Going ‘Full Circle’ with Community Composting

Annemarie DonkinBy Annemarie Donkin      February 5, 2021

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Going ‘Full Circle’ with Community Composting
Photos courtesy of Full Circle Compost Delmar Lathers mentors Noah as they build a composting “bin” out of recycled pallet wood.
Cecilie Stuart, founder of Move the World, founded Full Circle Compost where she hopes to inspire Topangans to create beautiful microbe-rich “black gold” soil that will enhance the community. Composting is a holistic and time-honored method for breaking down food waste, enriching the soil and giving back to the Earth. It creates beautiful humus, the organic component of soil, formed by the decomposition of leaves and other plant material by soil microorganisms. There is no downside. Simply toss in all organic waste including banana peels, coffee grounds and eggshells, turn it over once a week with a little water, organic leaves and straw, and voilà, you produce tons of rich and fragrant soil for your plants and gardens. Also, to prevent organic waste generated by restaurants and grocery stores from clogging up landfills where it produces dangerous levels of methane gas, Cecilie Stuart of Full Circle Compost seeks to involve fellow Topangans in a community-wide composting initiative that can make a real difference. Stuart says folks can compost at home or bring their food waste to a community hub, either at Manzanita School or at one of several locations yet to be determined. “Our goal is to keep the soil in Topanga,” Stuart said. “Sustainability training teaches us that local resources are optimal in order to combat climate change. It’s not really ideal to have tons and tons of trucks take our food waste to a composter in Oxnard. We can create green jobs and it’s a potential resource to keep it local and increase opportunities for young people…and how it can feed into itself in a sustainable way to stabilize and support our own community.”
Preschoolers start learning about composting early at Love School.
FROM REFUSE TO RESOURCE
In order for Full Circle Compost to help provide bins for backyard composting, Stuart has teamed up with E.J. Johnson and Delmar Lathers. A fulltime naturalist and an instructor at the Manzanita School, Lathers teaches composting and instructs folks on how to build the bins from pallet wood.

Stuart has also teamed up with Callie Goldstein, a writer, designer, and co-chair of the Urban Agriculture working group at the Los Angeles Food Policy Council that works to ensure food is healthy, affordable, fair and sustainable for all.

“Good soil filters water and allows the water to stay in the soil right here,” Goldstein said. “[It can] rehabilitate our old growth forests in Topanga with soil that has microbial life in it. It’s beneficial for trees and gardens—soil and climate work hand in hand.”

Stuart and Goldstein are also working with Nathan Daneshgar at Pine Tree Circle to install a compost bin to take in the food waste from The Canyon Bistro, Waterlily, and The Canyon Gourmet in accordance with CA Assembly Bill 1826 that requires local jurisdictions to implement an organic waste recycling program on and after January 1, 2016 to divert organic waste generated by businesses.

“It’s a paradigm shift,” Goldstein said. “We have to acknowledge that a lot of what we have become accustomed to doesn’t work. It’s just a minor alteration in our routine that has a longterm effect on the environment. We are seeing this in the market and our local economy—asking people to be the change you want to see.”

“Just think,” Stuart said. The composting program at Manzanita School and the Full Circle bins converted [more than] 10-tons of food waste over six years—and that’s just one school,” “Imagine if all Topangans contributed on a community basis, it could make a real difference and benefit the environment by going “full circle.”

Full Circle Compost also puts out a newsletter to support the Topanga composting community. For the newsletter Sign-up, go to: http://eepurl. com/bpVynT

PROJECT DRAWDOWN
Stuart was inspired to found Full Circle Compost after reading the book, “Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming,” edited by Paul Hawken.

Project Drawdown is a global research organization that identifies, reviews, and analyzes the most viable solutions to climate change, and shares these findings with the world. The book is available at Amazon.com and other outlets. For the complete list of Project Drawdown’s 100 Solutions: https://www.drawdown.org/solutions.

Stuart also teaches Drawdown Workshops at Manzanita School. For information on Cecilie Stuart’s free Drawdown Workshop for adults and youth: Cecilie.Stuart@outlook.com.

To sign up for the newsletter: http://eepurl. com/bpVynT; For more information: (310) 871- 0061; movetheworldnow.org/; fccompost.org/; Instagram: @fccompost; Facebook: facebook.com/ fullcirclecompostnonprofit.
Annemarie Donkin

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