Food Scraps For Fungi

Purpose & Mission

  1. To divert as much food waste as possible from the various landfills around Virginia, and to use that diverted food waste in a productive way
  2. To create the most biologically diverse compost possible using advanced vermicomposting techniques, and providing this compost at an affordable price to small and medium sized regenerative farmers in Virginia
  3. To give an option for participation in our local food system in a way other than growing food, if you don’t have the means or space to utilize the other services provided through RRFS

How It Works

We will leave a 5-gallon RRFS bucket at your home and let you fill it with approved kitchen scraps. There will be a shortlist on the top of every bucket for daily reference, and a full list can be found further down the page. It is very important that these lists are followed, but more about that later! 🙂

Every week we will come pick up your bucket, and leave you with a clean bucket for the next week. We do our pick-ups very early (usually between 6am and 8am), so we ask that all buckets are placed outside the evening before your scheduled pickup date. Please remember to have the buckets placed in an accessible location for our pick-up team, whether that be on the curb in front of your house or outside of your building if you live in an apartment.

Your emptied bucket will be placed in the same spot you left the full one, so don’t forget to come grab it! Important to note, at this time we can only accept clients that reside within the Richmond City limits.



Our pricing is determined with a tiered scale, based on your total household income. It looks a little like this…

Image courtesy of Resilience Hub

We are using a system like this to ensure that as many people from as many different communities in Richmond can participate, but we are keeping prices pretty close to ensure we aren’t penalizing the more financially stable among us. We are all one in composting!


Based on the tier you fall into, your pricing package options are as follows…


Option 1: Yearly

  • Tier 1 – $120 for 12 months of compost pickup
  • Tier 2 – $180 for 12 months of compost pickup
  • Tier 3 – $240 for 12 months of compost pickup 


Option 2: Quarterly (Preferred)

  • Tier 1 – $30 for 3 months of compost pickup
  • Tier 2 – $45 for 3 months of compost pickup
  • Tier 3 – $60 for 3 months of compost pickup


Option 3: Monthly

  • Tier 1 – $10 for 1 month of compost pickup
  • Tier 2 – $15 for 1 month of compost pickup
  • Tier 3 – $20 for 1 month of compost pickup


For our business partners we charge a flat rate of $60 per month for weekly pickup. Participation as a business partner depends on the nature of your business’ food waste…custom options for payment and pickup are available on a case by case basis. Please reach out to if you think your business may want to participate. 


Residential Referrals

Our goal is to reach 100 residential partners by the end of 2020. To help achieve this goal we are asking that anyone pleased with the program refer their friends and neighbors to also participate. For every person you refer in 2020 that successfully signs up to participate in Food Scraps for Fungi! you will be given an additional month of free pickup. Make sure the person you refer knows to mention your full name when they sign up!


List of Acceptable Inputs (Residential and Business)   

Can Accept 

  1. All Fruits + Vegetables scraps
  2. Rice, Pasta, Bread, Other Grains
  3. Eggshells
  4. Coffee Grounds + Filters
  5. Tea Bags

Cannot Accept (Ever)

  1. Liquids
  2. Meat + Bones
  3. Dairy
  4. Pet Wastes (Dog or Cat Feces, Soiled Cat Litter) 

Cannot Accept (Yet)

  1. Compostable K-Cups
  2. Compostable “Plastic” Items
  3. Receipts
  4. Diseased Plants
  5. Newspaper
  6. Fireplace Ashes
  7. Sawdust
  8. Cardboard
  9. Paper Towels (not cleaning product residue)
  10. Grass Clippings
  11. Hay + Straw
  12. Houseplants
  13. Yard/Plant Trimmings
  14. Leaves
  15. Pine Needles
  16. Wood Chips

Unfortunately if these guidelines are not strictly adhered to, we will not be able to keep you in the program. We will always provide a warning first, just in case a mistake was made. After that there will be a $75 contamination fee applied if anything not on the “Can Accept” list is found in the bucket when we empty it. If anything is found after the fee, we will no longer be able to pick-up your food waste. We don’t forsee this being a problem at all though! And as we are able to take and process more, we will send out emails letting everyone know the additional things we are accepting. 

Divert Your Waste

Why Compost?

Composting is a key element of any regenerative farming operation, and a critical part of a sustainable society. We all know that using ample amounts of mature compost when growing food both strengthens the soil microbiome and reduces the need for fertilizer. However, composting serves another critical purpose that often gets overlooked in a consumption based society…closing the massive waste loop we all contribute to on a daily basis.

  1. Food waste does not break down in a landfill the way you think — there is often very little oxygen, which is required for proper decomposition
  2. In a landfill, food waste (among many other things) can create a liquid leachate, which contaminates ground-water and runs into nearby watersheds
  3. Improper decomposition in a landfill can release methane, which contributes to the greenhouse effect that is artificially warming our planet

Somewhere up to this point you may have wondered — why are the food scraps for the fungi? Glad you asked! Here’s a quick summary:

Much of the life in soil is not visible to us. There more lifeforms in a teaspoon of healthy soil than there are human beings on the planet. One of these great kingdoms of life is the bacterial kingdom, which is the dominant kingdom in most soils, and the one that has been given the most credence in the composting and fertilizing world.

More and more research is coming out about how critical another kingdom is in a healthy and productive soil — the fungal kingdom. It’s function is much lesser known, but in our opinion at RRFS it is just as critical as any other in the soil microbiome. The fungi are the network…the highways and byways of water and nutrients…without them the plant roots and organisms can’t interact and exchange the way nature properly intended. With them present, plants can expand their root systems, soils can naturally resist “weed” pressure and retain high amounts of moisture, and a host of soil organisms can feed and co-exist to strengthen the localized ecosystem of your growing operation.

RRFS will be using different experimental methods to process and “supercharge” our end product compost with as much beneficial biological life as possible. Pre-composting, use of multiple species of composting worms, the Johnson-Su bioreactor method, and a no-turn “slow-cook” method of processing are all strategies that will be implemented to achieve a high quality, fungally dominated compost. It’s also a mini-mission of ours to prove that a very high quality of compost can be achieved without the use of animal manure. We can’t claim that our final product is 100% veganic (mainly because we accept eggshells!) but it is produced with some of those guidelines and values in mind. We are on a mission (along with many others) to prove that with the correct, robust biological profile in your compost, the organisms will be there to mine all of the chemical elements and nutrients you will ever need — from not only your soil but from the sun, the water, and the air. There’s much more to our process we can share with you if you’d like to know more details — click “Divert Your Waste” at the top of the page to sign up — or reach out using the contact info below with any questions!

Thank you for reading and participating, support by following us @realrootsfoodsystems on iG, and shoot us a DM or an email ( with any thoughts, questions, words of encouragement, or critiques you may have.

The soil thanks you!