On-Farm Composting Webinars

With the goal to advance a circular economy, the Recycling Council of Alberta has launched a project that aims to engage farmers in composting. The RCA has created a guide as an introduction to composting for farmers, ranchers and landowners who may be interested in learning more about the opportunities they have to play a direct role in building processing capacity for organics generated by municipalities and businesses.

Composting allows organic matter and nutrients to be efficiently recycled, and available to benefit agricultural soils that produce food for communities and support local economies. This project aims to connect urban and rural communities, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions created by organic waste.

Two webinars were held to discuss the topic:

An Introduction to On-Farm Composting – Webinar on July 14

Wednesday, July 14, 2021, from 10:00 am to 11:00 am Mountain Time

The RCA hosted a webinar on Wednesday, July 14 at 10 am to share more on the benefits of compost, info about the guide and how farmers can establish on-farm composting operations. Presentations will feature Mike Dorion from Living Soils, John Paul with Transform Compost and Christina Seidel from the RCA. Moderator: Jeannie Bertrand

Download the recording of the webinar (make sure to download the video before watching it – otherwise it may only play the first few minutes in your browser)

Speaker Bios

Jeannie Bertrand – Moderator
Jeannie has been working in solid waste management for over 10 years. She has consulted in the areas of waste diversion, solid waste systems design, market assessments, and has project managed facility designs. She has worked with municipalities, private companies, and waste processors across Canada, as well as with numerous First Nations and Inuit communities. She enjoys engaging with people to understand their needs, and providing support to help improve solid waste management practices.

Jeannie is a registered professional Geologist in Alberta, and holds a degree in Earth Sciences and Business from the University of Alberta. Prior to working in waste management, she spent seven years working as a geologist on mineral exploration projects across Canada.

She is currently leading a team of solid waste professionals with Dillon Consulting, and is working and living in Edmonton.

Mike Dorion aka “The Compost Kid”
I love food!
Grocery stores just can not match the tastiness from my Grandma’s garden. Many people from my generation have missed out on precious skills that were not passed down. We have to find other teachers. Starting with a Gardening class put on by the Calgary Horticulture Society, I became immersed. It continued with my Permaculture Design Certificate, SPIN Farming, Greenhouse Design, Compost Facility Operators Certificate, and mentoring in Soil and Soil Microbiology. I am currently working on my Soil Food Web Advisor role with the Soil Food Web School put on by Elaine Ingham, and sit on the board of Calgary Permaculture Guild.

John Paul
John Paul has been involved with all aspects of composting, compost facility design and compost use for almost 30 years.

John was raised on a dairy farm in British Columbia, has an Agriculture degree from the University of Alberta, and a PhD in soil science from the University of Guelph. He worked as a waste management scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada for seven years.

John has been designing compost facilities since 1998, has taught a compost facility operator course since 2006, authored the Compost Operator Manual, acted as an expert witness in compost related matters, and has participated in development of composting regulation. He is passionate about returning organic matter and nutrients to our soils safely and effectively.

Christina Seidel 
Christina holds a PhD in Engineering Management, a Masters degree in Environmental Design (Environmental Science), as well as a B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering. She operates sonnevera international corp., a waste reduction consulting firm, and is the current Executive Director of the Recycling Council of Alberta. Christina loves rural life, choosing to live on a farm near Bluffton, Alberta, where she and her family raise Warmblood horses, and enjoy many other outdoor activities.

Alberta On-Farm Composting Operators – Webinar on July 27

Tuesday, July 27 from 10:00 am to 11:00 am Mountain Time

The RCA hosted its second composting webinar on Wednesday, July 27 at 10 am that featured profiles on Alberta composting operators with the chance to ask questions about setting up a compost operation. The panellists included John Paul with Transform Compost, Andrea Stroeve-Sawa from Shipwheel Cattle Feeders Ltd., and farmer and composting operator Colby Hansen. Moderator: Jeannie Bertrand

Download the recording of the webinar (make sure to download the video before watching it – otherwise it may only play the first few minutes in your browser)

Speaker Bios

Colby Hansen
Colby operates a mixed farm northwest of Edmonton, growing grain and raising cattle. He is committed to the concept of regenerative agriculture and will be putting AltRoot compost on his land to increase soil health, water retention and production. Hansen plans to run large-scale farm trials on the benefit of compost as fertilizer with research groups like Gateway Research and the University of Alberta.

John Paul
John Paul has been involved with all aspects of composting, compost facility design and compost use for almost 30 years.

John was raised on a dairy farm in British Columbia, has an Agriculture degree from the University of Alberta, and a PhD in soil science from the University of Guelph. He worked as a waste management scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada for seven years.

John has been designing compost facilities since 1998, has taught a compost facility operator course since 2006, authored the Compost Operator Manual, acted as an expert witness in compost related matters, and has participated in development of composting regulation. He is passionate about returning organic matter and nutrients to our soils safely and effectively.

Andrea Stroeve-Sawa
Andrea Stroeve-Sawa is the fourth generation of the Holtman family to manage family owned Shipwheel Cattle Feeders Ltd. Currently, this operation includes a yearling grazing program, 5500 head feedlot, some cropland, some bees, some pasture raised chickens and the operation produces various forms of compost.

Since birth Andrea has been immersed in using the principles of Holistic Management in operating this family farm/ranch. As Owner/Operator, she now faces the unique challenge of staying true to her operation’s holistic goals in the present complex changing agricultural industry.

Andrea is passionate about: using the principles of holistic management; increasing the storage of carbon in her soil; using proper stock handling to heal and maintain healthy animals; including her family in all things agricultural; being a “hands on” mom; and helping to respect and appreciate the presence of women in Agriculture.

This project has been made possible by the Government of Canada and the Government of Alberta through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.