Composting is an age-old practice, intrinsically tied to food production.1 On-farm composting provides farmers with a method for managing organic wastes produced on site, while creating an amendment that enhances soil’s overall function2 and increases crop yields.3 When added to soil, compost improves the soil’s ability to store nutrients for plant use, reduces the need for chemical inputs, and decreases the likelihood of plant disease and pest issues.4 Compost increases the capacity of the soil to absorb and retain water, making crops less susceptible to extreme weather such as floods and droughts, and reduces soil losses to erosion.5
Composting also benefits the climate and our communities. The addition of compost to soil is among the fastest ways of replenishing soil organic matter, which can increase the storage of carbon in the soil–especially in depleted soils.6 In addition, when food scraps and other organic materials are diverted from disposal to be composted, the greenhouse gas emissions associated with landfilling and incineration are avoided. When food scraps are composted and the resulting compost is used to support local food production, nutrients are recycled, creating more circular and localized food systems.
ILSR is working to advance on-farm composting and compost use through its Composting for Community Initiative, and is a founding member of the Million Acre Challenge. The Million Acre Challenge is working to advance soil health and regenerative agriculture on one million acres of agricultural land in Maryland, and to catalyze change towards regenerative agriculture across the Chesapeake region by 2030. This webinar series is being offered in collaboration with the Million Acre Challenge and features experts from across the industry and covers the ins and outs of on-farm composting and compost use. Topics include setting up a composting area on your farm, integrating composting into your farming business, developing composting recipes, sourcing feedstocks, interpreting a compost test report, and understanding the different benefits of and uses for compost on the farm.
WEBINAR SCHEDULE & REGISTRATION
Recordings for past webinars can be accessed by registering for the individual webinar.
- On-Farm Composting Fundamentals
- Integrating Composting Into Your Farming Business
- Composting Recipes & Integrating Food Scraps
- Compost & Soil: Restoring Health & Rebalancing the Climate
- Date of live webinar: October 26, 2021
- Presenters: Calla Rose Ostrander, Strategic Advisor & Healthy Soil Advocate at Phoenix Rising Resources LLC and the California Natural Resources Agency and Jean Bonhotal, Waste Management Specialist and Director of the Cornell Waste Management Institute in Soil and Crop Sciences
- Profiting with Compost & the Importance of Compost Quality
- Compost – Soil – Plant: Putting the Many Facets Together
- Date of live webinar: December 7, 2021
- Presenter: Dr. Will Brinton, Founder and Chief Science Officer at Woods End Laboratories
Register for a recording of Using & Selling Compost for Community Sites (Dec. 14th) HERE.
Register for a recording of Equipment for Small Compost Sites (Oct. 7th) HERE.
View and listen to other past composting-related webinar recording HERE.
 Aaron Sidder. “The Green, Brown, and Beautiful Story of Compost.” National Geographic. 2016 [link]
 “USCC Factsheet: Compost and Its Benefits.” The United States Composting Council. 2008. [PDF]
 Tommy D’Hose. “Influence of farm compost on soil quality and crop yields.” Archives of Agronomy and Soil Science. 2012. [link]
 “Composting at Home.” United States Environmental Protection Agency. 2019. [link]
 “Infographic: Compost Impacts More Than You Think.” The Institute for Local Self-Reliance. 2018. [link]
 Sally Brown. “Connections: EOM Is The Key To SOM.” Biocycle Magazine. 2021 [link]