Composting in Public Spaces- Sharing What We've Learned - South Side

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The Montessori School of Englewood

6936 South Hermitage Avenue

Chicago, IL 60636

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

Community gardeners and community composters are invited to join us by registering for this free event.

Compost Education Gathering-

Composting in Public- Sharing What We’ve Learned

Hosts: Cordia Pugh, Yesica Rufino and Rita Nolan

Panelists and Presenters include Nance Klehm, Pete Leki, Cordia Pugh, and more. check back for updates.

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 from The Montessori School of Englewood and Hermitage Community Garden host a fun hands-on day-long event to share what they've learned along the way. (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, at different times.)

Schedule for Day: Saturday November 11

9:30- Meet and greet. Enjoy a cup of coffee!

10:00-10:35 - Morning Gathering / Panel Discussion

Join in a welcome from hosts Cordia Pugh, Yesica Rufino and Rita Nolan and a lively panel discussion of challenges and opportunities in the community composting realm. Plus a quick orientation of the day, bathrooms, etc.

Track One -


11:45-12:40 Session B

12:40-1:15 lunch and break to explore*

1:20-2:15 Session C

Track Two -

10:45-11:40 Session B

11:45-12:40 Session C

12:40-1:15 lunch and break to explore

1:20-2:15 Session A

Track Three

10:45-11:40 Session C

11:45-12:40 Session A

12:40-1:15 lunch and break to explore

1:20-2:15 Session B

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

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 x 5 ft x 3 ft 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.

Workshop C-

Where Schools and Communities Combine:

Troubleshooting and Thriving at Community Composting- this includes pests, neighbors, the man, the stink, too much of this, too little of that, community support, more real life stories!

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.

note: This event is geared towards public community composting initiatives, not home composting.

Date and Time


The Montessori School of Englewood

6936 South Hermitage Avenue

Chicago, IL 60636

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