One of the reasons I created Conscious Sedona was to be able to highlight those in our red rock community who are out there doing good in the world. Kathleen Ventura and Brock Delinski are two such people. Earlier this year, the couple started Sedona Compost, a food scrap collection service that composts your organic waste for you, helping you to reduce your carbon footprint! They will provide you with a compost bucket, make regular visits to your home, restaurant or other business, and turn your organic matter into a rich soil amendment. Then, at least once a year you’ll get a bag of nutrient dense soil to use in your own garden. The benefits of having a whole community composting their food scraps is untold. Putting food scraps back into the ground to regenerate the soil — rather than rotting or molding in your garbage bag each week, later filling up the landfill — has a huge collective beneficial effect. Added to that benefit, is the resulting rich soil amendment that is created with composted material. Anyone who knows anything about gardening knows that the health of one’s soil is of prime importance when growing nutrient dense produce. What a huge win-win for our community!
WHAT IS COMPOST?
In simplest terms, compost is decomposed organic matter. Composting is the process of recycling organic material like leaves and vegetable scraps into a rich soil amendment that contains a higher concentration of beneficial microbes than ordinary soil.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF COMPOSTING?
1. Composting is an easy way we can recycle/reduce/reuse approximately 30% of what we throw in the garbage, by taking it out of the landfill and putting it into our soil in the form of nutrients!
2. When we compost our food scraps and other compostable materials, we are reducing the amount of methane produced in landfills by about 30%. (Did you know?! Methane produced by organics decomposing anaerobically is up to 86x more damaging to the warming of the atmosphere than CO2!)
3. Composting returns valuable nutrients to the soil, improving plant growth + nutritive value, and leading to higher yields.
4. You can feel good about returning nutrients to the earth rather than letting organic food matter rot and mold in your home’s garbage bag all week!
RESIDENTIAL FOOD SCRAP COLLECTION SERVICE
With Sedona Compost’s residential collection service you will receive a 3.5-gallon collection bucket to fill up with your compostable waste. For as little as $20/month they will collect the bucket from your home and provide a fresh bucket. You don’t even need to be home for the pick-up — just leave your compost bucket on your front porch the morning of the pick-up!
BUSINESS FOOD SCRAP COLLECTION SERVICE
Now, offices, hair salons, and other places of business can decrease their carbon footprint with their premium office compost collection service. Sedona Compost provides stainless steel cans based on your business’ needs and picks them up once a week (or more).
RESTAURANT FOOD SCRAP COLLECTION SERVICE
Their restaurant food scrap collection service now supports restaurants, resorts, cafes and coffee shops in diverting food prep/pre-consumer food scraps from the landfill. Sedona Compost works with clients to plan and execute a customized strategy to fit their needs and schedule.
If you are a Sedona business or restaurant owner, please consider joining Indian Gardens, Gerardo’s, Layla’s Bakery/Cafe, the Sedona Golf Resort, and the Sedona Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau — Sedona Compost’s first commercial clients to sign up! — in leading Sedona down the path to sustainability!
WHAT IS THE INVESTMENT?
Sedona Compost offers weekly and biweekly (every other week) collection options. Biweekly is only $20/month and weekly is $38/month. You can sign up for the option that best suits your needs. Additionally, there is a $25 one-time set-up fee that covers upfront coordination costs and access to their bucket reserve so you never need to provide your own.
Sedona Compost accepts fruits, veggies, eggshells, bread, grains, pasta, coffee grounds, filters, tea-bags, nuts, and spices. (Produce does not have to be certified organic.) Meat, dairy, bones, plastic, and rubber are not acceptable items to place in your compost bucket.
AREAS OF SERVICE
Sedona Compost currently services West Sedona between Uptown and Lower Red Rock Loop Road AND the Village from Schnebly Hill Road /Route 179 to the VOC. If you are interested in their collection service and live outside of that area, please sign up here so that they can prioritize expanding service to your neighborhood.
If you live in Sedona only part of the year, you can suspend your account if you are going to be away — for a minimum of one month and up to a maximum of eight months. How convenient!
WHO IS SEDONA COMPOST?
