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Size Matters! New Report Shows The Value of Small-Scale, Community-Based Composting

| Written by Brenda Platt | No Comments | Updated on Jul 14, 2014 The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at
Cover of Growing Local Fertility

Composting can take place at many levels – backyard, block, neighborhood, schoolyard, community, on-farm, and regional – and in urban, suburban, and rural areas.  Composting at the local level circulates dollars in the community, promotes social inclusion and empowerment, greens neighborhoods, builds healthy soils, supports local food production and food security, embeds a culture of composting know-how in the community, sustains local jobs, and strengthens the skills of the local workforce.  When materials are collected and transported out of the community for processing, few if any of these benefits are realized at the local level.

Community composting is thriving but needs support to grow further.  ILSR’s report, Growing Local Fertility: A Guide to Community Composting, describes successful initiatives, their benefits, tips for replication, key start-up steps, and the need for private, public, and nonprofit sector support. Produced in collaboration with the Highfields Center for Composting in Hardwick, Vermont, Growing Local Fertility profiles 31 model programs in 14 states and the District of Columbia. Programs range from urban to rural and include demonstration/training sites, schools, universities, pedal-powered collection systems, worker-owned cooperatives, community gardens, and farms employing multiple composting techniques. Many but not all are non-profit mission driven enterprises.  Their distinguishing feature is keeping the process and product as local as possible while engaging the community through participation and education.


Growing Local Fertility: A Guide to Community Composting – FULL REPORT

ILSR’s Survey Results of Community Composters – October 2013

Growing Local Fertility: A Guide to Community Composting is based upon work supported under a grant by the Utilities Programs, United States Department of Agriculture and was produced by ILSR’s Composting Makes $en$e Project and the Highfields Center for Composting.

We welcome feedback on this guide and invite community composters to share their lessons learned and tips for replication.

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Brenda Platt

About Brenda Platt

Brenda Platt is the Co-Director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and heads up its Composting Makes $en$e and Composting for Community projects.

Contact Brenda   |   View all articles by Brenda Platt