Composting is in his blood

Adam Martin carries on what his father started

By ANDREA BUGBEE
Special to The Recorder
Sunday, July 20, 2014
(Published in print: Monday, July 21, 2014)

GREENFIELD — Adam Martin may not say this himself, but these days it takes a renaissance man to farm dirt.

Martin, a 29-year-old Greenfield native, purchased his father’s organic compost and mulch farm in February. But turning yard waste, half-eaten school lunches, outdated grocery store produce and cardboard boxes into rich, nourishing compost isn’t easy. It’s a skill this green entrepreneur has invested a lifetime in learning.

“And we’re still learning,” Martin assured. “We’ll always be learning in this. This is just modern day farming. You just can’t survive off of cows and growing vegetables any more.”

In 1981, just a few years before Martin was born, his father, Robert Martin, purchased 90 acres in Greenfield to farm vegetables, beef cattle and other animals. Martin spent his childhood on the farm, riding alongside his father in the tractor, and later, driving the big machinery himself. “My heart was in it,” Martin said. “I didn’t even play sports. I always chose to be with my dad out working.”

During those years, what started out as sensible Yankee thrift grew into the Martin’s crop of the future: compost. In the beginning, the Martins accepted their neighbors’ yard waste, useful as mulch or compost to enrich the fields. They also shredded their neighbors’ newspapers for biodegradable animal bedding and collected school cafeteria waste to feed their pigs.

“My father is a very smart man. He’s a pioneer,” Adam Martin explained. By 1987, Robert Martin was granted one of the first composting permits in the state of Massachusetts. Today, Robert Martin has retired and Adam Martin has taken his lifelong apprenticeship to the helm, meeting the needs of landscapers, schools, restaurants and stores faced with high trash disposal rates and stricter disposal laws.

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Posted: to General News on Mon, Jul 21, 2014
Updated: Mon, Jul 21, 2014