A single "compost knox" bin at the Ithaca Community Gardens. Members weigh food scraps with the scale provided and log their scraps in the log book.
Image by Adam Michaelides

Compost bin for member use at the Ithaca Community Gardens

3-bin compost unit between shed and garden gate at the Freeville Community Garden
Image by Adam Michaelides

3-bin compost unit in between garden shed and garden gate at the Freeville Community garden

Groton Community Garden - the site of a community compost site in Groton, NY
Image by Adam Michaelides

Our third community site is at the Groton Community Garden

Compost Learning Collaborative

The Compost Learning Collaborative offers another way for Tompkins County residents to divert their food, garden and yard discards from the landfill. Participants learn how to compost at a community site from local composting experts. Over time, members become more confident and gain a deeper understanding of the composting process as they work together to manage and use the finished product. By locating our sites at active gardens, make use of compostable materials from the garden and provide finished material for use back in the garden.

Our hope in offering community composting is that we can make composting more accessible for area residents. Joining the collaborative may be an attractive option for those who rent, or for people who live, work or travel nearby. Others may enjoy the support available from local compost educators, and the camaraderie of composting together with others. We aim to further the goal of the Tompkins County Department of Recycling and Materials Management to reduce the amount of compostable materials going into the trash.

The Compost Education Program at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County sees the value in bringing people together to compost, and learn about composting. We hope to build skills and enthusiasm for composting in Tompkins County.

How to join a Compost Learning Collaborative site

  • attend one short (~30 min) orientation session
  • contribute appropriate food scraps and yard/garden debris; layer materials in the designated bin
  • weigh food scraps and log data with any comments
  • help out with site maintenance and turning and go home with finished compost
  • provide a designated form of communication that can be checked at least once per week

Who is eligible and how do I sign up?

Our program is free and open to anyone in Tompkins County. Given the site location, we expect that most of the members of that site will be gardeners from the nearby community garden, people who frequent the location, neighbors and other interested residents.

At the orientation, members will meet one another, learn more about the Compost Learning Collaborative project, and go over guidelines for properly using the site. There will be a demonstration of layering food scraps with ‘brown materials’ (usually dry leaves). The compost educator leading the orientation will welcome any questions about composting, or the Compost Learning Collaborative.

Current sites

  1. Ithaca Community Gardens, Carpenter Circle (off the 3rd St Ext in Ithaca)
  2. Freeville Community Garden, Groton Ave Park in Freeville

For more information and to sign up, call Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County at 607-272-2292 or by emailing Adam at acm1@cornell.edu . On our Classes & Workshops page, we will list any new member training sessions already scheduled. Contact us to express interest and get on our running list of people interested in the project.

The Compost Education Program at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County is funded by the Tompkins County Department of Recycling and Materials Management

Last updated May 15, 2024