Presentations: 2018 Community Composting Workshop & Forum

Date: 31 Jan 2018 | posted in: Composting, waste - composting | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

In January 2018, ILSR convened two events in conjunction with the USCC’s International Conference and Trade Show, COMPOST2018, in Atlanta: the Best Practices in Community Composting Workshop and the National Cultivating Community Composting Forum. These events brought together composters to network, share best practices, and build support for community-scale composting systems and enterprises. The Cultivating Community Composting Forum 2018 is the 5th national forum convened by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance.



Best Practices in Community Composting Workshop

In this full-day workshop for community composters, held as part of COMPOST2018, we walked through practices that work and address how to take your community-scale composting to the next level. Through both presentation and small group discussion, participants walked away knowing how to adapt the efforts and achievements of other programs for their community. Participants included community-scale composters who are composting on-site at schools, community gardens, farms, or otherwise keeping the process as local and small-scale as possible, while engaging the community through participation and education, as well as small-scale haulers, such as pedal-powered collectors.


Part 1: Key Ingredients of Community Composting


Growing and Scaling in Community Composting — Daniel Brown, Rust Belt Riders@RustBeltRiders

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Financing the Movement — Justin Senkbeil, CompostNow@CompostNow

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Model of a Worker-Owned Cooperative — Terry Craghead, Fertile Ground Cooperative

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Part 2: Small-Scale & Urban Farm Composting


Worm & Other Composting Systems on an Urban Farm — Benny Erez, ECO City Farms@ECOCityFarms

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Small-Scale Composting Systems — Erik Martig, LA Compost@LACompost

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Using Black Soldier Flies in Composting — Paul Rabaut, Suncoast Compost@suncoastcompost

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Part 4: Social Justice, Youth, & Community Engagement


Corinne Coe-Law, Terra Nova Compost@wemakecompost (Moderator)

Whitney Jaye, Southeastern African American Farmers Organic Network@SAAFON4Farmers

Sundiata Ameh-El, Compost Community

Sandy Nurse, BK ROT@BKROT

Maurice Small, Farmer x Farmer Coalition

Michael Martinez, LA Compost@LACompost

Xavier Brown, Soilful City@SoilfulCity


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Part 5: Pedal Power!

Bike-Hauling Equipment & Female Empowerment — Kat Nigro, CompostNow@CompostNow

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NYC: Micro Hauling & Commercial Waste — Meredith Danberg-Ficarelli, Common Ground Compost@CommonCompost

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National Cultivating Community Composting Forum

The Forum aims to:

  • Foster greater interconnection between community/small-scale/urban composters and the USCC membership/conference attendees
  • Show how community-scale composting fits in and complements the larger composting industry, both collection and processing, and both for individuals and organizations.
  • Showcase the variety of models and innovative ideas that are growing from the ground up.
  • Spur a community-based composter network that will stay connected following the conference.

Morning Panel: Community Composting Policies, Permitting & BMPs

Community scale composting is an important facet of a healthy diverse composting infrastructure, and can bring public attention to composting as well as catalyzing larger scale municipal efforts. Yet, too often government policies hamper the ability of community composters to compete for contracts and funding. One plus for small-scale sites is that they are typically exempt from state permitting regulations. But this could lead to poorly operated systems, which might give community composting a poor reputation. Panelists addressed what local government can do to support community scale efforts and identify best management practices to ensure well-operated sites.


Best Management Practices for Community Composters — Linda Bilsens Brolis, Institute for Local Self-Reliance@ILSR@ltbinda

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Policy and Legal Obstacles to Community Compost — Kourtnii Brown, Common Compost@CompostLocal

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Afternoon Panel: What is Community Composting & Why is it Important?

This panel introduced the concept of community composting and its importance to the wider composting industry. Community Composting takes many forms, but one thing Community Composters have in common is that they recycle material in the community in which it is generated, and the finished product benefits that community. Operations are structured as for-profits, non-profits, and worker owned cooperatives. Hauling can be done with bicycles or box trucks and piles may be turned with skid-steers or pitchforks. Some operations haul, others process, while others prioritize education. Minimizing the distance material travels to be processed and utilized isn’t the only distinguishing characteristic of Community Composting. These groups also approach the work through the lens of food security, social justice, permaculture, deep ecology, and workplace democracy. They use grassroots tactics to build their customer base and education is a substantial part of their work. Their decentralized processing networks allow them to be effective in densely populated cities. Working to make composting common practice in cities and states whose governments don’t currently provide incentives, Community Composters are the harbingers of larger programs. They prove that the market does indeed exist, and help to grow it through robust education programs.


Community Composting: One Mission, Many Forms — Michael Robinson, Rust Belt Riders@RustBeltRiders

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Small-Scale Hauler Benefits — Kristen Baskin, Let Us Compost@LetUsCompost

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Partnerships Between Bike and Truck Haulers & Composting for Multi-Family Residents — Christi Turner, Scraps

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Building Community Capital via Community Composting —Xavier Brown, Soilful City@SoilfulCity

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Looking at the Big Picture — Perspectives on Where Organics Management is Heading


The Important Role for Micro and Community Composting — Brenda Platt, Institute for Local Self-Reliance@ILSR @PlattBrenda