International Compost Awareness Week

2022 ICAW poster

The Illinois Food Scrap & Composting Coalition (IFSCC) proudly joins individuals around the U.S. to celebrate International Compost Awareness Week (ICAW). ICAW is the largest and most comprehensive education initiative of the compost industry.  Our lineup aims to encourage and celebrate composting generally while highlighting compost use on farms.

We created a list of follow up resources from 2022’s ICAW HERE.

Stay tuned for more info regarding this year!

In addition to the events below, members of our 2022 ICAW Planning Team curated Recipe for Regeneration Cookbooks to celebrate compost and raise awareness of its necessary ingredients for all audiences.

Download your copy HERE and HERE.

Compost Poster Images from SWALCO HERE.


The Mike Nowak with Peggy Malecki Radio Show on YouTube

Save Our Soil’s VytasPabedinskas, SWALCO’s Merleanne Rampale and the Vernon Hills Park District talked about a USDA grant funded project with compost regenerating our Illinois soils to grow nutritious food. Watch on YouTube HERE.

Vermont Organics Recycling Summit Keynote Speaker: Finian Makepeace from Kiss the Ground

Thank you to our friends at the Vermont Organics Recycling Summit for including Illinois in your virtual events. What an engaging presentation. Watch on YouTube HERE.

Compost Gift Back with Collective Resource Compost

Collective Resource had a successful in-person compost event at The Talking Farm in Skokie

Illinois Farmer Expert Panel

ICAW Planning Team member, Theresa Johnston joined Bona Heinsohn from the Cook County Farm Bureau to talk with farmers about regenerative agriculture and moderated a discussion around each of their farms, crops, operations and compost use.

Watch on YouTube HERE

IFSC's ICAW Kickoff Program

Hear compost recipes we cooked up from IFSC’s Board Chair Benjamin Krumstok, USCC’s Liaison/IFSC Treasurer John Lardner, and ICAW Planning Team member, Vytas Pabedinskas.

Watch on YouTube HERE.

On-Farm Composter Tours

Spectacular videos and a lively Q&A highlight the benefits of regenerative agriculture and composting with ICAW Planning Team member, Kate Caldwell.

Watch on YouTube HERE.

Recipe for Regeneration: COMPOST!

IFSCC ICAW Planning Team Spotlights

Kate Caldwell – Backyard Composter – ICAW Co-Chair

Kate was our connection to securing The Mike Nowak Show with Peggy Malecki, Christiansen Farms and Tulip Tree Gardens events. Kate started composting in the early 90’s because she realized from the 70’s when she was a teenager and Earth Day and other notable environmental impacts were on the rise that she wanted to do something to fix everything. Composting was the answer! Composting is attainable and the best way to strive towards zero waste and restoring soil health. Kate earned a Masters Degree in Environmental Biology in 1994 and worked at the Forest Preserve District of Will County for 20 years doing native landscape restoration and nature interpretation. “Plants, soil and zero food waste are a daily practice for me. And now I feel like I have found my people with the IFSC.”

Theresa Johnston – Metropolitan Water Reclamation District 

Theresa co-moderated the Illinois Farmer Expert Panel. She received her Ph.D. in Environmental Toxicology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a B.S. and M.S. in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences with focuses in resource ecology, soil science, and urban ecology at the University of Illinois. Dr. Johnston now works in biosolids research and outreach as a Senior Environmental Soil Scientist at the MWRD. Her research focus at the MWRD is application of biosolids and restoration of native soils using biosolids.


Liz Kunkle – Collective Resource Compost

Liz is normalizing the use of finished compost during ICAW for any type of crop, victory garden or soil rehabilitation project. She is the founder and president of Go Green Winnetka, a Winnetka Environmental and Forestry Commissioner, and a Zero Waste Consultant for Collective Resource Compost. She is Co-Chair of the IFSC Policy Committee and a member of the Communications and Education Committees. She is all about reducing, diverting, and composting food and other organic waste all the time.

Vytas Pabedinskas – Save Our Soil

Vytas took the IFSC through the Recipe for Regeneration: Compost theme during our kick off program and touched on aspects of compost with all types of agriculture. He earned a master’s degree in soil science from the University of Arizona where he researched the use of compost and compost tea on turfgrass.  He has been organizing composting events with local schools, colleges, and park districts; helping teachers reopen greenhouses and school gardens; working on waste audits to address the general issue of waste diversion; and assisting local urban farms improve soils. He currently participates on the Market Development Committee for the IFSC and also participates on a committee for the Soil Science Society of America, promoting soils and consolidating educational materials.

Merleanne Rampale – SWALCO – ICAW Co-Chair

Merleanne was a guest on the Mike Nowak Show with Peggy Malecki and spotlighted efforts of a 2 year USDA grant – Community Compost and Food Waste Reduction Project. Merleanne has been a long-time champion of the many benefits of composting and started gardening and composting with her father when she was very young, growing a variety of vegetables and herbs, flower gardens and fruit trees.  She works with municipalities and a variety of community groups and organizations on food waste diversion as well as other initiatives, as she directs outreach, education and a number of programs for the agency.  At SWALCO and the LC Forest Preserve’s annual Compost Bin, Rain Barrel and Native Plant Sale, (and elsewhere) she has encouraged and instructed many a new backyard composter.  She has also given numerous in person and virtual presentations on compost, composting and food waste diversion.