From Concerto to Compost

UNT music alumna creates business to help the environment.
Written by: 
Danielle Zachariah
Lauren McMinn Clarke
Lauren McMinn Clarke ('00)

Lauren McMinn Clarke ('00) had no doubt about where she wanted to attend school. Going Mean Green was a family tradition.

She even knew that she wanted to study in UNT's College of Music and made many fond memories during her four years of college.

"I experienced so many incredible musical moments with my peers that felt like we were in the heavens," Clarke says. "It was the height of my personal musicianship in terms of performance."

"I also loved, loved, loved my other College of Music friends, and getting exposure to other genres of music. Getting to 'pop in' to a One O'Clock Lab Band rehearsal, whenever I wanted, was totally thrilling."

Lauren graduated at the beginning of the 21st century with her bachelor's in violin performance and a minor in music theory. She followed in the footsteps of her father, Don McMinn (M.S.'78, Ph.D. ' 80), and her daughter, Marin Clarke, is currently a senior majoring in environmental science.

A Change of Plans

After graduating, Lauren decided to take another direction in her professional career involving her other interests and also so she could make a difference in the world. She's launched Turn, a DFW-based composting business that she hopes will help the environment.

"Later in my life, when I became a wife and mother, I left the corporate world. I then started pursuing personal passions of cooking and gardening," Clarke says.

"I became a master gardener through Texas A&M AgriLife, that's when I started to understand the importance of compost to soil health, and how to make compost," Clarke says. "I was also attending culinary school, which is when I started to realize the larger issue of food waste. The dots started connecting on problem and solution."

Going "Mean Green"
Turn compost bucket

Turn is a subscription service that collects organic waste from customers and sends them to local farmers to use for planting and growing produce.

Not only does Lauren want her customers to feel like they're helping the environment, but she also wants them to understand how the recycling process works.

"We don't just haul waste, we are passionate about education and encouraging people to compost at home, themselves," Clarke says. "We also do a lot of work on the entire food cycle, helping people understand how to grow their own food, waste less food and compost their household organic waste."

Her business has been serving the DFW area for more than three years and has expanded their services with a sustainability shop, as well as a mobile app that will allow clients to become more engaged with their community.

Turn currently serves the Denton region at two drop-off locations, the Denton Community Market, and the Whole Foods in Highland Village. For those interested in signing up, go to www.turncompost.com, or send an email to info@turncompost.com.

Lauren believes that something as easy as composting is just one more step to living in a healthier environment.

"There are many wonderful simple things we can do to be more responsible for our environment," Clarke says. "Some are more impactful than others, but the point is that you must choose for yourself what works, what is practical."

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