Presentations from the 6th National Cultivating Community Composting Forum

Date: 5 Jun 2019 | posted in: Composting | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

In May 2019, ILSR convened the 6th National Cultivating Community Composting (CCC) Forum in New York City. Presentations from the two days of panels are below. Panels 1 through 3 took place Monday, May 12. Panels 4 and 5 were Tuesday, May 13. Also included below is the St. John’s University presentation on its food waste collection and composting program, which was part of the tour day, Sunday, May 11.

For more information on the CCC Forum, check out these links:





Panel 1: NYC Rocks Community Composting!

New York City has more than 250 community compost sites located throughout its five boroughs. These operations span different systems, organizational structures, and sizes. This panel shared lessons learned and tips for replication, and featured how the City supports food scrap collection at farmers markets, community composting, demonstration sites, and training through its NYC Compost Project.

Community Composting Rocks NYC! — Marguerite Manela, NYC Compost Project


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Food Scrap Drop-off & Community Composting in NYC — Emily Bachman, GrowNYC


Composting Under the Queensbridge — Bella Rabinovich, NYC Compost Project Hosted by Big Reuse


People & Piles: NYC’s Compost Sites — Vanessa Ventola, NYC Compost Project Hosted by Queens Botanical Garden


Micro Hauling in NYC — Meredith Danberg-Ficarelli, Common Ground Compost


Youth-Led Collection and Composting Enterprise — Sandy Nurse, BK ROT


Panel 2: It’s All About the Soil

How does compost enhance and interact with the soil? How does it sequester carbon and contribute to climate resilience? How can community composters produce the highest quality compost? This panel addressed these questions as well as how to utilize compost for growing food, managing nutrients and stormwater, and controlling soil erosion.

Soil Science — Nathan Rutz, Rust Belt Riders


Approaches to Soil & Compost Testing — Leah Retherford, NYC Compost Project Hosted by Big Reuse


Constructing Soil: The Key Element for Sequestering Lead and Carbon — Sara ‘Perl’ Egendorf, The Graduate Center of the City University of New York, PhD Candidate


Compost Socks — Marissa Hornpetrie, Fertile Ground Cooperative


Panel 3: Composting for Social and Environmental Justice

This panel featured practitioners addressing social, environmental, and food justice issues through their composting operations and activities. Attendees also reviewed the proposed Social Justice Principles for Community Composters.

Sandy Nurse, BK ROT
Michael Martinez, LA Compost
Marvin Hayes, Baltimore Compost Collective
Kesiah Bascom, OffBeet Compost
Erin Johnson & Kenneth Young, Green City Force
Domingo Morales, Red Hook Community Farm Compost Site


Panel 4: The Business of Community Composting

This panel featured presentations on starting a composting company, challenges and opportunities working with local governments, scaling up your business, the pros and cons of community partnerships, entity structures, financing, and more.

Starting a Composting Business — Eileen Banyra, Community Compost Company


Clients, Consistency, & Community: Building Loyalty at Bootstrap — Emma Brown, Bootstrap Compost


Financial Statements Basics and Applications to Your Composting Operations — Michael Robinson, Rust Belt Riders


Panel 5: BMPs and Rodent Control

In this interactive session, experts answered questions about best management practices for community-scale sites and how to avoid rodents, nuisance odors, and pathogens.

Community Composting Done Right: A Guide to Best Management Practices — Linda Bilsens Brolis, Institute for Local Self-Reliance


Preventing and Managing Rats in Compost — Caroline Bragdon, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene


Pathogen Reduction: Time, Temperature, and Beyond — James McSweeney, Compost Technical Services


NYC Compost Tours


Presentation from St. John’s University — Tom Goldsmith, St. John’s University and Gregg Twehues, Compostwerks


Photos from Participants!


Photos shared by participants of their operations

Thank You to Our Sponsors! We love you!

Your contributions primarily covered our scholarship fund, but also our networking reception, printed agendas/materials, and other direct expenses. The scholarship fund helped us bring 50 community composters to the event – especially from underserved urban areas – and cover their travel, hostel accommodations, and registration costs.