6th National Cultivating Community Composting Forum: Event Program and Schedule

Date: 18 Apr 2019 | posted in: Composting | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail


6th National Cultivating Community Composting Forum!

May 11-14, 2019
New York City





This 4-day event will feature a training and field day, a tour of NYC community compost sites, and 2 days of community composters sharing their best practices and lessons learned in a peer-to-peer format. Topics will include: the business of community composting, the compost-soil connection, equipment and small-scale systems, outreach and communications, volunteer/staff management, best management practices for the compost process, and composting for social and environmental justice. Learn about successful initiatives and how to adapt lessons learned to your projects and community.

Saturday, May 11

Community Composter Training & Field Day

9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Earth Matter NY, Governors Island
More info here.

9:00 a.m.     Meet and Greet: Board ferry, walk to Earth Matter Compost Learning Center

10:00 a.m.   Morning Activities (select one group, see above)

11:30 a.m.   Perform and share bulk density and porosity tests

12:30 p.m.   Zero Waste Island team orientation & lunch

1:30 p.m.     Break into groups for two rotating sessions:
• Tour of Compost Learning Center and Farm with emphasis on site design
• Equipment and tool demos

3:00 p.m.     Closure at Earth Matter site, and choice of:
• Further conversation and Q&A, or
• Governors Island walking tour

4:30 p.m.     Informal happy hour for networking (cost not covered in registration fee)

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Sunday, May 12

Tours of New York City Community Compost Sites

Choose among five options. More info here.

Bus Tour #1 – Brooklyn
Cost: $50 (includes lunch)
9:30 a.m. – 4:45 p.m.

This bus tour sponsored by the New York City Compost Project will explore an array of Brooklyn’s community compost sites: Red Hook Community Farm, the Salt Lot Community Compost Site, East New York Farms!, and BK ROT. These sites highlight composting methods for both large and small operations and include 3-bin systems, hand-turned windrows, and aerated static piles. The organizational structures of these sites vary in the ways that they engage youth and volunteers, and whether they service commercial or residential material streams.

Bus Tour #2 – Queens & Randall’s Island
Cost: $50 (includes lunch)
8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

This bus tour sponsored by the New York City Compost Project will visit community compost sites in Queens and on Randall’s Island: Queens Botanical Garden, St. John’s University, Sunnyside Community Garden, and Randall’s Island Urban Farm. These sites showcase a variety of composting methods that include aerated piles, 3-bins, and other creative bin methods. Participants will get a behind-the-scenes look at institutional composting programs and also visit smaller-scale community-driven and educational programs.

Bike Tour & BBQ
Cost: $30 (includes BBQ dinner)
12:15 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

The bike tour will start on the Lower East Side and end in Long Island City. CitiBikes, a bike sharing company, is sponsoring this tour and providing the bikes! (Bring your own helmet if you want one.) The ride is 9 miles total and moderate difficulty (mainly flat, crosses one major bridge and one moderate bridge). The tour will highlight a number of composting methods, including bokashi, aerated static piles, a GORE Cover system, and a bike hauling operation. Sites include: El Sol Brillante Community Garden, Reclaimed Organics, La Casita Verde, Java Street Community Garden, The NYC Compost Project hosted by Big Reuse’s Queensbridge site, and Smiling Hogshead Ranch. A BBQ dinner at Smiling Hogshead Ranch will cap off the tour!

Tour of Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm & Compost System
Cost: $10
10:00  a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Brooklyn Grange operates the world’s largest rooftop soil farms, located on three roofs in New York City, growing nearly 100,000 lbs organically-cultivated produce each year. Now in its ninth season, Brooklyn Grange also hosts events and educational programming, provides urban farming and green roof consulting and installation services to clients worldwide, and partners with numerous non-profit organizations throughout New York to promote healthy and strong local communities.

Join this guided tour to learn about Brooklyn Grange’s first rooftop farm located in Long Island City, Queens, and its O2Compost solar-powered system. The 1-acre (43,000 square foot) rooftop farm was built in 2010 and has roughly 1.2 million lbs of soil. The compost system handles vegetative by-products, chicken manure, food discards generated by food processing companies, food waste from events, and kitchen scraps from restaurants in the surrounding neighborhood. Finished compost is used on the rooftop farm to amend the soil.

