With $500,000 and 10 acres of land you may want to start your own Commercial Composting business.

By Laura Baverman of the Cincinnati Enquirer

Marvin Duren started composting 35 years ago because it was good for the environment

Today, he’s helping Walmart do the same.

The owner of Marvin’s Organic Gardens in Lebanon won a contract from the world’s largest retailer to compost food waste from as many as 160 of its stores in Ohio. It’s a major feat for the organic farmer, who founded the 75-acre operation in 1999 with a plan to dedicate one third of his land to composting.

Duren opened his organic farm the same day he sold his franchise of 24 local Waffle Houses. It’d been a dream since he completed a degree in agriculture from the University of Georgia in the 1970s. Organic farms have four major benefits, according to Duren: food safety, cost, results and simplicity.

He’d composted yard and animal waste in his backyard in Lebanon for years. And at one time, he collected egg shells, coffee grounds and lettuce waste from his Waffle Houses. He was forced to stop that when he learned of the permitting process required for commercial composting.

“I fed my yard with composted material and things started growing like wildfire,” he said. “It fixes lawns that are yellow and scant and it makes great material to build new flower beds.”

Duren always wanted to expand the pile. He started by seeking certification from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to collect yard and animal waste from local companies and residents. His largest source was the Lebanon Racetrack, which discards up to 300 yards of animal waste a week. Up until last fall, his pile stretched about 10 acres and included about 1 million yards of material.

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