Susan Adams interviews John-Paul Maxfield from Waste Farmers
After getting fired from his data analyst job at a Denver private equity firm in 2009, John-Paul Maxfield embarked on a grandiose-sounding mission he describes as “speeding up the adoption of a new food system to feed humanity wherever we live.” For two years, his business, Waste Farmers, collected food waste from schools and restaurants and turned it into compost. Then he started producing organic potting soil made from coconut husks and so-called bio char, derived from dead trees killed by pine beetles. Though his goal is to supply rich soil to indoor farmers who will have a minimal impact on the environment, in the meantime he’s developed fortified organic dirt with names like Moonshine and Golden Ratio for cannabis growers, who accounted for three quarters of his 2016 revenue of $2.2 million. Waste Farmers has 20 employees and is certified as a B Corp. In this interview, which has been edited and condensed, Maxfield, 36, describes how he thinks pot farmers can help him realize his vision.