Organic Vegetable Farm

Composting together for a more sustainable Northern Virginia


Come learn about composting

Saturday, May 8 at the Balls Ford Road Compost facility, 13000 Balls Ford Road, Manassas, VA

Join Prince William County Solid Waste Division, Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners, and Freestate Farms for a socially distant Compost Awareness Day event on Saturday, May 8 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Masks are required.)

Volunteers from the VA Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners will share materials on how and why to use compost, as well as how to compost at home. Event visitors can also drop off food scraps. Freestate Farms will provide a free compost sample in your own bucket; compost bins and buckets will also be available for purchase.


The Compost Story

Learn how composting can be a regenerating solution for restoring the earth

Image by Patricia Valério

What is composting?

Composting is nature’s way of recycling its old, organic materials--like plants, branches and leaves, and food--and turning them into a natural, rich fertilizer that feeds soils and plants. 

Anything that grows will eventually break down, or decompose, into its most basic parts. Using today’s technology and science, there are a variety of ways that we can speed up the composting process by providing an ideal environment for the bacteria, fungi, and other organisms that break down the organic materials. In NOVA, food and yard waste can be recycled at industrial-scale composting facilities, community-composting systems, or even in your backyard.


Composting has many powerful environmental benefits

Composting food and yard waste and using compost in gardens creates a great win-win for the environment and us. Separately listing the benefits of composting is a great way to begin learning how compost benefits us and the environment. The reason it is one of the best ways for individuals to address climate change is because the benefits are so interconnected and yet it is so simple to do!

Landfill Management

Reduce landfill waste

EPA studies show that food scraps and garden waste make up more than 30 percent of what we throw away. This not only takes up expensive and limited space in our landfills but it is harmful for the environment.

Image by Rodion Kutsaev

Reduce greenhouse gases

When compostable waste is put in a landfill, it does not have access to oxygen as it decomposes and so releases methane. Methane gas is 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide (CO2) in the first two decades after its release, and 25 times greater than CO2 over a 100-year period. In contrast, composting the same food and yard waste gives it access to oxygen, like it would on a forest floor, and prevents the emission of methane gas.

Black Soil

Improve soil health

Compost adds important organic matter to our soils that help with immediate and long-term soil health and plant growth. Compost contains many essential and secondary nutrients needed by plants and yards. Instead of using synthetic fertilizers that contain harmful chemicals, research shows that compost will increase soil productivity, resiliency, and water-holding capacity.

Garden Hose Sprinkler

Conserve water

Compost can hold up to 20 times its weight in water, so we don’t have to water as much or as frequently. This is a great way to save time and money, and gives us more time to enjoy our gardens and lawns.


Protect the Chesapeake Bay

All of the water from our roofs, yards, and paved surfaces ends up in the Chesapeake Bay. This includes all of the fertilizers, pesticides, or car oil / grease that the water might contain. Compost can retain and/or break down these pollutants and is frequently used in Stormwater Best Management Practices.