Lincoln Land Community College - Green Center
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2014 Central Illinois Composting Symposium



2014 Central Illinois Composting Symposium


February 19, 2014; 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.


The Trutter Center at Lincoln Land Community College, 5250 Shepherd Rd., Springfield, IL 62794. Get directions and a campus map by clicking here. For information on accommodations near Lincoln Land, click here.


Before Feb. 5: $30 for symposium

After Feb. 5: $35 for symposium

The symposium is free to students with a valid student ID.

For more information, contact the Green Center at 217.786.4993 or


The 10th annual composting symposium is a forum for sharing composting information, stimulating the composting market, and bringing composters, educators, and businesses together so that everyone can benefit from learning about this excellent organic soil amendment. At the symposium, participants can learn about composting organic materials from experts in the field. Topics focus on small and large scale composting.


Lincoln Land Community College, Illinois Stewardship Alliance, University of Illinois Extension, Illinois Department of Agriculture, City of Springfield, Illinois Environmental Council, Illinois Recycling Association


8:30-9:00 a.m.        Registration

9:00-9:15 a.m.        Welcome

9:15-10:15 a.m.      Keynote: State of Composting in Illinois

Jen Walling, Executive Director, Illinois Environmental Council

Jen Walling works on a state level environmental policy as head of the Illinois Environmental Council and lobbies on behalf of IEC's sixty member organizations. In 2009, as chief of staff to State Senator Heather Steans, she worked to pass Illinois' first commercial food scrap composting legislation and in 2013, Jen worked wtih Illinois Stewardship Alliance to pass expansions of food scrap composting laws for farms and a pilot program for food scrap composting infrastructure development. Jen will discuss what is happening with the compost in Illinois in terms of policy and practice, and where compost is headed.

10:15-10:30 a.m.      Break

10:30-11:30 a.m.      Breakout Session I

A. Soil Science

Roger Windhorn, Soil Scientist, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

Get the dirt on soil and find out what's really going on underground. This session will focus on the soil food web and the intricacy of the critters involved. Discover what's in the soil, how the soil critters interact, and how those interactions affect the soil.The interconnections of an incredible diversity of organisms living in the soil create conditions necessary to all of life. Understanding the science behind the processes at work below our feet can help us be more successful composters.

B. Pieces of the Puzzle - Starting and Maintaining a Compost System

Paul Rosenbohm, President, Better Earth

From the perspective of somone who started a successful composting business, learn about how to start, what steps to take, who to get involved, how it operates, potential obstacles, lessons learned, and recommendations to help you start or improve your compost system.

11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Lunch

12:30-2:00 p.m.           Breakout Session II

A. Vermicomposting Basics and Build Your Own Bin ($15 materials fee)

Wynne Coplea, Vice-President, Illinois Recycling Association

Wes King, Executive Director, Illinois Stewardship Alliance

Using a working vermicompost bin as an example, this hands-on session explores what you need to start your own worm compost and what you need to know to be successful. Get your hands dirty as you learn how to prepare materials for the bin, harvest worm castings, and maintain a bin. The session will conclude with participants making their own worm compost bin to take home.

B. Vermicomposting Food Waste in Institutional Settings

April Vigardt, Researcher in Plant and Soil Science, Manager of the SIUC Sustainable Vegetable Farm and Vermicomposting Center, Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Interest has recently grown in mid-sized vermicomposting systems for institutional food waste recycling. In this symposium we will discuss setting up a continuous flow bin system, maintaining it, common problems, and reasonable expectations.

2:15-3:00 p.m.           Q & A Panel

Last chance to ask final questions, and hear final thoughts and reflections from today's presenters.