Turning Waste into Black Gold

Joel takes waste and turns it into black gold!

I've known Joel English for a long time, him being my cousin both of our families grew up getting together every year and we were best friends. As we've all matured and found our place and calling it's been fun to see where similar interests and hobbies are shared and where we differ. Joel is a huge asset to NWH and attends many of the farm meetings we have and offers his insight. Joel is a thinker, strategizer, game maker, engineer, loves good food, being outdoors and is a great friend. I'm honored to have Joel as my friend and as he seeks to start up this compost service. Our website gives more info on joining the compost service. It is limited to our surrounding community (Chickamauga, St Elmo, etc.).

Click here to find out more.

What is Natural Ways Composting?

Natural Ways Composting is a completely free door to door service that picks up kitchen scraps and composts them into an organic fertilizer. It is intended to divert a large household waste stream into a place where it can be converted into a valuable resource for growing nutrient-dense local food. I refer to it as a service because it's not technically a business since I don't make any money from it.  

What made you want to get started doing what you do?

When I realized that so many people who value health and their community were discarding their food scraps into the landfill I wanted to give them an easy alternative that could help the environment instead of destroying it. 

How has starting this made you different or given you a different angle or viewpoint that you see the world or community around you?

It took a fair amount of perseverance and sacrifice to get it running. Being that it is costing me a lot money and time and I'm not getting paid for it, I have had to rethink my priorities. I have had to weigh my values of things like community, money, nature, health, service, time, and figure out which ones I am willing to give up in order to have what is more important. 

Has it changed you and made you to become better, in what ways?

I really appreciate the opportunity for change that it has offered me. Between the strength in character from the sacrifice to being able to be more sure of what I stand for, it has grown me a lot. 

You grew up in Chattanooga, do you like living here, what's the community been like for you?

Yeah, I really like Chattanooga. I don't have very much to compare it to but as far as my experience goes it is a pretty good fit for me. I love that it's a great outdoors city as well as being fairly locally minded. There are a lot people in Chattanooga that have similar value as myself.

Tell me how your faith has played a role in the way you got started or interested in composting/recycling.

Starting Natural Ways Composting has been very much connected to my faith, in fact if it wasn't for my relationship with God I would not have started it. When I was considering the idea I felt like God was urging me to trust him. I felt him nudging me to walk out on the limb and sacrifice for my community without any visible gain from it. 

Do you have a vision or long term goals for the business?

The long term vision hasn't gelled entirely yet. I can only do so much being that I have to support the whole thing out of my own pocket. I do have a few possible ideas floating around but nothing for certain. I definitely would like to get to the point where donations covered all the cost and a little extra for my time. I am mostly figuring it out as I go, trying to keep it flexible to whatever adaptions are necessary. 

I love that it’s a great outdoors city as well as being fairly locally minded.