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Purpose 20: Gainesville Compost

Purpose 20: Gainesville Compost

The Center for Leadership and Service at the University of Florida created the Purpose 20 Awards to honor the contributions made to Alachua County by local for-profit businesses. These 20 businesses provide invaluable cash and in-kind donations while supporting the community with efforts in environmental sustainability, serving as role models for change within the community and encouraging staff members to give their time to local causes. All of this work often goes unrecognized. The Center for Leadership and Service hopes that by recognizing these businesses, we inspire others through their example and demonstrate that business is about more than making a profit — it is also about having a purpose to build a better community.


“We all want to live a life of purpose, and creating a business model that inherently serves philanthropic and sustainability purposes is a powerful way to do as much good as possible and make the most of our lives.”
– Chris Cano, CEO

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Gainesville Compost is a bicycle-powered kitchen-waste diversion and community composting service. Since opening in 2011, Gainesville Compost has partnered with local restaurants and residents to reduce food waste and repurpose kitchen scraps into soil amendments for urban agriculture. The program returns soil to a distributed network of community partners that provide space for composting on their properties. Philanthropy and sustainability are the staff’s core values because they feel personally enriched by doing work that produces a net gain for community and society. As Gainesville Compost has developed and expanded, it has sold its Gainesville-made Kanner Karts bicycle trailers to entrepreneurs in Orlando, Savannah, Traverse City (MI), New York City and Los Angeles. The company’s big plan, through an initiative called BikeCompost, is to provide tools, bike trailers and training to people starting similar programs in other communities. Gainesville Compost is fully dedicated to making Gainesville, and the world, a better place to live.

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