Sustaining Partner Spotlight: Midwest Organics Recycling

IFSC is grateful to Midwest Organics Recycling (MOR) for being a Gold level Sustaining Partner. Contributions from Sustaining Partners help further the impact of IFSC's efforts to support and grow composting infrastructure in Illinois. Take a moment to learn more about MOR.Midwest Organics Recycling logo

Midwest Organics Recycling (MOR) is a composting operation located 40 miles north of Chicago in Wauconda Township in Lake County, IL. MOR was established to explore the environmental benefits associated with manure composting while attempting to sustain the viability of one of the last dairy operations in a quickly urbanizing county. Their efforts showed composting to be a viable, more environmentally friendly solution to dairy manure management, and resulted in the development of Organimix brand compost.

Organimix is made from landscape waste such as leaves, grass, and brush, cow manure, and food scraps. It can be used as a soil amendment, lawn dressing, potting soil component or mulch. This value-added compost is certified by the U.S. Compost Council’s Seal Testing of Assurance Program, and is listed by the Organic Material Review Institute (OMRI) for use in organic production. MOR sells Organimix at its facility as well as at select garden centers, nurseries, and some Midwest Whole Foods locations. MOR provides composting services for landscape waste and food scraps, counting municipalities, grocery stores, schools, colleges and universities among its clientele.

Organimix logo, calling the product "King of Compost" and featuring the head of a black and white cow wearing a yellow crown against a green background

By collecting and processing food scraps into a valuable compost product, MOR exemplifies the type of services IFSC hopes to see proliferate throughout the state of Illinois. In addition to being IFSC members and Sustaining Partners, Andy Klink, MOR Site Manager, serves on IFSC’s Market Development Committee

"There are many resources that go into growing food, and not only is important that these resources are not wasted, but also repurposed for a higher use.  We pride ourselves on being the only permitted site in Lake County to accept food scraps. It has allowed Lake County’s efforts in food scrap composting to get some traction. We look forward to being a catalyst for food scrap composting and finished compost use in IL along with the IFSC." --Andy Klink, MOR Site Manager

To learn more about Midwest Organics Recycling, visit their web site at http://www.compostmatters.com/. Their composting facility is located between Bonner and Case at 29353 N Darrell Road in Wauconda Township, IL. Questions can be addressed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Member Accomplishment: DeKalb Co. Composts Festival Pumpkins

Our thanks to IFSC member Michelle Gibson of the DeKalb County Health Department for sharing this success story and writing this blog post!

Illinois is the largest producer of pumpkins in the United States.  Every year Sycamore, Illinois hosts their annual Pumpkin Festival, a celebration of pumpkins. The weeklong festival presents a great opportunity to compost pumpkins after Halloween.

The Sycamore Pumpkin Festival dates back to 1956, when Wally Thurow, who is known as Sycamore’s "Mr. Pumpkin," began displaying a few decorated pumpkins on his front lawn to turn Halloween into a time of fun and creativity. In 1962, through the efforts of Mr. Pumpkin and the Sycamore Lions Club, the Sycamore Pumpkin Festival became an official celebration in Sycamore.

Every year, the Pumpkin Festival unites more than 30 DeKalb County non-profit groups working to provide a weekend of Halloween fun for all. The Courthouse lawn is the center of activities, including thousands of decorated pumpkins on display, there are also arts and craft shows, a house walk, a pie eating contest, a carnival, a fun fair, a 10K race and other events. The festival is concluded by a giant parade on Sunday afternoon.

DeKalb County (where Sycamore is located) saw a tremendous opportunity in Pumpkin Fest to collect and compost pumpkins.  The DeKalb County Health Department’s Solid Waste and Recycling Program teamed up with Waste Management to make sure the pumpkins were composted.   Over 1,100 pumpkins were collected at Pumpkin Fest in 2016. Waste Management also stationed three collection containers throughout the city of DeKalb for residents to recycle their pumpkins.

Over 8 tons of pumpkins were collected saving 1,720 gallons of water.  It was a successful first step for DeKalb County towards their Zero Waste Goals. DeKalb County will continue to compost pumpkins, each year after Halloween and work on other waste diversion efforts as well.   

large group of decorated pumpkins on the ground in a town square at feet of man with microphone

Member Accomplishment: Little Village Environmental Justice Organization Hosts Composting Workshops

Community members adding compost to a garden plotThe mission of the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO) of Chicago, IL is to organize with the community to accomplish environmental justice in Little Village and achieve the self-determination of immigrant, low-income, and working-class families. Their vision is to build a sustainable community that promotes the healthy development of youth and families, provides economic justice, and practices participatory democracy and self-determination. The group’s 1.5 acre Semillas de Justicia garden began five years ago, when a strong oil smell was detected emanating from the Troy street site and brought to LVEJO's attention. It was discovered that site was being used to deposit leftover oil barrels. LVEJO organized with Troy street neighbors to demand that this site be cleaned up and transformed into a community garden. Today, the Troy garden blooms with a variety of vegetables, fruits, legumes, and flowers for the enjoyment of the community. The garden is a center for community dinners, bike repair workshops, art classes for children, a Fall Harvest Fest, and several other educational workshops.

LVEJO shared with IFSC their recent experience with offering composting workshops. "Composting at our Semillas de Justicia Community Garden in Little Village wasn't the most efficient at the beginning of the year," a representative noted. "We decided to partner up with NeighborSpace and Nance Klehm to clean up our system and start new in a communal way. We hosted a series of Community Composting 101 workshops that consisted of understanding the basics of composting as it relates to gardening and neighbors waste. We walked around our garden, studied the ways our old system could be improved and highlighted the other different forms of composting already existing at the garden such as our vermicomposting boxes, and our passive dry leaves bin."

"Tclose up of person mending wire around compost binhese series of workshops led to more Semillas gardeners becoming invested in our composting system. Thanks to the Community Composting 101 workshops, we were able to communally repair a 5 Cubic Yard composting bin, along with a couple of smaller bins which has tremendously upgraded our ability to compost food scraps, and yard waste at the Semillas de Justicia Community Garden in a clean, odorless, and efficient way. This educational system is set-up so all Semillas gardeners, including youth, can participate in garden composting all year round. We had between 7 and 15 gardeners present at all Community Composting workshops. The garden went from 3 people actively composting to about 10 who are currently managing our different composting systems."

It’s great to see this community group making composting a more communal effort! If you’re interested in learning more about LVEJO, visit their web site at http://lvejo.org/.

 

multiple people repairing a compost bin

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