LA Compost seeks to open the doors to composting to all Angelenos by providing environmentally focused experiential education opportunities. Life is at the core of our work — the very essence of compost is a living ecology of microorganisms that play a significant role in sequestering carbon, reinforcing soil life and retaining water. By establishing local compost hubs throughout LA, we reduce CO2 emissions by limiting export distances. By applying finished compost in gardens and landscapes we boost plant growth — a process which sequesters airborne carbon. Serving as a center for compost education for the community, LA Compost will teach the benefits of composting, the empowerment of growing food from compost and the methods and science involved in the composting process.
The Hub will accept food scraps and produce compost while engaging people in the process. To ensure a high quality compost is produced, LA Compost staff, partners and volunteers will manage the composting process. The finished product will find diverse end uses including a portion allocated for community partner programming. Using best management practices, the Hub will be planned and managed with high regard for a discreet, orderly and well-maintained site.
Our global food system creates 20–30% of all human being’s greenhouse gas emissions. Meat and dairy production contribute disproportionately to that total, as does food waste. But other things matter too.
The earth’s soils contain more than three times the amount of carbon as the atmosphere, and 4.5 times the amount of carbon as all living things.
Industrial agricultural methods have massively depleted carbon from the earth’s soil, transferring it into the atmosphere, causing global warming, and into the water, causing ocean acidification.
The good news is that it’s possible for the soils to start absorbing carbon again, potentially up to 15% of all global fossil fuel emissions each year. (All information drawn from Lal, R, et al. 2004. Soil Carbon Sequestration Impacts on Global Climate Change and Food Security. Science 304, 1623. DOI: 10.1126/science.1097396)
The solution is going to take place across the world and at all scales.
There are at least 6 ways in which food that’s locally and organically grown, using composting, cover crop, and no-till methods, can fight climate change.
- Petroleum-based fertilizer use is reduced
- Food waste becomes compost that’s plowed back into the soil, not landfill material that offgases carbon into the atmosphere
Composting as a Substitute for Industrial Fertilizer and as Soil Additive
- 30 Pounds of Compost Generated per year 80% Estimated % of wet compost added to the garden
- Avoided Use of Industrial Fertilizer: 2.5 lbs of CO2 over 5 years
- Carbon Stored in Soils, Instead of Offgassed Through Landfilling: 121 lbs of CO2 over 5 years
Favoino E, Hogg L. 2008. The Potential Role of Compost in Reducing Greenhouse Gases. Waste Management & Research 26 (1): 61–69. doi:10.1177/0734242X08088584.
Lou XF, Nair J. 2009. The Impact of Landfilling and Composting on Greenhouse Gas Emissions – A Review. Bioresource Technology, Selected papers from the International Conference on Technologies and Strategic Management of Sustainable Biosystems, 100 (16): 3792–98. doi:10.1016/j.biortech.2008.12.006.
LA Compost places hubs throughout Los Angeles county to keep organics within the same zip code where the food was originally grown or consumed, creating a countywide composting program neighborhood by neighborhood. We create spaces for educational workshops and workdays to take place. They are a tool for educating the public about composting for soil health, a testimony to the benefits of composting, and a distribution center from which we send compost into the local community. By keeping organics in the same zip code where the food was grown or consumed, communities become less reliant on trucks hauling their “waste” away. The material that trucks haul away still has value, and can help with many issues that communities across the county are facing. Creating compost locally can directly satisfy the need for healthy soil amendments, increased plant vitality, and resource in the community. The act of composting locally increases a community’s ability to become self sufficient, as residents now have the means to grow a portion of their own food and manage their excess organics from the kitchen and their landscapes.
Beyond composting locally our hubs serve as an educational platform for residents to coexist and learn alongside their neighbors. Our monthly workshops and workdays encourage residents to slow down, get outside, and interact with both their neighbor and the soil. When neighbors come together and work toward a common goal, there is an undeniable sense of community. Our hubs create space for good soil, food, and community to grow.
Check out a recent article on LA Compost's work here.
The hub on-site volunteer opportunities are available to anyone who is willing to learn and invest consistent time to operate a hub. This position maybe recommended to the current community members who supports one of our hubs or someone who wants to know how to operate a hub through direct experience.
* Learn to Compost
* Learn to Operate a Hub
* Be part of the Community you serve
* Future opportunity to direct and coordinate on-site workshops
Learn more about volunteering with LA Compost and sign up on theirwebsite.