ABOUT TRANSFORMATION OF TRASH, LIFESTYLES AND COMMUNITIES
One of the main goals of Food2Soil, as an organization, is encouraging the evolution of legislation regarding waste management here in San Diego county and in the State of California.
Earlier this year, City of Encinitas, opened its doors to neighborhood scale composting by allowing Food2Soil to offer its dropoff program to the residents of Encinitas. We spoke to Encinitas Mayor - Catherine Blakespear and Director of Development Services - Lillian Doherty, about this milestone and the work it took to make this happen.
Outdated policies in the area of waste hauling and recycling are the single biggest obstacle in the expansion of a decentralized network of neighborhood compost hubs. Over the last year Food2Soil has dedicated its energy into conversations revolving around the idea of enabling profitable, community scale composting operations that build our local capacity to recover value from waste.
See, for a long while large scale corporations, such as Waste Management, Republic Services and Edco, have held a tight control over the field of waste collection and transportation. Solid waste ordinances and exclusive franchise agreements adopted by local governments have ironclad this control so its virtually unbreakable even though these companies do not have the capacity to recycle and compost the materials they are collecting.
Instead of accepting these hauling contracts as defeat, Food2Soil has worked tirelessly to change these policies so community composting can coexist alongside commercial composting infrastructure. During our Zoom conversation with Mayor Blakespear and Ms. Doherty we learnt that Mayor Blakespear is an avid composter and has been composting for around a decade. She sees composting to be one of the simplest yet most beneficial practices one can partake in order to reduce their personal carbon footprint. "If there's a way to broaden the availability of composting for all citizens, while creating opportunities for employment and produce nutrient-rich soil in which we can grow the next cycle of food, then I'm open to conversation".
Blakespear was intrigued by the letter sent by Food2Soil explaining the Dropoff and Soil Farmer programs. She and her colleagues began looking into what needed to be done in order to allow Food2Soil to begin practicing legally in the City of Encinitas.
"We didn't really experience any pushback from our fellow policy makers. Myself and my colleagues strive to be as environmentally conscious as possible so everyone was in agreement regarding the idea of altering waste management legislation to allow Food2Soil and other small scale composters to operate in Encinitas," stated Blakespear.
Any city can join Food2Soil's growing network of decentralized community scale composting. All we need is a simple letter from an authorized representative of the city stating that we are allowed to offer our programs (Dropoff and/or Soil Farmer) to their constituents and lay out any restrictions or requirements they'd like us to follow. Food2Soil does not require any financial support or exclusive contracts from local governments. It is turnkey composting infrastructure available to cities right here, right now!
Lillian Doherty, Director of Development Service, is one of the colleagues who played an essential role in this decision. Doherty's rationale to support Food2Soil was that "individuals need to learn proactive environmentally conscious practices (such as composting) as soon as possible. The students of the Encinitas school system begin learning about composting in their elementary education. It is important to begin becoming aware of our impact on the environment as early as we can so we can uphold these practices throughout our lives," said Doherty.
Both, Blakespear and Doherty, agreed that the passage of Senate Bill 1383 prompting California’s Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Reduction Strategy will not only encourage but also force California's cities to reduce their pollution and carbon emissions.
Neither have had the time to stop by Food2Soil's Composting Hub at Sweet Alice Farms, although they look forward to eventually visiting. Edco, Encinitas' franchised hauler, plans to offer curbside composting services starting early 2022. Until then Food2Soil's neighborhood compost hub remains the only option for Encinitians wishing to divert their foodscraps away from the landfill.
Social Media Manager and Soil Farmer
Food2Soil Composting Collective was started in 2015 by Inika Small Earth, Inc as a community supported social enterprise. Inika Small Earth is a 501c(3) tax exempt corporation that works on fostering a circular economy that is enterprise-driven, people-powered and community-centered.