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Why compost?

1. Compost provides balanced nutrition for plants

2. Humus holds nutrients and releases them gradually

3. Compost builds good soil structure in both sandy and clayey soil

4.  Humus helps buffer soil pH

5.  Compost holds 5 times its weight in water

6.  Composting closes a cycle, returning valuable nutrients

7.  The end product is greater than the sum of the part

​If you would like to volunteer working on teaching how to compost in Lake Forest or Lake Bluff please email

On April 2nd 2022 Green Minds LFLB co-hosted a Compoast Class at Elawa Farms, featuring our Master Composter Marion Cartwright. Click on this link to get the FAQ from the class.

Compost at home

In our attempt to reduce the amount of landfill waste and tax payers money Green Minds LFLB partnered with the City of Lake Forest to promote the sale of Earthmachines.

If you are a Lake Forest resident and would like to purchase an Earthmachine please call 847 810 3542 and the City will deliver it to your home and send you an invoice of $55.

If you are not a Lake Forest resident and would like to purchase an Earth Machine you can pick it up on 800 Field Drive in Lake Forest. Make sure to call 847 810 3542 to reserve it. Payable at pick up.

The City of Lake Forest agreed to use the proceeds towards more recycle bins in our public spaces.

Green Minds LFLB hosted two public Compost at Home Workshops in May 2015. We also ran a Cocktails and Compost event in a local home. In 2016 we continued hosting compost workshops for local organizations such as Newcomers, and we had volunteers stationed at Elawa Farm Market to promote Earth Machines. In 2017 we continue to host compost workshops and have presented at the Lake Forest International Club. If you would like to host a Cocktails & Compost event please email us at

Compost At Home

Written by a Green Minds LFLB member

Recently, composting has risen in popularity as a means of diverting food waste from landfills and creating buckets of decomposing waste to use on lawns. However, composting is nothing new, and it’s not as smelly as it’s made out to be.

Nature has been composting all along. Leaves that fall to the ground, animal waste, and uneaten fruit are all examples of organic matter that go into compost. While lying on the ground rotting, these materials are being broken down into useful materials by decomposers. The end result is a nutrient-rich substance called humus. Humus replenishes soil of vital nutrients that enable plant growth.

Humans are also able to facilitate this natural process. By collecting organic materials in a bucket and adding materials to help in the decomposition process, we are able to create our own hummus, for free.

All compost is made up of three basic ingredients: browns, greens, and water. Browns provide carbon and include twigs and dead leaves; greens provide nitrogen and include grass, food scraps, and coffee grounds; and water helps break down the organic matter. Alternating layers of browns and green in equal parts, combined with the right amount of water, yields the perfect compost. A guideline for compostable items—and what not to use—can be found on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Compost Guide online. For example, do not include dairy products and eggs, meat or seafood, or roots of perennial weeds.

There are several ways to produce compost, with a general reference on the U.S. EPA website. Along with a composting bin, helpful tools include pitchforks, shovels, and a hose with a spray head. Weekly maintenance requires turning the compost and adding water. Compost is ready when the bottom material is dark and rich in color and no food or yard waste remains. Troubleshooting your compost is simple as well; issues such as smell are attributed to an issue at setup, such as too much moisture or insufficient air. Solutions can be found on the U.S. EPA website.

Composting is useful because it both produces a useful product and reuses waste that is otherwise sent to landfills. Using compost on your lawn and garden enriches the soil by retaining more water and suppressing pests and disease. Additionally, compost increases production of beneficial bacteria and fungi that break down organic material into humus, nutrient-filled material. More nutrients in your soil reduce the need for chemical fertilizer, resulting in cost savings. Finally, diverting waste from landfills reduces the volume of methane emissions from landfills. Composting your waste, therefore, lowers your carbon footprint.

Compost ready for use can be applied like mulch, soil amendment, or lawn top dressing. For example, top dressing is often applied in the early spring weeks or in the fall. Spread one to three inches of compost onto your lawn and rake and water it in. The soil will work its way through the grass blades and augment the soil.


3 LFHS students volunteering for Green Minds LFLB, selling compost bins at Elawa Farmers Market June 2016

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