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Whitefish woman creates successful composting business: Dirt Rich

Posted at 1:05 PM, Apr 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-20 15:05:01-04

WHITEFISH – Whitefish’s Alissa Lachance has turned her love of agriculture into a thriving composting business.

Lachance started her business, Dirt Rich, in 2015 with a friend from kindergarten.

Growing up in Whitefish, Alissa Lachance told MTN News that her love of nature and sustainable agriculture started young.

“I grew up surrounded by you know, all these mountains and Glacier National Park. I grew up at the end of the lake, not on the lake but hanging out outside most of the time,” said Lachance.

After getting degrees in sustainable agriculture and environmental science from the University of Montana, she turned her passion into a business.

Lachance partners with local businesses like Montana Coffee Traders and Glacier National Park INC to turn their food waste into finished compost.

Courtesy – MTN News

“The food waste is nitrogen, so that’s only about 18 to 20 percent of our mix. The rest is carbon or else if you just put food waste into windrows it will do nothing but rot,” explained Lachance. She said composting is a careful science.

In order to prevent the food waste from rotting, materials like straw and leaves are added to help the waste break down.

Before the compost is complete, the food waste is kept in windrows, and Lachance has to carefully checks each pile’s temperature to ensure harmful bacteria doesn’t grow.

She says that rows are turned often to regulate the temperature. From start to finish, it takes three months to get completed compost which is sold back to places like local Flathead gardens.

If you’re interested in composting with Dirt Rich, you can visit their website to find out more information.

Right now, a single-family home is around $30 a month to compost with Dirt Rich. Lachance will pick up a household’s compost and drop the resulting compost back in the spring.

Currently, Dirt Rich is completely sold out of their spring compost batch. The summer batch is in its final stages.

Lachance asks folks to email to reserve their summer compost.

-Reported by Maren Siu/MTN News