LA Compost was born in 2013, when brothers Michael and David Martinez rallied a group of volunteers with bicycles to collect food scraps, leaves, paper and other organic materials bound for landfills, in four cities across Los Angeles County.
In the first five months alone, they collected 30,000 pounds of organic waste and delivered it to local compost centers, mostly set up in volunteers’ backyards. There it was turned into compost, which they gave away or sold at local farmers markets. They used the proceeds to build their first edible garden in one of the cities from which the organic matter was collected.
Today, collection by bicycle has given way to eight permanent community compost hubs spread throughout Los Angeles County, with more on the way. The hubs also serve as learning centers, where people from the community come to see how far their organic material was traveling, and how wasteful it was to bury it in landfills. Many of the hubs have become home to flourishing edible gardens, where people not only learn about compost and see for themselves how important healthy soil is, they also directly enjoy its produce. As Michael Martinez explains, “Our goal is always to connect people with the soil that feeds them.”
Many neighborhoods in Los Angeles are large, rambling and diverse, and can seem to lack coherent community gathering spaces. LA Compost hubs work to help solve this problem. Located on the grounds of schools, museums, community gardens, activist centers, and even onsite at a local juice bar, the hubs host events – including fun ones, like the post-Halloween pumpkin smashing – that bring communities out on weekends to gather, learn and work together.
LA Compost explains, “Each hub reflects the community in which it’s located but they all serve the same purpose. They keep organics in the community and they create a shared space where individuals can come together to learn and ultimately be a part of something bigger than their individual self.”
To learn more, visit: https://lacompost.org. If you happen to live in the Los Angeles area, you can also create your own compost hub through LA Compost!