2018 Grants Challenge

Connect to Soil and People

Idea by LA Compost

We’re challenging the people of Los Angeles to connect, to people and place, to the soil and each other. #SupportSoilLA #soilandpeople #compost


Please describe the activation your organization seeks to launch.

We’re challenging the people of Los Angeles to connect to the soil and each other.

By developing community compost hubs and a network of enthusiastic composters, we can reevaluate our food system and work with nature to value soil, and in doing so, connect to the vibrancy of our urban space.

Which of the CONNECT metrics will your activation impact?​

Adults getting sufficient social & emotional support

Rates of volunteerism

Residential segregation

Will your proposal impact any other LA2050 goal categories?​

LA is the best place to LEARN

LA is the healthiest place to LIVE

In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?​

Central LA

East LA

San Gabriel Valley

San Fernando Valley

South LA


County of Los Angeles

City of Los Angeles

How will your activation mobilize Angelenos?​

Trainings and/or in-person engagements

Influence individual behavior

Connect Angelenos with impactful volunteer opportunities

Describe in greater detail how your activation will make LA the best place to CONNECT?​

We aim to strengthen the social fabric of LA by connecting Angelenos to their vibrant and diverse ecosystems. We’re challenging the people of Los Angeles to experience the world as a holistic, interdependent living exchange of energy that exist through people and the soil we live on . Compost is the process of returning nature’s materials to the earth through decomposition, turning what was once discarded into a valuable resource.

LA Compost hubs are spaces where kitchen scraps are turned into the ammendment needed for healthy soils. All hubs exist in partnerships with incredible organizations to support their thriving communities - from Monrovia to Elysian Valley, DTLA, to Venice. These compost hubs are established in shared spaces-places where we coexist. The hubs create a space for people to connect to the natural world existing within our urban landscape. Angelenos will have the opportunity to participate in various ways: learning food waste awareness and methods of composting, correctly sorting household food scraps, “deposit” food scraps at their community hub, join a workshop to learn about soil health, turn a compost pile at an urban farm, learn about vermicompost, interact intergenerationally, and create social connections to support healthy neighborhoods. We see these shared spaces as a bridge to connect individuals to their surrounding community. We live in a society full of disconnection, within communities there is isolation, between age groups it difficult for people to relate. This issue of disconnection has contributed to the increasing rates of mental suffering, lack of social support, lack of intergenerational activities, low rates of volunteerism, and less time spent interacting with the vibrant natural world and all of its wonders. Each of the LA Compost hubs is a space to reconnect, a platform to begin building these social bridges for us to nourish our environments. It is a space to share, volunteer, and engage in our civil society, broadening our horizons to meet outside of a coffee shop or board room, or our computer screens.

There are significant environmental benefits to both reducing food waste and using finished compost- ultimately completing the story of food from farm to table to compost and back to the soil. The environmental benefits of compost include increased water retention, reduce erosion, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and increase nutritional value of food. These environmental benefits help stabilize and protect our changing climate, making LA more resilient. Our goal is to strengthen the social fabric of LA by amplifying shared spaces for connections, with each other, our food system and the vibrant ecosystems of LA- while diverting food waste from landfill, generating healthy compost to nourish LA’s landscapes, protecting LA from drought and erosion, and celebrating diversity within soil and people.

How will your activation engage Angelenos to make LA the best place to CONNECT​

Compost adds value to the spaces where people are growing, living, and learning.Individuals across Los Angeles can be united with their neighbors around a topic we are all connected to, food. Engaging with healthy food often leads to meals shared, stories told, and Angelenos interacting in a way beyond the typical text message.

Our strategy is to influence behavior change through hands on sensory learning about compost, shifting away from the mindset of disposable habits. Our tactics to do this are increase activities for volunteering, hosting public gatherings for workshops, inviting neighborhood councils to turn days to meet outside, working to reduce residential segregation through active shared spaces.

This work is happening throughout the county, from scales as small as apartment balconies to regional urban farms.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your activation.​

-Increase mailing list: access to compost hubs

-Increase number of workshops held

-Grow participation in community gardens

-Increase locations for household food scrap drop off

-Measure invitations and participation from/in neighborhood councils

-Connections made, increase opportunity and value of small businesses and non profits in gardening, landscaping and urban farming.

Our workshop surveys gather information about the individuals participating, and we report anecdotal and qualitative stories about connections made within the communities. We measure the success of the program through access: access to local compost sites and access to information and educational programming.

Where do you hope this activation or your organization will be in five years?

We envision healthy soils in LA- where Angelenos are more connected to nature than concrete. Where people have access to healthy soil, water, air and food.

In five years we envision local composting hubs in all of LA’s neighborhoods, on our way to a cohesive composting system working with municipalities to promote individual, community and regional composting sites. We see an LA with more green spaces and need for compost to be applied to landscapes for homeowners and public space, working to sequester carbon. We'll work to increase access for those who cannot compost at home but want to contribute and support their local agriculture system. With increased access to food scraps drop locations -farmers markets, parks and libraries with garden programs. These three tiers- individual, community, regional- can collectively impact waste diversion while creating behavioral changes in our disconnected disposable economy. The tiers will work to support each other- with advanced workshops that incorporate outreach programs for learning at regional sites, and the education from the hubs translating to individuals confidently managing their own compost at home, connecting to the soil and each other.