I met with Mike Kelcourse a few years ago. He was excited about an idea he had to reduce waste in our city and turn it into a renewable source. He was passionate about the subject matter. Passion is what leaders need to succeed and Mike was filled with it.
He watched as waste from restaurants ended up in the landfills and he knew there was a better way. He didn’t stop believing in his vision and this week — after hard work, door to door educational strategies, and never giving up — Mike’s vision is a Go!
We asked Mike to share his story as we hand out a BIG WINK to him for staying the course, fighting bureaucracy, educating the community and getting buy in from all the players. This is how you change the world — never giving up! We are excited for Mike and for us! Here’s Mike’s story.
On Tuesday this week, the Jacksonville City Council approved a re-zoning and land use amendment for the first ever commercial food waste compost facility in North Florida. It was a 9 month process that took a lot of meetings and education to show city staff and city government officials about the process of a commercial compost facility.
With almost every group we met with, people had preconceptions of what they thought we were doing and what we are actually doing. That said, we had a tough road to hoe from the start and had to start at the bottom with each committee and work our way upward. Compost Jax is located in the Panama Park area; a heavy industrial area just north of the Talleyrand Port, with a residential neighborhood to the North. We walked the streets of our community and talked to neighbors about what we are proposing and how we plan to help the community. And once we educated and explained our project, we’ve had no objections to our project. The level of support we received from community neighbors and members, from city run organizations, from other private business owners, and from city council members has been overwhelming.
Compost Jax is the first ever commercial compost facility in Jacksonville that will take food waste and yard waste, that would otherwise end up in our local landfill, and turn it back into usable soil and soil amendments. We will be processing pre-consumer, source separated food waste (i.e., coffee grinds from local coffee companies, brewers waste from local breweries, bakery waste, etc…).
The results will be less food waste in our landfills, along with the finished product of an organic soil amendment that acts as a natural fertilizer. We are hoping to work through out the city to donate a lot of our finished product for community gardens in Jacksonville, starting with the community that we operate in; Panama Park.
While Compost Jax is still in the permitting process for our solid waste permit through the City of Jacksonville and DEP, we anticipate being fully operational in the next few months. Thank you for your support! Mike Kelcourse, President of Compost Jax