Frederick Compost Summit (May 22 at Fox Haven Farm)

Frederick is a beautiful place to work, live, or visit. Covered bridges, Civil War History, Gambrill State Park, Carroll Creek Promenade, and an astonishing amount of productive farmland as well as gorgeous back-yard garden tours. This beautiful county has experienced a steady 30% population increase for the past three decades and will likely continue as more citizens fall in love with our beautiful home. This population growth has brought us more friends and family, more customers, and more jobs. Unfortunately this also means more and more waste.

The waste problem in our state, county, and city has been the topic of many discussions over the past few years. Neighborhood green teams are organizing to make landfill alternatives like recycling and composting more available. Frederick County has made great progress with the “Solid Waste – What’s Next” process to develop a long term solid waste management plan that proposes many viable landfill alternatives.

Small businesses have taken it upon themselves to contribute to the cause by adopting TerraCycle programs and composting their food waste. The small startup Key City Compost was started this year by myself and two other Frederick citizens with hopes to contribute to the long term waste management solution by offering composting services to citizens, businesses, and events.

On May 22nd, members from all of these groups are gathering at Fox Haven Learning Center and Organic Farm in Jefferson, MD to have an open discussion about the future of waste management with a focus on composting. The objective is not to echo the discussion that is occurring at the state, county, or city level, but to bring them all together in the presence of a diverse audience.

In this public setting, they hope to give stakeholders like farmers and small business a platform to speak about how they can serve and be served by the options selected in our long term waste management plans.

Speakers will include regulators from the Maryland Department of Environment, Frederick County, and Montgomery County, who will discuss county solid waste planning, zoning and siting issues, and Maryland composting regulations; as well as presentations by generators of food scraps who are currently collecting materials; farmers who would like to expand on-farm composting; and experts from the Institute of Local Self-Reliance‘s Compost Makes $en$e and Neighborhood Soil Rebuilders project.

I am confident that a successful composting program is critical to both the financial and environmental success of our home here in Frederick, Maryland. We currently mix all of our solid waste together (trash + food scraps) and truck it to out of state landfills. Someone is getting paid for this, and it’s likely not the citizens of Frederick.

If composting was successfully organized to be managed and processed locally, the cost, but also the profit, would be realized by the citizens of Frederick. Add to that the addition of several tons per year of beautiful finished compost, and our agricultural system will be more financially and environmentally resilient. Far too frequently our local farms are fertilized by materials trucked in from far out of state locations.

On an environmental level, the compostables (food scraps) we toss are destined for the landfill where they produce greenhouse gasses, such as methane, by the ton. This methane is a potent greenhouse gas (84 times more potent than cO2) and when released from a landfills, serves us in no way.

Composting on the other-hand separates our compostables from the landfill and creates a rich end product that makes our soil more drought tolerant, more efficient for food production, and assists in sequestering (depositing) atmospheric carbon into the soil. Basically, it reverses greenhouse gas buildup in our atmosphere thus reducing climate change.

Because the composting culture and practice is so young in Frederick, our farmers do not have access to our food waste streams and cannot make large volumes of compost on their own. Relying on far away compost producers stresses the environmental and financial integrity of our home. Frederick must cultivate a more productive composting culture. One that will benefit our citizens, our food, our water, our air, and our checkbooks.

To help cultivate a strong composting and waste management culture, please join us in the discussion at the Frederick Compost Summit on May 22nd at Fox Haven Farm in Jefferson, MD.


Fox Haven Farm & Retreat Center
3630 Poffenberger Road
Jefferson, Maryland 21755


Monday, May 22, 2017
8:30 AM – 12:30 PM

Frederick Compost Summit on Facebook

Frederick Compost Summit on Eventbrite
(you can find a link to a map on this page)

A donation of $5 per attendee is requested. This event is being sponsored by the Sierra Club Catoctin Group, Bar-T Mountainside Ranch, and Seed of Life Nurseries and also receiving support from the Frederick County Farm Bureau, Frederick County Master Gardeners, and the Frederick County Office of Economic Development. Contact with questions.

Frederick Compost Workgroup on Facebook

Key City Compost on the web

Fox Haven welcomes anyone interested in helping out with gardening and special projects throughout the year. Volunteering at Fox Haven is a great way for high school students to get community service hours (and eat fresh food from the gardens)!

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Fox Haven Farm and Learning Center on the web

Fox Haven Farm and Learning Center on Facebook

Fox Haven Farm and Learning Center on Twitter