New Law Prompts Composting Workshop for Small Farms, Gardens


Growers can get the straight scoop (or shovel) about keeping up with the new law — and information that could improve their soil, save them money and take a bite out of global warming — for free Saturday at the “Composting Workshop for Farms and Community Gardens.”

The workshop is scheduled to be held Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon at the San Diego County Farm Bureau’s office at 1670 E. Valley Parkway in Escondido.

The workshop is free. Registration is required and can be done online.

The workshop was put together by the Solana Center, the Farm Bureau and the County of San Diego in response to a new state law, Assembly Bill 1826, which took effect April 1. It requires businesses that create eight cubic yards of organic waste a week — roughly eight small truckloads of things like green waste, food waste, landscape and pruning waste, and non-hazardous wood waste — to either have that waste recycled professionally or to recycle it themselves by composting. The eight cubic yards per week threshold will shrink to four cubic yards a week starting Jan. 1, 2017.

The intent of the law is to keep organic wastes out of California landfills, where they can produce methane that has 25 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide, the gas most closely associated with global warming.

San Diego County has more than 6,500 small farms (under 10 acres in size), more than any other county in the United States, according to the Farm Bureau.

Saturday’s workshop will give local growers an overview of operating small to mid-sized composting operations and the benefits composting offers: creating organic mulch that can re-inject helpful nutrients and organisms back into the soil, cut water use, improve crop production and save growers money by not having to buy soil amendments.

The event will feature information on composting basics, composting methods, concerns like water and odor management and about AB 1826’s regulations.

Officials plan to hold a more extensive composting course later this year for people who are interested in learning more in-depth composting techniques.

For questions, contact Diane Hazard, Education Program Manager with the Solana Center, at (760) 436-7986, ext. 217.

For more information about composting in general, go to the County of San Diego Department of Public Works Recycling Composting Web page.