This course developed by ILSR under its Neighborhood Soil Rebuilders Composter Training Program provides an overview of the importance of and science behind composting, and recommended best practices for implementing community composting programs.

Please note: the focus of this course is hot or thermophilic composting, not vermicomposting (composting with worms). However, the information on the benefits of composting and background on community composting will be relevant regardless of the composting system being used.

This course includes an introduction and seven video-based training modules, plus supplemental resources and a glossary of relevant terminology. The training modules typically run 25 to 35 minutes each and total 3.5 hours. These modules include:

Module 1 – The What & Why of Composting

Module 2  – Composting Systems & The Role of Community Composting

Module 3 – Composting Fundamentals & Recipe Development

Module 4 – Building a Compost Pile 

Module 5 – Managing the Composting Process

Module 6 – Site Design & Management

Module 7 – Getting Started & Engaging the Community  

Each of these training modules is followed by a 5-question knowledge check assessment, which you will need to pass in order to progress to the next module. In order to receive a certificate of completion, you will need to watch each video-based module, complete the knowledge check that follows each module and achieve an 80% score for the final exam.

This course provides a solid foundation for further hands-on composting training, such as our NSR Master Composter Program.



Upon completion of trainings, assignments, and assessments, participants will be able to:

  • Define compost and composting
  • Identify ways in which compost can benefit soil, plants, waterways, and the climate
  • Explain the potential benefits of community composting
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the basic scientific principles of composting and how those principles are applied in practice
  • Understand best management practices for community-scale composting and how to implement them
  • Design their own community composting initiative tailored to their community’s needs



The cost of enrollment is $100 per person. We have partnered with the Southface Institute to house our Community Composting 101 online certificate course.

Enroll in the course here. 

Bulk discounts are available for groups enrolling together. Bulk discounts are available at the following levels:

  • $75 per enrollment for 2-4 people enrolling together
  • $50 per enrollment for 5 or more people enrolling together

To request a bulk enrollment discount, please fill out this form.

Scholarships for individuals are also available. To request a scholarship, please fill out this form.