This month SocialVentures had the honor of sitting down with one of the brilliant minds that was a SEA Change Finalist – Alexander Clemetson from Together We Compost! Hear more about Clemetson’s story first-hand, the dream behind the business, and his hope for the future to make the Columbus community and world a better, more socially-conscious place.
Heide Rembold: Can you give me a little bit of background on yourself? What is your experience with the social enterprise space?
Alexander Clemetson: I am an Afro-Eco Theologian who is passionate about community, food systems, and food access. I have done work in community building and find this business to be a continuation of that work. This is the second social enterprise I have been part of starting in the last few years, and I am excited about the direction this business is headed!
HR: What was the idea and inspiration behind Together We Compost?
AC: I have been dreaming out the vision of Together we Compost since 2019 and took part in a venture called the Culture Market in 2020. When that did not work out as planned, I shifted at the beginning of 2021 to bring Together We Compost to life. In this discovery process, the ultimate goal has been to build up businesses that are community-driven. The inspiration of TWC is to develop an easy daily practice that both impacts the planet and community on a variety of levels. Our impact is measured in the food waste diverted from the landfill, employment opportunities provided to those with barriers to entering the workforce, and education we can provide.
HR: How does Together We Compost work? What makes it a social enterprise?
AC: We offer home and business food waste collection services, on-site compost management, and event-based services. For households, we use a 5-gallon bin model where members can add their food waste for us to pick-up weekly or bi-weekly with non-contact pick-up services. Our mission is to ensure that members of the BIPOC community are afforded the same access to impactful resources and education opportunities.
HR: What are some things you’ve accomplished with Together We Compost thus far? (i.e. SEA Change definitely counts as one of them!)
AC: Some of our accomplishments to date include being a SEA Change Award winner in which we received $25,000 and a variety of in-kind donations. We have also expanded our partnerships to three farms, our member list is growing, and we are expanding business partnerships with restaurants such as Chapman’s.
HR: Where do you see the future of the Together We Compost going? What are your biggest visions, hopes, and dreams?
AC: In the future I see Together We Compost being a Franklin County wide service that is offered alongside trash and recycling. The development of such a partnership will coincide with the development of a processing center that demonstrates the need for changing compost zoning codes in Columbus, which creates more employment opportunities and community resources through the diversion of food waste.
To learn more about Together We Compost and to support their mission, visit twcompost.squarespace.com.
Founded in 2014, SocialVentures is a non-profit organization that advances remarkably good businesses—businesses that intentionally integrate social impact as a non-negotiable component of their business model. To contact SocialVentures, send an email to [email protected] or visit socialventurescbus.com.
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