WESTLOCK — Westlock County’s AltRoot is giving back to the community and sharing in their compost success over the past year by giving some of it away for free, while helping fundraise for local groups.
The community compost fundraiser is being held over three Saturdays including May 13, 20 and 27 at the Rotary Spirit Centre (RSC) and runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day.
The Westlock County based compost processing facility turns tonnes of organic materials into compost each year. That material, provided by many households in the town and county include curbside food, commercial food, leaf, yard and garden materials, non-construction wood and animal bedding materials.
Brian Wonnacott and Colby Hansen, co-owners and operators of AltRoot, were at the RSC May 13, welcoming residents and thanking town officials for their contributions to the company’s success.
“It’s to say thanks. We wouldn’t be where we are without the supports and partnerships to allow us to do what we do which is a service for the province, for the community and for the town,” said Wonnacott. “This material here probably comes from partially tens of thousands of homes and for us to make the compost, probably had an impact from thousands of people. It takes a lot of teams to be able to make this,” he said, adding the compost takes nine to 10 months to make.
He noted the event will be an annual fundraiser each spring, with funds this year being raised for the Tawatinaw Valley Freeriders Ski club (May 13 and 20) and the Clyde 4-H Club (May 27). In addition, AltRoot wants to educate the public on the importance of composting and how it is used. “Part of the education we want to do more of is to bridge the gap of where our food comes from and have a discussion on food waste, organic waste. It’s one of the largest sources of methane emissions in the world — about 30 to 40 per cent of it is wasted so it’s an important topic,” explained Wonnacott.
Hansen, a county farmer, said the fundraiser also helps highlight the importance of composting for youth in groups like 4-H clubs. “We want to teach the young kids in agriculture on the benefits of healthy soils and practices to farm sustainably,” said Hansen.
AltRoot presented mayor Ralph Leriger with a certificate May 13 to thank the town for its contribution to the compost processing facility located at the Westlock Regional Landfill in Westlock County. In 2022, the Town of Westlock provided 505 metric tonnes of organic materials, through its waste-diversion program to make compost.
“I think our community’s really lucky to have Alt Root here. They’re clearly leading the way in a new way to look after our organic waste by making high quality compost and then using it in local, regenerative agricultural projects in our region,” said Leriger. “This is how positive change happens.”