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Community Composting in Public Spaces: Nov 4th - North Side

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Waters School and Garden

4540 North Campbell Avenue

Chicago, Il 60625

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You care about community composting!

So we invite you to register for this free and fun event!

NeighborSpace garden leaders and stakeholders, in partnership with sponsor Hills Brothers Coffee, are hosting two hands-on community composting education days.

Free coffee, breakfast snacks, and lunch will be provided!


Community and school gardens are public gathering spaces where multiple people participate in various ways. Composting systems in these spaces have to be managed thoughtfully and creatively to be successful. Join us for this very special gathering, where compost education leaders host a fun day-long event for us all to share what we've learned along the way.


Sessions will be hosted by

Pete Leki, Julie Peterson, and Yesica Barrera, of the Waters Ecology program,

Laura Calvert, the Executive Director of Advocates for Urban Agriculture,

Jennifer Walling of the Illinois Environmental Council, and

Breanne Heath of the Peterson Garden Project,

Check back here for updates.


Lunch at Waters Elementary will be wood fired pizza made right in the garden, in the outdoor pizza oven!



Description of Sessions-

Workshop A-

Composting Program Policy: Best and Most Difficult Practices

This discussion will begin by examining a wide variety of signs, evidence of vastly differing composting program policies. Many stories will be shared as guides to success and warnings of trouble. Signage takes on a new dimension for composting programs as a result of the new Chicago City Composting Ordinance. This session will provide the information a composting program leader needs to know and give opportunity to discuss the subtleties of various composting situations. Designs for signs will be provided.

Workshop B-

Build the Bin, Build the Pile, Build the Compost!

Work with a Team to Build a 5 ft by 5 ft by 3 ft Bin Robust Compost Bin for Your Public Space

In this hands-on workshop, participants will be guided through the process of building a frame for a compost bin, lid and bottom included. Pre-cut materials allow for quick assembly but thorough understanding of the build process. They will also help attach ¼ inch hardware cloth all around the bin to rat proof the bin, and simultaneously keep the air moving. Finally, participants will work with materials to build the pile, and learn special chopping methods and techniques that help in turning waste into the soil you want for your garden.

Participants will also-

  • be provided with a take home design and instructions for the compost bin that meets the current Chicago City ordinance requirements and is the result of many years of working experience.

  • think through location of a bin and factors that contribute to to bin design choices include location- backyard bins, school or community garden bins, urban and rural locations, public or private property as well as quantity and type of raw compost and the temperature of community support all contribute to bin design choice. We will provide an overview of these factors and the opportunity to discuss specific bin choice issues.

We will discuss other bin designs and the factors that feed into bin design decisions.

Workshop C-

Troubleshooting and Thriving at Community Composting: When Schools and Communities Combine:

In this workshop, we’ll go through common problems and solutions of composting in the city in public spaces. We will examine the challenges and opportunities of community gardens and schools working together. Special attention and inspection will be given to the new requirements of the Chicago Composting Ordinance. With a simple guide, issues such as pests, humidity, pH, oxygen, or nitrogen/carbon balance and temperature will be demystified. No less important are troubles or support of neighbors, the city, school communities, perceived beauty and stink as well as the public awareness of the composting project and its story in relation to caring for our planet. We will provide helpful materials and ideas to help your project thrive. This session includes talk of pests, neighbors, the man, the stink, too much of this, too little of that, community support, and more real life stories!



Please note- participants will be broken into three tracks to allow for smaller class size and deeper discussion. Each track will engage in all three “community composting” themed workshops, but just at different times.


Schedule for Day-

9:30- Coffee Under the Oaks

10:00-10:15 - Morning Gathering

Join in a welcome from hosts Pete Leki, Julie Peterson, and Yesica Barrera for introductions and a quick orientation of the day, bathrooms, etc.


Track One -

10:20-11:15 Session A (WORKSHOP DESCRIPTIONS ABOVE)

11:20-12:15 Session B

12:20-12:55 lunch and break to explore*

1:00-1:55 Session C


Track Two -

10:20-11:15 Session B

11:20-12:15 Session C

12:20-12:55 lunch and break to explore

1:00-1:55 Session A


Track Three

10:20-11:15 Session C

11:20-12:15 Session A

12:20-12:55 lunch and break to explore

1:00-1:55 Session B


2:00-2:30 All groups gather together for a a lively panel discussion of challenges and opportunities in the community composting realm.


2:30-3:00 Join in for tours of Waters native gardens, school and community gardens, composting bins, fire circle, stormwater management including rain barrels and wetland swale, and more!


This event page is to register for the November 4th event on the north side at Waters Elementary School and Garden.

*note, if you previously registered for Oct 21, that event was rescheduled to November 4th. We hope you are able to re-register for one of the two other dates.

This link below willl lead you to the registration page for the second event, November 11.th

Register for Southside Event

Southside Workshop

Nov 11, 9:30 to 3:00
Montessori School of Englewood
6396 S Hermitage Ave
Chicago, IL 60636



If you have questions, please contact Julie Peterson at the following email- jp2@beyondtoday.org

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Waters School and Garden

4540 North Campbell Avenue

Chicago, Il 60625

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