By Chelsea Karnash

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – From vacant lot to…dirt factory?

It might not seem like much of an improvement, but the University City District is in the process of transforming a vacant lot at 4308 Market Street into just that. The Dirt Factory, a new compost facility, will take trash from area residents and turn it into high-quality compost by combining it with fallen leaves from city sidewalks.

The factory will feature “Earth Tub” composters–recycled from UPenn’s large-scale composting operation–that can fit more than 3,200 lbs of waste, as well as smaller-scale systems for residential use. Initially, the finished product will be provided solely to community gardens, but eventually, compost will also be supplied to neighborhood gardeners.

And the Dirt Factory doesn’t just stop at dirt—the site will host educational events year-round, including demonstrations and discussions on related topics, and will contain on-site raised bed planters where visitors can view the literal fruits of adding compost to growing gardens.

As for the name: “The Dirt Factory” was selected from more than 86 community submissions. The winners, Stephen Metzger and Carina Giamerese, will take home the grand prize of 6 months of free compost pickup by the Pedal Coop.

Want to know more about the Factory? A grand opening event will be held on the first day of summer, June 20th, from 4 – 6 p.m., where visitors can check out the facility and enjoy live bluegrass and food and drinks from vendors like Little Baby’s Ice Cream, Dock Street Brewing and Four Worlds Bakery.

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