Highfields Dissolution and Assets

After undergoing an attempt to restructure the organization and develop new partnerships to overcome financial challenges, the Board of Directors of the Highfields Center for Composting made the difficult decision to dissolve the organization in December 2014. Working with the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund, and using funding provided by the Vermont Community Foundation, between August 2014 and April 30, 2015, Highfields sold its food waste recycling assets–including hauling routes and virtually all capital equipment. The Vermont community wishes to thank the Highfields Center for Composting for its years of outstanding leadership in the service of community composting and universal recycling in Vermont

Preserving Highfields Intellectual Property

With funds from the Block Foundation VSJF contracted with John Antonucci to locate, inventory, and provide electronic copies of all relevant educational materials associated with the Close the Loop Program. On January 5, 2015, the Vermont Community Loan Fund transferred all of Highfields’ intellectual property to the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund. Access to this website was included in the transfer, and VSJF currently provides website administration services to the site.

What to Look for in the Months Ahead

VSJF is committed to making materials developed by Highfields freely available to the public to advance organics management initiatives in Vermont and elsewhere. With guidance from the Food Cycle Coalition, a Cross-Cutting Team of the Farm to Plate Network focused on connecting organics management and Universal Recycling implementation with the food system, VSJF is updating and rebranding resources developed by Highfields. Over the course of the next few months, these materials will be re-uploaded to the website. Additionally, the website will be rebranded as the Food Cycle Coalition website, and organics diversion resources related to source reduction, food rescue, feed for animals, and anaerobic digestion will be added to complement the composting resources developed by Highfields. In doing so, the site will act as an important organics diversion information and resource hub for food system stakeholders and the general public interested in learning more about how they can turn food scraps that would otherwise be wasted into a valuable resource that supports our communities and local food system.

This section of the website maintains the Highfields material in their original form and organization.

The Highfields blog archives can be found here.

The following is the early history of Highfields.

Originally named “The Highfields Institute”, our organization was conceived in 1999 by former dairy farmer Tod Delaricheliere. After successfully composting dairy manure for four years on his family’s farm, Tod aspired to provide assistance to other local dairy farmers in composting their manure and realizing the benefits of composting.

Over the last 10 years we have continued Tod’s efforts targeting dairy farmers and promoting their use of on-farm composting as a manure management practice. We conducted farm visits and surveys of local farms to assess their volumes, their interest, their needs and have provided technical assistance. We established a Compost Demonstration Site in Greensboro, Vermont and began a composting operation utilizing the ingredients commonly found on dairy farms so that farmers and government agencies could learn more about on-farm composting practices.   We began conducting workshops for farmers as well as for agricultural agencies to familiarize them with the process.

As we evolved, we introduced food waste diversion into our efforts, which expanded our target audience to include fruit and vegetable growers, food waste generators, refuse haulers, Solid Waste Districts and local schools and colleges.

As the evolution continued, we began to tackle the issues of slaughter waste and mortality composting. This effort is ongoing and we expanded our workshops to include these topics.

By 2004 we had relocated our Compost Demonstration and Research site to Hardwick, Vermont and continued forging collaborations with policymakers, government agencies, farm associations and university extensions. In 2004 we assisted the Central Vermont Solid Waste Management in the development of the Montpelier Commercial Composting Program.

Since, we have worked on additional food waste composting programs, designed new programs, expanded our workshops to include soil health and other topics, and expanded our direct services program for farmers. We are focused on the expansion of our Compost Demonstration and Research Facility as an educational and research facility.

Our original vision of providing technical educational resources, on composting, to the farming community has expanded to emphasize the broader priority of promoting and advancing soil security in Vermont. Composting of manures and food scraps remain a primary vehicle for regenerating agricultural systems. Our programs and research are focused in this area.