Guest article by Elena Lopez, Outreach and Communications Manager for LA Compost

LA Compost was born in 2013 from the passion and collaboration of volunteers, friends, and families, driven by a shared desire to raise awareness about the environmental impact of organic waste. Initially, our dedicated collection crew pedaled through the streets with bike trailers, ferrying food scraps, leaves, paper, and other organic materials from various establishments to local compost centers. While successful in other cities, this approach proved challenging to sustain in the vast expanse of Los Angeles.

In 2014, LA Compost pivoted towards a decentralized model centered on community compost hubs, nurtured and cherished by engaged local residents. These hubs sprouted in churches, schools, gardens, and workplaces, weaving into the fabric of neighborhoods across LA County. Each hub is a unique reflection of its community, yet all share the common goal of composting locally while fostering connections among people and nature.

In 2018, we aligned our initiatives with the Hierarchy to Reduce Food Waste and Grow Community, as outlined by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. Our programs cater to individuals through home composting, and empower communities with education and access to a decentralized composting network, including our Farmers’ Market Food-Scrap Drop-off program.

Reflecting on a decade of composting efforts alongside communities throughout Los Angeles in 2023, we draw inspiration from the boundless creativity of each engaged community. What began modestly as bike-powered collections and backyard composting among friends and family has evolved into a robust network of drop-off locations, processing hubs in parks, and educational initiatives citywide.

The rollout of the City of Los Angeles’ Organics LA program in 2023 marked a significant milestone, enabling 750,000 single-family homes to participate in curbside organics collection, in compliance with the statewide mandate SB 1383. We eagerly collaborate with the city to surpass these requirements.

Looking ahead, our vision encompasses expanding Farmers’ Market Food-Scrap Drop-off locations, fortifying existing Compost Hubs, launching new Park Hubs for localized processing, enhancing Compost Coaching opportunities, and introducing the “Magic Soil Bus” to educate K-12 students about composting.

As we celebrate a decade of progress, we acknowledge that our achievements are fueled by the collective efforts of partners and supporters—our “human network.” Just as mycelium nourishes the soil, our community members nurture thriving ecosystems across LA. As advocates for the Sierra Club, we trust in your commitment to preserving vibrant communities and ecosystems for all beings. You can get involved by finding a composting option near yousigning up to volunteer, or making a donation to support our mission.

Thank you, and we look forward to welcoming you to a compost pile soon.