Steel City Soils
Steel City Soils logo.png


about us

We are a cooperatively-managed group that works together to recycle food and yard waste. Our focus is to make the highest-quality end product possible for urban food growing. 

Our Mission: to provide products and services that will help create a profitable market for urban farming in Pittsburgh.

Our vision: is small-scale, on-farm compost systems which work together with design and operation of urban farms.  By networking and pooling our resources to distribute to smaller sites, we can work together to create an urban food network that will thrive in Pittsburgh.

Steel City Soils LLC was formed in 2009 as a worker-owned company.  Since then, we have been developing methods for comprehensive soil testing, and on-farm, urban-farm composting.  In late 2014, we purchased our location in Braddock, PA.  In 2015 we received fiscal sponsorship from New Sun Rising 501c3 as well as acceptance into the year-long, Food Hub Incubator Program.


Why Compost?

We believe that urban farming has the potential to alleviate many environmental issues.  Local urban food production is integral to the design of resilient and sustainable cities.  Compost and other organic materials are the most important first step in improving soils for organic farming. 

Composting is an art as well as a science.  It takes skill, experience and some special equipment.  Most urban farms do not have the resources or labor to operate large compost systems.  That's where we come in. 

What We Do:

We create and sell compostand soil amendments online and at farmers' markets around Pittsburgh.  We offer soil testing and soil improvement programs for urban farms. We work with larger urban farms to develop on-farm systems.  Smaller urban farms can donate work hours in exchange for compost.  Individuals who volunteer at our site can take finished compost home or donate their portion to their favorite urban farm project.  10% of our finished compost is donated to local urban farming projects.

Our compost is made from organic food waste and wood chips. It is treated by thermophyllic (above 131 deg. F) composting. It is cured for 2-4 months then sifted through 1/2" screen. Steel City Soils is dedicated to producing the highest quality compost for urban farms and gardeners to help build the best soil for growing.

If you want more info or to buy compost visit our online store or our stand at Squirrel Hill Farmers' Market to get more information on why composting is so important!




Our Services


Steel City Soils-Waste Collection Service

The Compostable program is designed to capture nutrients and retain them for agriculture in our region.  When you see the CompostablePGH logo at your favorite restaurant, market, or coffee shop, you can be assured that your dollar supports building local nutrient cycles while revitalizing regional farmland and the green economy here in Pittsburgh.


Collection Service Description

Acceptable Waste:

We accept all pre- and post-consumer food scraps, unbleached paper products, and 100% sugar-cane packaging.  Other organic materials may be acceptable upon further discussion.


We drop empty 18-gallon totes at your site.  You fill the totes with organic wastes.  We pick up full totes and swap with fresh totes for clean, fast, and easy results.


We provide monthly reports estimating the amount of organic waste you recycle.

Schedule & Cost:

We pick up the totes up to 3 times per week during business hours.  We charge per bin and bill bi-weekly.  The specifics depend on your location, type, and amount of waste.

Benefits to Your Business:

  • Reduce your landfill footprint
  • No extra work or cleanliness issues
  • Easy reporting for your records
  • Window stickers and signage provided
  • Connect with local, green businesses
  • Enrich urban farm soils


I have been using Steel City Soils compost since 2010. If you look around, everything I have growing here is larger, more abundant, and lusher than any garden I’ve ever had in my life.
— Kate O'brien Urban Farmer Pittsburgh

Kate is featured in our previous kickstarter campaign which can be found HERE

Those vegetable scraps or left over food from somebody’s plate are actually something that can be recycled into a useful material. And we as a small business wanted to be accountable for more sustainable waste practices
— Kate Lasky owner of Apteka restaurant in Pittsburgh


We currently pick up compostable food waste from these business

  • Apteka
  • Staghorn Garden Cafe
  • East End Food Co-op

920 Braddock Ave. Steel City Soils main site



920 Braddock Avenue in Braddock, PA (next to Grow Pittsburgh's Braddock Farm)

412-778-0140 PO BOX 641 Braddock, PA 15104