Athena Bradley

Athena Bradley

Athena Bradley

Speaker and Workshop Instructor | Northeast Recycling Council (NERC)

Brattleboro, VT | athena@nerc.org

USCC Member

Athena Lee Bradley is the Programs Manager for Windham Solid Waste Management District and a contractor for the Northeast Recycling Council (NERC). Athena organizes and is an instructor for organics and food scrap management, composting, and manure management trainings, as well as provides technical assistance to businesses, public agencies, schools, communities, and households. She has written several organics management guidance documents and numerous other instructional materials. Athena attended the Maine Compost School and other compost operator trainings; she has a B.S. in Environmental Studies and M.A. in Environmental Policy. She is currently the Project Lead for NERC’s USDA Rural Utilities Services funded project – “Implementing Rural Community Composting in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont.

Session Name: Rural and Urban Community Composting

Presentation Title: Community Composting: Building Resiliency in Rural and Small Town Communities

Presentation Time: Thursday, January 30, 2:00 to 3:30 PM

Presentation Description: Community composting presents scalable food diversion options for managing food scraps/organics within a community. The strategy builds community resilience and lets residents put sustainability into practice on a local level, by diverting food scraps from landfills and providing training in food waste composting.

Our session addresses the role that these small-scale operations can play in rural and small town communities. This includes: working to create a community of home composters and community groups to divert a significant portion of organics, as well as educating and involving their wider communities in learning about food scrap diversion, the benefits of composting, and the uses of compost.

An overview of the technical aspects to community composting will be provided, including: 1) Siting and planning small scale operations—locations include community gardens, schools, businesses, churches, food pantries, farms, recreational areas, housing developments; 2) Systems—from tumblers to worm bins; 3) Sizing operations to stay within state regulations and how this translates into site and system needs, capacity, volunteer/staff duties, etc.; 4) Sourcing the right materials; 5) Ensuring success: from site inspection to process management and maintenance.
“System Support” is vital in community composting success. Panelists will address compost team/staff recruitment, retention, duties, and training; communication (team, site, signage, etc.); identifying community or neighborhood resources, strengths, opportunities, and challenges; building community support and good neighbor practices; and fundraising.

While there are many similarities in common between urban and rural community compost sites, there are also differences. Our session will discuss specific issues, needs, benefits, and solutions for rural and small town community composting. These include identifying volunteers and resources in low population areas, overcoming lack of awareness about the importance of diverting food scraps, concerns over attracting wildlife and system options and best management practices that address and provide solutions to effectively keep wildlife out.

Co-Author: Natasha Duarte, B.A. M.S., Composting Association of Vermont (CAV), natasha@compostingvermont.org


Workshop Title: Community Food Scrap Composting—Path To Success

Time: Tuesday, January 28, 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM

Workshop Summary: This is designed to be a hands-on training for community food scrap composting. The technical aspects of community composting to be covered include: 1) Siting and planning small scale operations—locations include community gardens, schools, businesses, churches, food pantries, farms, recreational areas, housing developments; 2) “System Support”—compost team/staff recruitment, retention, duties, and training; communication (team, site, signage, etc.); identifying community or neighborhood resources, strengths, opportunities, and challenges; building community support and good neighbor practices; and fundraising; 3) Community Scale Compost Systems—from tumblers to worm bins; 4) Sizing operations to stay within state regulations and how this translates into site and system needs, capacity, volunteer/staff duties, etc.; 5) Sourcing the right materials; and 6) Ensuring success: BMPs – fromsite inspection to process management and maintenance.