Linda Bilsens Brolis

Linda Bilsens Brolis

Linda Bilsens Brolis

Speaker | Institute for Local Self-Reliance

Davis, WV |

Linda Bilsens Brolis is the Senior Project Manager for ILSR’s Composting for Community Initiative. Linda has managed ILSR’s Neighborhood Soil Rebuilders Composter Training Program since 2014 and led the development of ILSR’s Community Composting 101 Online Certificate Course. She also leads ILSR’s work advancing on-farm composting and its participation in the Million Acre Challenge, a collaborative focused on expanding the implementation of regenerative soil health practices in Maryland and the Chesapeake Region. Linda is a certified Compost Facility Operator for the state of Maryland and has trained with the US Composting Council, the University of Maryland Extension Service, O2 Compost, and the internationally renowned Luebke family in Austria. Linda has a B.S. degree in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Session Code: B3

Track: Policy

Session Name: Compost in Agriculture: Addressing Climate Change, Carbon Cycling, and So Much More

Session Time: Wednesday, Jan 25, 4:15 to 5:45 PM

Presentation Title: Why On-Farm Composting Matters & How to Expand it

Presentation Description: Increased support for composting on farms is critical to both creating a more resilient composting infrastructure and for making high-quality compost more accessible to farmers who want to use it to improve the health of their soils.
ReFED estimates that 21% of food waste produced in the US, representing 17 million tons, is generated on farms and that most of that food is left in the fields to be tilled into the soil. While this concerning number points to a need for significant and systemic overhaul of our food production system, on-farm composting can be a tool for farms to more effectively recycle the nutrients embodied in surplus produce based on the needs of their soils.
On-farm composting can also aid communities in meeting their food scrap diversion goals while also improving farm profitability. Agricultural compost use provides myriad benefits ranging from improved soil health and water quality, increased crop production and carbon sequestration, and greater farm and food system resilience. This presentation will cover the benefits of and considerations for on-farm composting, plus examples from around the US and abroad of policies and programs that are successfully promoting on-farm composting and the use of compost on agricultural land.