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Compost Operator (Black Dirt Farm)

Organization Black Dirt Farm
Location 393 Stannard Mountain Rd
Greensboro Bend, Vermont 05842

Farm Description

Black Dirt Farm is a diversified family farm, focusing on an integrated enterprise loop based on the decomposer cycle.  Our farm collects roughly 30 tons of discarded food scraps from about 50 businesses and institutions.  Food scraps are delivered to another farm for composting and to our own farm for our own laying hen operation.  We raise the laying hens on a food scrap-based compost for eggs, which are sold to retailers.  What the hens don’t eat we use to make compost and worm castings.  Worm castings are primarily sold to retailers and directly to professional growers.  Compost is largely sold locally in bulk.  In addition to selling these products, we use them to grow produce for market.  We focus our vegetable production on salad greens, tomatoes, micro greens and a small variety of other crops.  Produce is sold to restaurants and local grocers.  

We seek a motivated Compost Operator to join our dynamic team.

Operator Role Overview

The Compost Operator plays a central, multifaceted role in the farm’s composting operation.  The Compost Operator fulfills two primary roles:

1.     Operating our compost collection route, which includes driving and collecting food scraps from business throughout the Northeast Kingdom and Lamoille County.

2.     Managing the composting process on the farm to produce high quality screened compost products.

The Operator’s time will be roughly 50% collection operations, and 50% compost and production.  This position is for 36 hours per week. The operator may be required to work longer days during compost collection as needed. Additional hours may include general farm tasks that are not outlined in this description. 

Food Scrap Collection

We collect discarded food scraps, including vegetables, fruit, meat, dairy and seafood from a variety of businesses and institutions, including grocery stores, restaurants, schools, prisons, nursing homes, hospitals, food processors, and recycling centers.  Our collection routes currently service roughly 50 customers in the townships of Hyde Park, Morrisville, Wolcott, Hardwick, Greensboro, Walden, Danville, St. Johnsbury and Lyndonville, as well as special event locations. The route is growing and may expand to additional towns and locations.  We collect approximately 250 containers of food material each week.

The route is serviced with a one-ton dump truck pulling a 10-yard dump trailer.  Food scraps are collected in 48-gallon, wheeled containers, and tipped into the trailer with a hydraulic lifter.  Each container must be screened for trash contamination.  Any contaminants found in the food scraps are removed by the Operator.  After each container is tipped the Operator washes the container with a hot water pressure washer.  The full compost trailer is tipped at our farm and other farms in the area. Each stop requires starting a generator, hot water pressure washer, and fresh water pump.

Winter presents unique challenges for this operation.  The Operator is often operating in single digit temperatures, actively managing equipment to prevent freezing of wash water, and working to dislodge ‘totesicles’ (food scraps frozen in tote).

Description of Compost Production

When food scraps are tipped here at the farm, they are blended into a compost mix with other materials and fed to hens.  This mixture is removed each week from the hens’ feeding bin and built into free-standing windrows.  These piles are actively managed in order to satisfy required parameters for Organic Certification. A portion of the material is then used to feed worms each week, who turn the product into worm castings (worm manure) in our continuous-flow worm composting system.  The remaining material continues to be thermophilically composted (high temperature, bacterially-driven composting) in either windrows or an Aerated Static Pile (ASP) system for sale or field application.  We use our ASP system to recover heat for our greenhouse operation. 

Find a full job description on our website. To apply, please send cover letter, resume, and three professional references to

Date Posted November 19th, 2018
Deadline Open until filled
# of Positions Available 1
Categories Compost producer or supplier
Type Full Time
How to Apply Please send a resume and cover letter and three work references to Tom Gilbert at

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