2021 Grants Challenge

Building Community Climate Resilience through Compost

Idea by LA Compost

LA Compost is working to restore lost connections to the soil and one another. We recognize that the root cause of environmental destruction is a disassociation with the natural world, and through co-creating spaces for local compost access and engagement, we seek to restore individual and community connections to the soil that feeds us all. Cooperatively with a diverse human network of Angelenos across LA County, we aspire to make LA robust in its access to community level composting, climate change and ecosystem resilience.


In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

County of Los Angeles

What is the problem that you are seeking to address?

In the midst of climate-induced changes, LA’s urban-dwelling residents, specifically communities most impacted by environmental racism and historic disinvestment, are vulnerable to a lack of soil ecosystem protections that provide vegetative cooling, carbon mitigation, and local food production. Specifically, the chronic erosion, nutrient loss and contamination of our soils resulting from industrialization in LA County requires innovative solutions that rebuild soil health and equip our communities to establish resilient green spaces. Every day, 8-12 million pounds of food waste is taken to landfills within LA County. The presence of food waste in our landfills creates methane, a greenhouse gas emission 87 times more potent in its earth-warming abilities than carbon dioxide. If this food waste were transformed into compost and returned to our soils, greenhouse gas emissions in LA County could be drastically reduced, while simultaneously building the soil ecosystem resilience we need.

Describe the project, program, or initiative that this grant will support to address the problem identified.

Community knowledge is central to effective community engagement and to building climate resiliency within our local ecosystems and soils. LA Compost incorporates the three principles of Conocer (get to know), Compartir (participate/engage), and Co-crear (co-create) for all new compost hub locations. These principles come alive through our intention to build a human network of local residents, engage individuals around the significance of compost, and utilize the community’s contextual and cultural knowledge to design relevant compost and ecosystem infrastructures. The activities that LA Compost will use to engage our communities around ecosystem resiliency include our Contact-Free Drop-Off Locations, Soil Farmer Program, and establishment of new compost hubs and infrastructure throughout Los Angeles County. Contact-Free Drop-Off Locations: LA Compost seeks to expand its number of food scrap drop-off locations at LA-based farmers markets to 3 more communities by the end of 2021. Soil Farmer Program: LA Compost seeks to develop 20 new Soil Farmer Program locations, helping to bolster the network of LA residents who are growing healthy food and building healthy soils. Establish new compost hubs: LA Compost seeks to establish 30 additional community compost hubs and 2 larger-scale, regional hubs across Los Angeles County.

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 2,000

Indirect Impact: 6,000

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

Short term, 2 Contact-Free Drop-off locations will provide access to over 1000 drop-off members, 30 community hubs will provide opportunity for over 700 households to participate in community composting, education and soil enhancement, 2 regional hubs will divert an additional 520,000 pounds of organics annually, and 20 Soil Farmer Program locations will engage 200 LA residents to strengthen ecosystem resilience efforts in their neighborhoods. Additionally, regular distributions of compost, seedlings and trees will be provided to communities. Long term, 3 Contact-Free Drop-off locations, combined with 30 community hubs and 2 regional hubs will divert an estimated 500 tons of organics annually from landfills and transformed into compost for LA’s landscapes, equating to an environmental impact of 1,140 cars being taken off the road. Additionally, countless vegetative cooling and local food production investments will be made through our regular compost, seedling and tree giveaways.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

In 2020, LA Compost utilized its measuring strategies to identify: - 739,050 total pounds of organics diverted from landfills - 616 new compost co-op and community hub members onboarded from socially-distanced trainings - 7 new compost drop-off locations established with the potential to serve an additional 475 households - 34 community engagement events held in person and virtual LA Compost continues to measure its impact through utilizing the following measures to collect quantitative and qualitative data: - Number of people served through COVID-conscious education & workshop attendance - Number of community partners served, including community garden spaces, urban farms, public parks and local businesses - Number of pounds of food waste diverted from landfill - Number of pounds of locally-generated compost produced and provided to community residents and green spaces

Which of the LIVE metrics will you impact?​

Access to healthy food

Food insecurity

Resilient communities

Indicate any additional LA2050 goals your project will impact.

LA is the best place to LEARN

LA is the healthiest place to CONNECT