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Hidden Gems: Meet Justen Garrity of Veteran Compost

Today we’d like to introduce you to Justen Garrity.

Hi Justen, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
I grew up in Columbia, MD and left for college and the Army. When I got home from Iraq, I couldn’t find a job. So, I started to look around at sustainable business ideas and came across composting. Two-thirds of everything thrown out in Maryland is compostable – so there is a huge amount of material available to compost. Plus, finished compost helps stabilize soil, prevent erosion, and hold nutrients – all things that can help save the Bay.

I started with a bucket and a shovel in 2010 and we have grown to 25 employees operating two compost sites and a third under construction. We have bootstrapped our way up each year – slowly growing and hiring along the way. We enjoy working with great customers to help save the planet and grow healthy gardens and farms.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I think it’s tough running any type of small business these days. So, while our business is unique, our challenges are probably the same that other folks have. This is very labor and capital-intensive type of work. So, it’s been tough to find the money and the people to grow at times. But, we continue to persevere and work towards our goals.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
We create organic and all-natural compost and soil products from food scraps that we collect from local homes, offices and businesses. We are proud to be the only company in Maryland over the last decade collecting and composting food scraps. We strive to make the highest quality compost and soil blends possible – to help people have healthy gardens, lawns and farms.

We love surprises, fun facts and unexpected stories. Is there something you can share that might surprise us?
We are forgetful gardeners. Every Spring we get caught up with delivering products and forget to put our plants in the ground. So, if you think you were late planting your peppers, tomatoes, etc. – don’t worry because ours probably went in the ground after yours!

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