Cal Poly Professional Development Compost Training and Establishment of the Cal Poly Compost Project

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2011: $57,582.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2012
Region: Western
State: California
Principal Investigator:
Hunter Francis
CAFES Center for Sustainability


Not commodity specific


  • Soil Management: composting


    In the fall of 2011, the CAFES Center for Sustainability received funding from USDA Western SARE to establish the Cal Poly Compost Project and to conduct a comprehensive professional training in large-scale composting together with the Maine Compost School. With this funding, we were able to develop a successful training program integrating the award-winning Maine curriculum with Cal Poly’s range of expertise and resources, and to establish a number of collaborative partnerships that has resulted in research and educational programs within the Cal Poly Compost Project that will extend far beyond the timeframe of this grant.

    Project objectives:

    • Establish a “compost consortium” tasked to develop a Cal Poly Compost Project (CP2)
      Conduct a pre-training assessment of Cal Poly resources capable of supporting education in composting
      Develop training curriculum integrating Cal Poly and local expertise into the traditional Maine Compost School curriculum
      Promotion of the workshop using the extensive on-line outreach vehicle the Center has developed
      Hosting of the week-long training program at Cal Poly in spring 2012. Those successfully completing an optional examination receive a “Certificate of Technical Ability.”
      A day-long field trip during the training to visit Central Valley agricultural composting operations
      Distribution, collection and compilation of participant surveys
      A post-training debriefing conducted by the Cal Poly consortium with Maine staff and local collaborators
      A web-based directory of composting resources for Central California to be posted on the Center website
      Identification of opportunities for future student projects, research and funding
      Conduct a post-training assessment and devise a plan for the Cal Poly Compost Project and future use of the Cal Poly Compost Unit as an educational and professional development training venue
    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.