Philadelphia Community Compost Manual

A resource for residents, community gardens, and farms operating compost projects in the City of Philadelphia.


Launched in 2022, the Philadelphia Community Compost Manual is a how-to guide for residential and community composting in Philadelphia. The manual is a step-by-step guide for anyone interested in operating neighborhood-scale and community-led composting systems that are affordable and easy to build. 

The publication of the Community Compost Manual documents the training provided within  Farm Philly’s Community Compost Network (launched in 2019). The Community Compost Network aims to encourage community-driven composting by providing technical support, tools, best practices and standards, education and hands-on training for participating community gardens and farm sites. The Manual includes the information gained during the first two years of working with non-profit partner Institute for Local Self Reliance and the community sites selected in the Network.

Who is this Manual for?

Anyone interested in local and community-scale composting, including home composting, can benefit from reading this manual. Its primary focus, though, is on community garden sites interested in providing neighborhood participants with an opportunity to compost their food scraps and, in doing so, make finished compost that can be used to help grow healthy gardens, plants, and trees. This manual is a guide for community groups, community gardens or a collective of residents who want to create their own community-led composting sites.

Goals of the Community Compost Manual:

  • Providing examples and practices for initiating, implementing and maintaining a community-led composting program in a public site
  • Supporting the City of Philadelphia and neighborhoods to reduce their local food waste 
  • Sharing and exchanging with gardeners and residents the environmental advantages of community composting

In order for this work to be effective and accessible, City agencies must support local residents becoming more familiar with the basic principles and systems of composting. City agencies must also work together to make city-supported composting a sustainable reality for Philadelphia. The Community Composting Network and this subsequent manual are supporting residents to move the city towards accessible composting city-wide. 

This training manual was created in partnership with Farm Philly, Circle Compost, Alex Aldrich Barrett, and the Institute for Local Self-Reliance.