Asheville GreenWorks dishes the dirt on home composting

COMPOST HAPPENS: Asheville GreenWorks AmeriCorps Project Conserve member John Connelly discusses various methods for outdoor and indoor composting, including vermicomposting, at free monthly workshops offered at locations throughout Asheville. Photo by Cindy Kunst

Instead of trashing your potato peels and apple cores, why not put them to work in the garden? To that end, Asheville GreenWorks and Villagers will present a free workshop on reducing food waste and boosting soil nutrition through home composting Sunday, June 3.

Led by GreenWorks AmeriCorps Project Conserve member John Connelly, the free, hourlong program will dig into some tools and techniques for turning kitchen scraps into fertilizer, either outside or indoors. Connelly will talk about how to build a compost bin and where to put it, what goes into good compost and how to keep your compost happening in both the heat and the cold. The workshop will also cover vermicomposting, which employs earthworms for processing food scraps into soil-enriching compost.

The goal of the event, says Connelly, is to offer attendees information that can help them move to a more sustainable lifestyle. “Composting is important for a sustainable environment,” he says. “It’s a great way for individuals to reduce their carbon footprint and recycle nutrients back into the soil.”

Connelly, who has an educational background in environmental engineering, explains that compost not only boosts the health of plants but also “holds water well so it reduces stormwater runoff into our local waterways.”

Turning our uneaten food into fertilizer also benefits the environment by redirecting food waste away from the county landfill and reducing greenhouse gases. “If more people compost at home, we’re sending less waste to the landfill, which conserves landfill space,” he says. “Once our landfill is full, we’ll have to build a new landfill or haul or waste to a different site. Both options would incur more costs for the county.”

Food that’s been dumped at the landfill, he adds, typically breaks down into methane gas, which he describes as “a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.”

Asheville GreenWorks has partnered with the city of Asheville since April 2017 to provide free monthly composting workshops for residents at various locations throughout the area. The date and address for the July program were not available at press time, but updates about it and future events will be posted on Asheville GreenWorks’ Facebook page.

WHAT: Backyard composting workshop
WHERE: Villagers, 278 Haywood Road
WHEN: 5:30-6:30 p.m. Sunday, June 3.

The event is free, but those interested in attending should reserve a ticket at For details, call Villagers at 828-215-9569. For more on Asheville GreenWorks, visit


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About Liz Carey
Liz Carey is a veteran reporter living and working in Upstate SC. For more than 20 years, Liz has covered everything from crooked politicians to quirky characters from Minnesota to Florida and everywhere in between. Currently, she works as a freelance writer. Her latest book, Hidden History of Anderson County, will be released in February 2018. Follow me @lizardcsc

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