Environmental

New Compost Station Opens at Old Town North Sunday Farmers Market

five people dump compost into new compost bins at old town north farmers market
Vice Mayor Jackson, Council Member Sarah Bagley, and Margaret Townsend inaugurate the new Old Town North compost Station. (All photos Grace Billups Arnold)

ALEXANDRIA, VA–On Sunday, July 17, the Old Town North Sunday Farmers Market officially opened its Compost Cab compost station. The new compost station will be a permanent fixture at this year-round market, every Sunday from 10am-2pm.

With the opening of this compost station in Old Town North, Alexandria City now officially has 5 compost stations, one for each farmers market, as part of its Eco-City Charter, and in partnership with Compost Cab.

compost cab compost tent at a farmers market
The compost bins are a partnership with Compost Cab.

Over the last several years, the City has been working with Compost Cab to open more compost stations. The new tents at the farmers markets offer citizens regular and accessible places to take their compost every week. This also draws more residents to Alexandria’s markets and, consequentially, Alexandria’s businesses.

Margaret Townsend, member of the Old Town North Alliance and NOTICe civic association, and a major proponent of the newest compost station, says, “We are thrilled, thrilled! This is 5 years of hard work on part of the community partnership, our supporters, and all of our friends and neighbors. What I expect it to do is both bring business to the farmers market but also the small and local businesses in the area, so people now know they can drop their compost while on the way to their favorite local brunch spot or so forth.”

margaret townsend of Old Town North introduces vice mayor amy jackson to speak
Margaret Townsend of the Old Town North Community Partnership and OTNAlliance and NOTICe introduces Vice Mayor Jackson.

Margaret also posits it will be a draw for developing businesses in the area. For example, Carr Companies has purchased the Montgomery Center, and has submitted its proposal for redevelopment, a design comprised of restaurant, retail, and residential space.

“During the period of transition while Carr redevelops the Montgomery Center,” Margaret continues, “I hope [the compost station] will be a promo for developers in the area, as it gives an added benefit when leasing or selling. It also gives the City a great benefit because it allows the City to continue to work with their eco-centric mission statement.”

Alexandria Vice Mayor Amy Jackson speaks into a microphone and lifts a piece of paper in the air
Vice Mayor Amy Jackson introduced the newest compost station to the Alexandria Farmers Market circuit.

During Sunday’s event, Vice Mayor Amy Jackson introduced the new compost station.

“We want to thanks the Old Town community for advocating for this very important feature,” begins the Vice Mayor. “Last fiscal year, the city’s food waste composting program at farmers markets received 150,000 pounds of food waste that went into our compost.”

a dog sniffs an item on a table at a farmers market
The Old Town North markets are dog friendly.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of pounds of food waste are collected throughout the northern Virginia region. Vice Mayor Jackson asserts, “It is a behavior we need to be teaching everyone; and we need to create policy around how we can make it easier and more convenient for our residents and businesses to be able to use this type of service.”

Regarding policy, Vice Mayor Jackson expresses hopes that one day, perhaps composting will become a curbside service alongside trash and recycling. “A lot of planning and policy goes into that,” she explains, “but it is about the future. We are excited to build on our success and proud that we will be providing this service here year round.”

alexandria city council woman sarah bagley waving and holding a personal compost bin
Council Member Sarah Bagley brought her own compost bin to empty at the new the station.

Following her remarks, Vice Mayor Jackson and council member Sarah Bagley took to the bins and contributed their own compost to the pile. Once filled, each compost bin is taken to Alexandria’s compost facility and recycled into fertile, viable soil for the city’s environment. A bin of the fresh, beautiful, pure soil was available for viewing at Sunday’s event.

Another draw to the unveiling of the Old Town North Market compost station was that the first thirty people to bring in compost received their own free compost bin.

a woman dumps a personal size bin of compost into the new larger compost station at Old Town North Farmers Market
The first 30 people to compost at the new station received a free personal compost bin.

The other compost stations across the city’s markets are located at Old Town’s Market Square, Del Ray, the West End, and Four Mile Run. Compostable produce bags are available at Trader Joe’s in Old Town North. For all other composting needs and questions, visit compostcab.com.

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