn’t yet have any plans to sell the finished product, as it requires different business licensing. To learn more about Go Forth Composting, check out their Facebook page.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jenna Wheeler or call (250) 819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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