How Stephan Barron created Beaten Path Compost
In 2015, I started a community garden in Downtown Gainesville with my friend Brett. We had just graduated with a degree in Forestry and Natural Resource Conservation and were wide eyed, hopeful, and ready to change the world.
My guru at the time was an ecologist named Mike Frick, who taught me many important lessons - two being that ecology is derived from the latin roots, Oikos logia or "the study of our mother," while economy is derived from Oikos nomia meaning "the management of our mother."
We used this knowledge as the inspiration of our pursuits:
Economics at its foundation is based on our understanding and relationship to ecology, and thus the natural world around us.
This fueled our decision to use only compost along with no-till farming to grow our plants. Luckily Gainesville Compost, the compost program at the time, did some of their composting on our site in exchange for a little of it to use in our gardens. And when their program came to a halt, instead of abandoning all of their clients they let us take care of them.
For many years we would pick up food waste from just a few restaurants, and used all of the product ourselves to grow food for friends and community. At the time we didn't make enough money at it to consider it anything other than a hobby. But around 2018, right after the garden we managed had come to an end, I decided to make the composting a legitimate business and grow it into something amazing.
Since then and to this moment, the path has been winding, tumultuous, and dirty, but with the help of our Gainesville community, we are now diverting food waste from landfills more and more by the day.
In doing so, we are keeping our resources local, making ourselves more aware of what we eat and waste, and all while reducing the greenhouse gasses we produce and creating the life source for our amazing food growing community.
Whether you compost with us or on your own, we hope that you join us on this journey toward deep cultural change. The kind of change that creates the fertile soil for true sustainability and our community to grow.