Total loan: $5,000


Pittsburgh, PA, United States / Agriculture

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A loan helped me to increase production of my signature product, Garden Gold, a nutrient-rich soil amendment made by worms from discarded food waste.

Laura's story

I grew up in Castle Shannon in the South Hills, six miles away from downtown Pittsburgh, PA. For some reason, that six miles seemed like an endless voyage. As soon as I moved out on my own, I knew I needed to be in the city. Growing up in the suburbs, litter was not a huge problem. But it was present. As a child, upset by all the litter I saw on our school playground, I gathered a couple other students and went to the principal to ask if we could start a litter control group – the Trashbusters. As I dug further into environmentalism, I learned about composting. I found where I started by trying to get things in the garbage can, I now also try to keep things out of the garbage can. I am on the Clean and Green committee of my neighborhood and we go out and clean the streets every other week, plus several large clean-ups per year. Many people in my neighborhood know me for being the “Worm Lady.” I could not think of a greater honor. What I am doing is getting people talking. My belief is that once a conversation is started, people start to pay attention. The problem of climate change needs to be solved and what goes in the garbage can is the first step in remediating environmental conditions. My past entrepreneurial spirit is best summed up in the story of a young girl who made 3x5 notecards into business cards – Baby-sitting services available. I walked through my neighborhood looking for toys in yards so I could go knock on the door and meet my future clients. This is a skill that continues to serve me well in acquiring new business.