CDG and The Compost Ninja partner to create Zero-Waste event

The Mount Vernon-Lisbon Community Development Group (CDG), a Main Street Iowa organization, and The Compost Ninja, a food waste diversion service, are partnering to present the 10th Annual Mount Vernon-Lisbon Chili Cook-off  on Saturday, Oct. 15, from 4 to 7 p.m., in Uptown Mount Vernon.

The collaboration between the two groups is attempting to create the community’s first-ever Zero-Waste event.


The Compost Ninja photo courtesy of The Gazette.

The Compost Ninja will be on site throughout the day educating the public about compostable waste, and will provide compost receptacles for every chili cook-off team in addition to larger containers designated for compostable items throughout the event. The Compost Ninja will remove the biodegradable waste, where it will be taken and turned into nutrient-rich compost.

The Chili Cook-Off committee will be doing their part by purchasing biodegradable bowls, spoons and napkins that can be disposed of easily into The Compost Ninja’s buckets. In addition recyclable cans and bottles will be collected and will be recycled by the City of Mount Vernon after the event is over.

“We are thrilled to work with The Compost Ninja and attempt to try something that has never been done before in our community,” said Joe Jennison, director of Main Street and Marketing for the Mount Vernon-Lisbon Community Development Group. “If we are able to pull this off with the help of The Compost Ninja, we would love to continue this partnership for all of our 14 annual festivals and events.”

“A lot of people don’t know that the world’s largest man-made structure, superseding The Great Wall of China, is a landfill in New York. It’s so large you can see it from space” said Hanson.  “It says so much about this community, the fact they are willing to step up and be accountable. We are grateful to Mount Vernon for being the first festival in our area to work with The Compost Ninja to provide a Zero-Waste event.”

The chili cook-off contest is open to the public. The event features 25 four-person teams vying for a total of $450 in cash prizes. The cooking will take place from noon to 4 p.m., with the public invited to the tasting portion of the event from 4 to 7 p.m. Biodegradable sample chili cups are available for $1 each, or a 25-sample punch card for $20. Beer, soda and other beverages are available for purchase. Admission to the event is free.

Also scheduled is a Bags Tournament starting at 3 p.m. Those interested in signing up for the bags tournament are asked to contact Aaron Truitt at [email protected] or sign up at the event. Also new this year will be a giant Jenga game.

“This is our 10th Annual event and will be our biggest ever,” said event chair Lori Winder. “This is a great way to try chili, support a local non-profit and socialize with friends and family. Come out and help us attempt to create our first-ever Zero-Waste Chili Cookoff.”

Find the application here

Questions re: registration can be directed to [email protected]

More information is available at

About the Mount Vernon-Lisbon Community Development Group

The Mount Vernon-Lisbon Community Development Group exists to improve the social and economic well-being of Mount Vernon and Lisbon by capitalizing on their unique identity, assets and character. Mount Vernon was selected as a Main Street community in 2008, and practices economic development within the context of historic preservation.

About Main Street

The Main Street Approach is a copyrighted process of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  The Program has been used in Iowa since 1986 with a total of 56 communities having participated.  Mount Vernon was selected as a Main Street community on March 4, 2008 by the State of Iowa, after submitting a comprehensive application and presenting to a select board of reviewers.


Share This Page: