Skip to main content
an array of compost bins waits at a rowing event

Compost IS happening… in Sarasota County

Compost is happening in Sarasota County.

The UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County composting program is using the power of sports to influence change. The composting team set up 42 composting bins at the June 9-11 USRowing Youth National Championships, at Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota. The project helped raise awareness of composting among athletes and spectators by showing how quickly and easily anyone can compost.

array of composting bins at us rowing youth national championships

An array of composting bins designed by UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County and dispersed across Nathan Benderson Park, site of the June 9-11 USRowing National Youth Championships. [CREDIT: UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County]

Extension volunteers assisted in collecting food waste material in mulch-lined composting bins, specially constructed in the park’s maintenance area. One unique aspect of the composting project is that the food waste is collected and processed onsite, reducing unnecessary environmental impacts. Additionally, composted material resulting from the project will be reused within the park.

This event built upon UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County’s first composting project at the Florida Scholastic Rowing Association championships, on April 29 and 30. The size and scope of that project included the use of six composting bins placed among the food court, team competitor tents, and general traffic areas. The collections, though controlled and small, still diverted more than 150 pounds of food waste, creating approximately one cubic yard of material when mixed in the mulch compost bins.

The food waste collection and diversion program marked the first of its kind in the United States for an organized rowing event. The effort is part of a collaborative partnership between Sarasota County’s Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources and Solid Waste departments, Suncoast Aquatic and Nature Center Associates, Inc. (SANCA), and Nathan Benderson Park. The ultimate goal is to provide composting for the 2017 World Rowing Championships, set for Sept. 24 through Oct. 1 at Benderson Park.

7 Comments on “Compost IS happening… in Sarasota County

  1. Now that Sunshine Community Compost is charging monthly for compost drop-off, are there any other alternatives? We can’t do home composting, I can’t find anyone doing home composting in my neighborhood to add my compost to, & we don’t produce quite enough compost to justify the monthly cost (and the 30 minute drive each way from South Sarasota—Palmer Ranch area) to Sunshine Community Gardens. I found a local community garden but they require membership to donate your compost. I was able to drop off once at Orange Blossom Community Garden but when I went back the next week the gates were locked. I’m really trying hard to compost! Thank you for any help you can offer.

    • Hi, Erika. We have share your post with our waste reduction agent, Randall Penn, and will post here any reply he might share. In the meantime, you might want to check out the “Let’s Make Some Black Gold!” composting classes that Randy leads, which delve into home composting options and also offer the option to purchase a start-up GeoBin (the class is free; the bin costs $25). The next event is Feb. 17, via Zoom, and you can learn more and register by visiting Thanks, UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County

  2. Are there locations where I can drop off my composting in the sout end of Sarasota?

  3. Please tell me about the Home Compost Program in Sarasota County. How can I get information? It was featured on channel 7 ABC news in Sarasota, FL.