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Vacant Lot In West Philadelphia Converted Into ‘Dirt Factory’

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By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - A lot of old Philadelphia manufacturing sites have been converted to residential use but, in West Philadelphia, the site of a torn-down row house has been turned into a factory– of sorts. A local non-profit is making dirt there.

The forlorn little lot sat derelict, between a used car dealer and the remaining row houses in the 4300 block of Market Street, until the University City District targeted it for reclamation.

What to do with it, though, was a puzzle. It had been paved over, so a garden wouldn’t work. But the District’s policy director says University City did have a need the lot could serve.

“We have a lot of people in the neighborhood who are really interested in composting their kitchen waste, especially people in apartments, say, who can’t have a back yard compost bin.”

That, combined with the abundant dead leaves the District cleans up every fall, makes soil, when properly composted, so the District purchased two large tubs– each can hold 3,000 pounds– and dubbed the lot, “The Dirt Factory.” The grand opening is this afternoon and the first load of dirt should be ready within a month.

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