ILSR’s On-Farm Composting & Compost Use Webinar Series

Date: 16 Nov 2021 | posted in: Composting | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Composting is an age-old practice that is 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 food systems.

These webinars are among the resources the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) offers to support a distributed and diverse composting infrastructure that includes community-scale and on-farm composting. View and listen to other past composting-related webinar recordings here.

This webinar series is being offered in collaboration with the Million Acre Challenge, which is advancing soil health and regenerative practices on farms across the Chesapeake region.



The registration fee for 2022/2023 webinars is $20. Participation is free for farmers, local government, and members of our Community Composter Coalition.

Recordings for past webinars can be accessed by registering for the individual webinar.



September 27th, 2023

Compost and Jumping Worms: What to Know


September 8th, 2023

Compost and the FDA Produce Safety Rule


  • Adriana Jimenez Lopez Produce Safety Expert, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, FDA

December 8th, 2022

State Permitting Pathways for Advancing On-Farm Composting



November 17th, 2022

The Role of Farms in Decentralized Composting



The 2021 webinars feature 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. Recordings are available for free and can be accessed by registering for each individual webinar below.

  1. On-Farm Composting Fundamentals

    • Presenter: Dr. Robert Rynk, Professor Emeritus at the State University of New York College of Agriculture & Technology, SUNY Cobleskill
    • Date: August 24, 2021
  2. Integrating Composting Into Your Farming Business 

    • Presenter: Ellen Polishuk, biological farming consultant & educator
    • Date: September 14, 2021
  3. Composting Recipes & Integrating Food Scraps

    • Presenter: James McSweeney, composting consultant & educator
    • Date: October 5, 2021
  4. Compost & Soil: Restoring Health & Rebalancing the Climate 

    • 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
    • Date: October 26, 2021
  5. Profiting with Compost & the Importance of Compost Quality

    • Presenters: Dr. Greg Evanylo, professor in the School of Plant and Environmental Sciences at Virginia Tech and Jayne Merner Senecal, farmer and composter at Earth Care Farm in Rhode Island
    • Date: November 16, 2021
  6. Compost – Soil – Plant: Putting the Many Facets Together

    • Presenter: Dr. Will Brinton, Founder and Chief Science Officer at Woods End Laboratories
    • Date: December 7, 2021



[1] Aaron Sidder. “The Green, Brown, and Beautiful Story of Compost.” National Geographic. 2016 [link]     

[2] “Plant Growth Benefits.” The US Composting Council. [link]

[3] Tommy D’Hose. “Influence of farm compost on soil quality and crop yields.” Archives of Agronomy and Soil Science. 2012. [link

[4] “Innovative Uses of Compost: Disease Control for Plants and Animals.” United States Environmental Protection Agency. 1997. [PDF]

[5] “Infographic: Compost Impacts More Than You Think.” The Institute for Local Self-Reliance. 2018. [link]

[6] Sally Brown. “Connections: EOM Is The Key To SOM.” Biocycle Magazine. 2021 [link]

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Follow Linda Bilsens Brolis:
Linda Bilsens Brolis

Linda is the Senior Program Manager for ILSR’s Composting for Community Initiative and Neighborhood Soil Rebuilders Composter Training Program.

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Follow Sophia Jones:
Sophia Jones

Sophia Jones is the Policy Lead with ILSR’s Composting for Community initiative, where she researches, analyzes and supports the building of US policy that advances local composting. Her background in sustainable development and agriculture reflects her interest in solutions-based, community-led development initiatives.