Sedona Compost was co-founded by Brock Delinski and Kathleen Ventura. Brock is the one getting his hands in the dirt — he picks up your organic scraps every week, and also manages the compost heaps, turning your organic matter into a microbe-rich soil amendment. Kathleen is the director of marketing and customer service — she’s the one handling all of the consults for new commercial accounts, coordinating the collection route, responding to social media posts, and answering your emails.
CONSCIOUS SEDONA (CS): Hi Kathleen and Brock, thank you for sharing more about your green business vision and life in Sedona with us all. How did you two meet?
KATHLEEN + BROCK (K+B): We met in college when we were 18, believe it or not. We were friends for years before we decided that we wanted to be in a relationship with each other (that’s a cute story for another day!). We got married in Sedona in 2012 at Red Rock State Park. A couple of months after we had the wedding we quit our jobs, sold everything, and set out to travel the world. We traveled nomadically for two years and when we were ready to gently land somewhere for an extended time we both agreed on Sedona.
CS: How cool! So how long have you lived in Sedona now?
K+B: It is going on 5 years now – we moved here February 1, 2014.
CS: What would you say brought you to Sedona initially?
Kathleen: We had been traveling nomadically with no home base for two years and I was itching to start a coaching businesses. I took the first few steps of bringing on beta clients while we were on the road and it became apparent right away that having unreliable internet and always being in different time-zones was not conducive to starting this kind of business. I had decided that I’d like to be back on the American time zones and would like to try and be in one place for at least 6 months to give a real go of it. I figured we’d land in Mexico or Costa Rica and during one conversation Brock said, “What about Sedona?” and the conversation was over. What better place energetically, to start a business. We were fortunate to find an ideal place to rent for 6 months and the rest is history.
CS: What made you start Sedona Compost?
Kathleen: The first time I learned of a residential, curbside, bucket food scraps collection I was visiting my best friend in Columbus, Ohio. Before she moved there she had been living at this really cool place in Chicago that composted. After moving to Columbus she struggled to find somewhere to take her food scraps. She had recently found Compost Columbus and was raving about how great it was that they came right to her house to pick it up for her and she didn’t have to take it anywhere. I was fascinated.
Fast forward about 3 years and it’s 2017 and I’m really fired up about the fact that there are zero options for composting in Sedona. I’m fussing that I can’t believe that in a place with a perceived reputation of being this outdoor wellness mecca that we have minimal recycling options and nothing is being done about composting. As an avid environmentalist I was even more worked up to learn there are no options in Yavapai or Coconino County. Yavapai being the size of New Jersey and Coconino the second largest county in the entire country! I thought it was a travesty that all food scraps in both counties were likely ending up in the landfill. I even started toying with the idea of starting a collection service here, but the fact that we’d had location freedom for five years caused me to panic at the idea of giving that up.
Towards the end of the year I started talking much more seriously about it. Then, the stars aligned and an opportunity presented itself that we couldn’t pass up. I decided we should give it a try. If Sedona wasn’t receptive to the idea we’d know pretty quickly and at least I’d have known that I tried. Sedona Compost was born.
CS: And we are so grateful for that! How long have you actually been in business?
K+B: We launched our website on January 20th and announced our services at the Sedona Vegfest. We did our first residential collection service on February 14th.
CS: Sweet! How many clients do you have now?
K+B: At the time of this interview we have 51 residential Sedona Compost Community members, but more people join every few days!
CS: That is pretty awesome, and now you’re getting restaurants and businesses as well! What do you do with the composted soil?
K+B: We give it all back to the Sedona Compost Community members – whether they are residents or businesses. Ultimately, we’d like to create community gardens with the soil.
CS: Wow, what an amazing vision! What other things are you doing to make our community — and the greater world — a greener place?
K+B: We both eat 100% plant-based which we see as the greenest lifestyle choice we can make, being that a plant-based individual saves 1,100 gallons of water, 45 pounds of grain, 30 square feet of forested land, and 20lbs CO2 equivalent every day by not contributing to animal agriculture.
We buy as much of our food at the farmers market and always prioritize local and organic to avoid contributing to synthetic pesticide/herbicide use and cut down on transportation emissions from shipping long distances. Since buying our house, we’ve planted 28 fruit bearing trees/bushes and have a massive vegetable garden. We now only buy organic cotton clothing made with low-impact dyes because of our awareness about the GMO cotton industry and the way fast fashion pollutes the fresh water supplies, We also repair clothing we already own so it will last longer.
