The NSR Composter Training Program

The Neighborhood Soil Rebuilders (NSR) Composter Training Program trains participants to establish and manage composting projects that both engage and serve their communities. The NSR program was launched by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and ECO City Farms in 2014 in the Washington, D.C. Metro Region. 

Community leaders are needed to install and operate small-scale composting sites at schools, churches, community gardens, farms and other community institutions. These leaders can then teach other community leaders, share lessons learned, and spread enthusiasm for composting. But to succeed, they need training, exposure to best practices and systems, and on-the-ground technical support. The NSR program was designed to meet this need. 

Watch the video below to meet some of the people behind the NSR program.


The Neighborhood Soil Rebuilders (NSR) Composter Training Program was designed to be a replicable and adaptable train-the-trainer program with 3 levels: Beginner Composter, Master Composter and Advanced Master. Our Master and Advanced Master-level programs are intended to be run over multiple weeks, but the program can be adapted to fit the needs of any community. Learn more about the NSR Master Composter course.

Past Classes

The NSR Master Compost course has been replicated in: 

    •  Lincoln, Nebraska (Summer 2015)
    •  Atlanta (Summer 2016)
    •  Baltimore (Fall 2016)

The NSR program has been adapted to fit the needs of different communities, from youth leadership training to home composting classes. Examples include:

    •  Montgomery County, Md. (Spring 2018)
    •  New Jersey (Summer 2018)
    •  Washington, D.C. (Fall 2018)

NSR Capstone Projects

The NSR Master Composter Program facilitates a cultural shift by training community leaders in composting and fostering the development of new community-based composting sites and projects. The result is an ever-growing network of community composters that are sharing their composting knowledge and advancing composting in their communities. Here are a few examples of NSR Capstone Projects: 

    •  The Community Compost Cooperative at Howard University
    •  NSR Capstone Project Featured in WaPo Article On the Future of Composting in D.C.
    •  Elsie Whitlow Stokes Public Charter School in D.C.
    •  Urban Farms in D.C. and Baltimore

    •  ILSR Partner and Community Composter Featured in DCTV News Spot
    •  ILSR NSR Program Graduate Featured with D.C. Mayor on Composting at Schools

NSR Resources


    •  Community Composting Done Right: A Guide to Best Management Practices
    •  Guide to Composting Onsite at Schools


    •  A Guide to Best Management Practices Webinar
    •  Community-Scale Composting Systems with James McSweeney
    •  Successful Rat Prevention for Community-Scaled Composting


     •  What Is Community Composting?


     •  Self-Reliance and Transformation Through Community Composting with Corinne Coe-Law
     •  Pedal-Powered Composters Support The Local Food Movement with Kat Nigro
     •  Composter Catalyzes a Movement in Her Community with Tiffany Bess
     •  Creating Community Wealth Through Compost with Sophia Hosain and Guy Schaffer
     •  Building Local Power Podcast: Composting Cultivates Economic Development
     •  Building Local Power Podcast: How Community Composting Disrupts Big Waste with Terry Craghead


Interested in bringing the NSR to your community? The NSR Program is available to be licensed, and ILSR is available to consult on replication and adaptation. Learn more here.