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Movie Theater with a Garden Connection by Susan Harris


This is my local movie theater – the Old Greenbelt. It opened in 1937 and has avoided being divided up or worse, turned into condos, because it’s owned by the city and operated as a nonprofit. It’s in the heart of town, a few blocks from my house.


The concession area recently got a facelift, so now it’s as pretty as the exterior.

I’m a member and regular customer of the Old Greenbelt, and thought I couldn’t be more of a fan. Then last month I went exploring one of the city’s community gardens for signs of life. I didn’t find much of it – mostly plots looking their worse.


February – not the garden’s best month.


Here are the only bits of color I could see, though there seemed to be more greens growing under some floating row covers.

GB YARDS15-001

But then I spotted the popcorn – in compost bins and just tossed on the ground. Turns out, there’s a whole popcorn composting program at the theater, with a line-up of volunteers to collect and distribute their unsold popcorn.


Volunteer Mary-Denise Smith bags unsold popcorn for pick-up.

I’m not sure I even knew popcorn could be composted, though a quick search of reputable sources confirms that it can, as long as it’s not drenched in flavor-enhancers. Not a problem in this case, as it’s been cooked in coconut oil and unsold popcorn hasn’t been drenched in the flavoring added for some customers.

Not all the popcorn ends up in gardens, though – either in compost bins or scattered for the critters. One popcorn recipient uses it to feed her chickens. No matter where the kernels end up, they become part of the circle of life, and nothing goes to the landfill.

I see on the theater’s “We’re Green” page that its aim is to be zero waste, even anticipating having the bragging rights: “We hope to become the first (that we know of) Zero Waste movie theater!”

So if your local movie theater is already zero waste, you can comment here but I won’t be telling the nice folks at my theater that yours beat them to it.


Movie Theater with a Garden Connection originally appeared on Garden Rant on March 17, 2017.

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About Ashraf Akkilah

Ashraf Akkilah
Architecture and design is my passion. I'm an architect who is interested in building design and decor trends. I'm also interested in sculpture design and landscaping. I'm "outdoor" architect who love to be involved in the project site and supervise finishing and final touches works. I had contributed to many construction and decor projects.

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