Learn composting basics

BURLINGTON — Backyard composting is a cost-efficient, natural way to dispose of food scraps and yard waste that benefits lawns and gardens by providing a source of nutrient-rich matter.

You can learn about this process through the University of Vermont (UVM) Extension’s Master Composter Course, which starts Sept. 10. In addition to providing “recipes” for making compost, the course covers the biology of composting, site and bin selection, troubleshooting and Vermont’s Universal Recycling Law, among other topics.

Two tracks will be offered, a self-paced option and one for certification as a Vermont Master Composter volunteer. Vermonters pay $50 for either track although if seeking volunteer certification, an application and Zoom interview are required before acceptance into the program. Out-of-state residents may only register for the self-paced course for a fee of $150.

The volunteer application and registration information can be found at To request a disability-related accommodation to participate, call Beret Halverson at (802) 656-1777 by Aug. 20.

If accepted for the volunteer certification program, you must participate in online sessions, offered on consecutive Thursdays, Sept. 16-Oct. 28, from 6-7 p.m. You also will need to complete weekly assignments and attend an in-person composting workshop.

Volunteer certification will require a commitment of 10 hours on an approved composting project within two years of completing the course. To maintain status, you will need a minimum of five hours annually in future years.

If you register for the self-paced track, you will have access to the same course materials and pre-recorded lectures. You can work at your own pace, but you must finish the course by Dec. 15. No volunteer commitment is required. Upon successful completion of the course, you will receive a Vermont Home Composter certificate.

The course is sponsored by the UVM Extension Community Horticulture Program with financial support from the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources. If you have questions, call (802) 656-9562 or email


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