Locally we were are on the planning team for the 2019 Sedona Vegfest to facilitate the event achieving zero waste status, and we are a big part of the Straw Free Sedona campaign aiming to eliminate single-use plastic straws in Sedona.
CS: Thank you for caring so much about our planet and community, and living in alignment with your value system – a lot of people do care and value similar ideals but have not yet made the lifestyle shifts or sacrifices to put their value system into direct action. Having role models like yourselves visible in our community is so necessary and this is why we LOVE to feature companies like yours. Brock, what are some of your other interests aside from living a green lifestyle?
Kathleen: Brock is a long distance hiker and has completed a thru hike of the Appalachian Trail and John Muir Trail, he has also section-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail and Arizona trail. He builds custom wood furniture professionally, and took pottery classes at the Art Center for several years. He enjoys gardening and growing his own food. He is a passionate learner, almost always listening to audible books or reading about things that interest him. Oh, and he is a really good cook.
CS: What a wonderful mix of interests and talents! What about you Kathleen, what are some of your other interests?
Kathleen: Cooking is my creative outlet and hosting dinner parties is my favorite way to bring people together. I adore good documentaries and learning. I love camping and sleeping in a tent almost as much as I love the rain. I’m a full-time life and business coach for women entrepreneurs with online service-based businesses. But generally speaking, I’m interested in feminism, veganism, and environmentalism.
CS: This is partly why I love living in Sedona so much — there are so many interesting people who choose to make this sacred place their home! Getting back to Sedona Compost, what do you ultimately envision for the company?
K+B: Ultimately we envision collecting compostables from every home, every restaurant, every office break room, every resort, school and city building in the Verde Valley and Flagstaff! We are also looking to expand our services to include events very soon which means the long term vision includes every event happening in the area is composting food waste with us to increase their sustainability and minimize their carbon footprint.
There is no reason that food scraps should be going to the landfill where they will contribute to poisoning groundwater and decomposing anaerobically to produce methane gas which warms the the planet 86 times as much as CO2, when they could be turned into nutrient dense soil that can grow nutrient dense food.
We would like to build community gardens and engage residents and kids alike in growing their own food and learning together.
CS: What honorable intentions – this seriously warms my heart so much. Thank you for doing what you are doing! What is your wish list for Sedona as far as sustainability goes?
K+B: Biggest item on the wish list is an industrial composting facility so we could accept things like compostable plates, cups, cutlery, boxes, bags, and more. This would be a game-changer for Northern Arizona’s overall sustainability and waste.
CS: Yes – wow! I love your far-reaching vision. Can you share some of your favorite things about Sedona?
K+B: Our favorite things about Sedona? Where do we begin?! We love the unparalleled access to a trail system right in town. We can’t think of another place on earth with so many trailheads within city limits and accessible to residents. We love the weather, the access to local food, how dog-friendly it is, the amenities available despite being a town of less than 10,000, we love how safe it is, how kind the locals are to one another and the small town vibe of knowing the name of the cashier at the grocery store, people looking you in the eyes when they talk to you, and everyone holding doors open for one another. We love the potential there is in Sedona to innovate and create.
CS: Yes, how blessed are we all to live here?! Do you have plans to start any other businesses in Sedona anytime in the future?
Kathleen: Right now Sedona Compost and Brock Built are keeping us busy with Sedona-based businesses, but I have a dream about opening a package free bulk store.
CS: You and me, both! I’ve been dreaming of a Waste Free and Cruelty Free store in Sedona for the past two years. Maybe we should team up! Is there anything else you want to share?
K+B: Thank you so much for taking the time to interview us and to share about Sedona Compost. We are grateful to you for all that you do for Sedona!
CS: It’s absolutely my pleasure to get to know you and your business better and to be able to share that with our community. I get so much joy out of supporting local conscious businesses that are making a difference in our community and our world! With so much darkness and energetic chaos on our planet, it’s so important to put energy and focus on those lightworkers who are leading the way to a brighter future. Again, thank you for all the risks and sacrifices you make in order to live in full alignment with your vision and value system.
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