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
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
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.