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Welcome to the 2024 Backyard Compost Challenge! As we kick off the Challenge, your Boxerwood project coordinators want to extend a heartfelt and excited welcome, share brief introductions, and wish you luck on your way to beautiful compost.

Over the past week, we’ve met more than a hundred folks who came to Boxerwood to pick up their composters, scales, and pails. You braved the rain and wind – and even some flurries! – to get your equipment, and everyone arrived with smiles. 

When you came to pick up your composter, you likely interacted with me (Catherine) or Elise. We are your Compost Challenge support team for 2024, and we’d like to introduce ourselves. My name is Catherine Epstein, and I have been working as a Boxerwood environmental educator since 2022. Prior to teaching, the work I’ve done on farms and in restaurants has taught me the vital importance of composting for healthy food systems. I am thrilled to help lead the Backyard Compost Challenge this year and to work with all of you to strengthen and nourish our own community’s food system.

While this is my first year helping with the Challenge, it’s an encore for Boxerwood Education Director Elise Sheffield, whose grant-writing launched the project in 2021. The success of that Challenge (a 98% participant completion rate!) enabled our local municipalities to receive awards from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) each year since, and it’s those grants that purchase all the kits you now have at home. Thank you to the local offices of solid waste management and the cities of Lexington and Buena Vista and the County of Rockbridge for this great partnership.

Next week, we will share what we have learned about you from the pre-project surveys, and we’ll start building up our composting community. Please make sure you have completed that survey (if not, please click HERE).

Most importantly, please click the green button below to access the simple data upload page. Thank you again for participating in this project. We look forward to the adventure ahead.

PS: We’ve created a special Backyard Compost Challenge Facebook Group! On this page, you can ask and answer questions, share photos, and post updates. Click here, or search for “Backyard Compost Challenge 2024” in Facebook.

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