Event: 12th Annual Composting Symposium: Building Soil and Community

Join us on Tuesday, February 24th from 9am-3pm at the Trutter Center at Lincoln Land Community College for the 12th Annual Composting Symposium in Springfield.

The symposium is a forum for sharing composting information; stimulating the composting market; and bringing composter, educators, and businesses together so that everyone can benefit from learning about this organic soil amendment.

Registration fee: $30 before February 3rd. $35 after February 3rd. Free to students with valid ID. 

Build Your Own Bin registration fee: $15 before February 5th. This optional session allows participants to learn more about vermicomposting and construct their own composition bin for use at home, work or the classroom.

To register, call 217-786-4993, email Marnie Record at marnie.record@llcc.edu  or register online at:https://web.extension.illinois.edu/registration/?RegistrationID=11401


  • 9:00-9:30 a.m. Registration
  • 9:30-9:45 a.m.  Welcome
  • 9:45-10:45 a.m.  Keynote: Kay McKeen, Founder and Executive Director, SCARCE-School & Community Assistance for Recycling and Composting Education
  • During the past 23 years, McKeen and the SCARCE Team have educated and inspired hundreds of thousands of people in schools, businesses and community groups to conserve natural resources and reduce their environmental impact on their immediate community and the world. In her keynote address, Kay will provide an overview of composting for business, schools, and communities to ensure the best chance for success. She will share tips and pointers for an effective program, and her expertise for mobilizing people, offering special collections, and tricks to educate users. Her pragmatic, down-to-earth personality offers something for everyone, regardless of the size or scope of compost operation. Kay is a pioneer and well-known champion for waste reduction across the state of Illinois, and has made a significant impact in the numbers and quality of change-makers in the field of compost, recycling, and waste reduction.
  • 10:45-11:00 a.m.  Break
  • 11:00 a.m.-noon   Breakout Session I
    • A. Getting Started – Backyard/Small Scale Compost, Jennifer Fishburn, Extension Educator, Horticulture, University of Illinois     Extension. A brief discussion will be held on the basics of composting.  The remainder of the presentation will include information on compost on-line tools and websites, tips on speeding up the compost process, and how to know when your compost is ready.
    • B. Taking Compost to the Next Level – How to Understand Compost Quality,Duane Friend, Extension Educator, Energy and Environmental Stewardship, University of Illinois Extension. Not all compost is the same. This session covers the parameters of compost quality, compost testing labs and what they will provide, simple compost tests that can be done at home, and troubleshooting compost scenarios.
    •  C. Vermicomposting at the University of Illinois Sustainable Student Farm, Zack Grant, Manager/Director of the Sustainable Student Farm, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.Covering an overview of the student farm’s vermicomposting system, this session will review the metrics of the farm’s operation, facility construction, management, and compost use.
  • Noon-1:00 p.m. Lunch
  • 1:00-2:30 p.m.  Breakout Session II
    • A. Composting for the Backyard and Community Gardener, Michael A. Richter, M.A., Gardens Coordinator, genHkids. This beginner track educates on the scientific background of composting, highlighting how billions of unseen life and countless symbiotic relationships contribute to nutrient recycling.  We will discuss the various ways of building compost bins, amending soils, and the promotion of composting as waste reduction systems for your specific situation. A hands-on bin building demonstration will be included.
    • B. Science of Compost for Quality Soils, Leslie Cooperband, Co-owner, Prairie Fruits Farm and Creamery. Examine the compost  effects on soil quality including the physical, chemical, and biological properties to learn how to grow healthier, more abundant, and  higher yielding plants. In addition, learn how to use compost in a variety of ways depending on your goals.
    • C. Vermicomposting Basics and Build Your Own Bin ($15 materials fee required to attend), 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.
  • 2:30-3:00 p.m.  Q & A Panel
    • Last chance to ask final questions, and hear final thoughts and reflections from today’s presenters.

The symposium will be located at the Trutter Center at Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield. The address is 5250 Shepherd Rd., Springfield, IL 62794. For driving directions, please visit www.llcc.edu/greencenter. All parking lots are free and open to symposium attendees.

Included in the Vermicomposting Basics workshop, participants will be able to build their own worm bin. The cost for the workshop is $15. Attendees will have the opportunity to build their own vermi-compost bin for the home, office, or classroom. The workshop includes the take-home materials (including worms) necessary to begin composting and provides information on caring for a worm composting bin. Symposium attendance is not required to attend the BYOB workshop.

A variety of composting books will be available for purchase.

Businesses or organizations related to composting or gardening are invited to exhibit at the symposium. Exhibitor space is $55, which includes one registration to the symposium (registration only; BYOB fee not included).


For information on where to find accommodations, visit www.llcc.edu/greencenter or call 271-786-2407.

Sponsored by a Partnership of Lincoln Land Community College, University of Illinois Extension, Illinois Stewardship Alliance, Illinois Recycling Association, Illinois Department of Agriculture, Slow Food Springfield, genHkids, and City of Springfield. For more information, call 217-786-4993 or email marnie.record@llcc.edu.

To register online, visit: https://web.extension.illinois.edu/registration/?RegistrationID=11401