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Monday, May 13

Cultivating Community Composting Forum Day 1

9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
HI New York City Hostel, 891 Amsterdam Ave., New York City

Coffee & Registration

8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

Welcome and Introductions

9:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

Panel 1: New York City Rocks Community Composting!

9:30 a.m. – 11 a.m.
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 will share lessons learned and tips for replication, and feature how the City supports food scrap collection at farmers markets, community composting, demonstration sites, and training through its NYC Compost Project.

Welcome Remarks: Bridget Anderson, Deputy Commissioner, DSNY

Facilitator: Nora Goldstein, BioCycle


Growing and Scaling Community Composting — Marguerite Manela, NYC Compost Project
Food Scrap Drop-off and Community Composting — Emily Bachman, GrowNYC
Composting Under the Queensbridge — Bella Rabinovich, NYC Compost Project Hosted by Big Reuse
People and 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 & Composting Enterprise — Sandra Nurse, BK ROT

Coffee Break

11:00 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.

Panel 2: It’s All About the Soil

11:15 a.m. – 12:30  p.m.
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 will address these questions as well as how to utilize compost for growing food, managing nutrients and stormwater, and controlling soil erosion.


Nathan Rutz, Rust Belt Riders
Leah Retherford, Project Manager, NYC Compost Project Hosted by Big Reuse
Sara Perl Egendorf, PhD Candidate, The Graduate Center of the City University of New York
Marissa Hornpetrie, Fertile Ground Compost

Lunch Break

12:30 – 1:30 p.m.

Panel 3: Composting for Social & Environmental Justice

1:30 p.m. – 3:00  p.m.
This panel will feature practitioners addressing social, environmental, and food justice issues through their composting operations and activities.  


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


3:00 p.m. – 3:15  p.m.

Peer-to-Peer Chats

3:15 p.m. – 4:15  p.m.
Possible Topics:

Outreach & Education
Business & Financing (incl. insurance)
Equipment and Systems
Logistics & Routing
Volunteer/Staff Management
Vermicomposting, Bokashi, Black Soldier Flies, & Other Non-Hot-Composting Strategies

Hacks & Innovations

4:15 p.m. – 5 p.m.
In this session, participants will have the opportunity to share clever strategies, tips, and techniques for accomplishing familiar tasks more easily and efficiently. These are done as informal lightning talks. No presentation, no slides. Each participant has 90 seconds. Aim is fast transfer of information by as many peers as possible.


7:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.
HI New York City Hostel, 891 Amsterdam Ave.

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Tuesday, May 14

Cultivating Community Composting Forum Day 2

HI New York City Hostel, 891 Amsterdam Ave.

Coffee and Check-In

9:00 – 9:15 a.m.

Panel 4: The Business of Community Composting

9:15 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
This panel will feature 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.

Facilitator: Mary Ryther, Compost With Me


Starting a Compost Company: Challenges and Opportunities & Working with Local Governments — Eileen Banyra, Community Compost Co.
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

Coffee Break & Check Out of Hostel

10:30 – 11:00 a.m.

Panel 5: BMPs and Rodent Control

11:00 a.m. – 12:15  p.m.
In this interactive session, experts will talk and answer questions about best management practices for community-scale sites and how to avoid rodents, nuisance odors, and pathogens.


Linda Bilsens Brolis, Institute for Local Self-Reliance
Caroline Bragdon, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
James McSweeney, Compost Technical Services
Charlie Bayrer, NYC Compost Project Hosted by Earth Matter

Lunch Break

12:15 – 1:15 p.m.

Mini Workshops & Report Backs

1:15 p.m. – 2:30  p.m.
Topics (may change):

BMP: Metrics & Measuring Success
BMP: Site Design & Management
BMP: Compost Quality
Business & Financing
Permitting & Other Policies
Equipment and Systems
BMP: Community Involvement


2:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

USCC Certification

Earn up to 22 continuing education credits towards US Composting Council Professional Certifications. For more info, go to www.certificationsUSCC.org.

Thank You to Our Current Sponsors!

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