Michael Martinez on Kcrw's good food with evan kleinman
National Compost Week is from May 6th to May 12th in 2018. Mike Martinez is the founder of LA Compost, a group that educates Angelenos about turning food waste into a natural resource. He shares a few tips on incorporating these practices into daily life.
Why we need to stop throwing out food and start thinking of it as a resource
Next Tuesday, volunteers will be holding a “Disco Chop” party at L.A. Kitchen, a culinary arts training program that utilizes recovered fresh fruit and vegetables, busily chopping mounds of fruits and vegetables to music — with maybe some disco balls for added effect. It’s just part of the preparation for the first Los Angeles Feeding the 5000 event May 4, culminating in a free feast made entirely from fresh produce and meant to highlight the global issue of food waste. In addition to chopping, volunteers will also be working with L.A. Compost to collect and compost trimmings and leftovers.
In Photos: A Day of Composting in Los Angeles
Michael Martinez (Miami–Dade ’10) grew up gardening with his family. As a corps member in Miami, he got 60 students, their families, and other community members to cultivate a communal garden.
When he returned to his hometown, Los Angeles, he founded L.A. Compost, a nonprofit that works with four schools to lead students in composting waste from cafeteria kitchens. Martinez also oversees compost and garden hubs at L.A.’s Natural History Museum and the University of Southern California, where he runs school and community workshops.
Who Knew Composting Is So Important? (Whether You Garden or Not.)
We always thought of composting as the dominion of hard-core gardeners—while we’re big proponents of eating locally-grown, organic produce, we’re more inclined to buy it at the farmer’s market than build the raised beds ourselves. But then we learned that when food scraps and lawn clippings—ideal compost fodder—end up in landfills and decompose without access to oxygen, they release methane gas, which is many times more potent than carbon dioxide, and decided we needed to learn a bit more about how to make composting happen at home. Below, L.A. Compost founder and grassroots activist Michael Martinez expounds on the miracle of closing the food-to-table-to-soil gap and how composting can be quick, easy, and smell-free. Prep the coffee grinds.
Is Community Composting an Emerging Economic Opportunity?
Interest in composting continues to surge as municipalities run out of landfill space and people increasingly care about how their food is grown. Four years ago, San Francisco became the first large American city to require composting. Since then, other cities across the country have joined the bandwagon, citing the need to boost waste diversion efforts and mitigate long-term climate change risks.
L.A. Compost: Bike group turns restaurant waste into garden gold
Michael Martinez and Michelle Davilla of L.A. Compost make their rounds in West Covina once a week — he on a Cannondale hybrid, she on a single-speed. Both have cargo trailers attached to their bikes’ frames.
They stop first at a restaurant called Señor Baja, where a kitchen worker brings out two buckets of refuse, mainly cabbage used in the fish tacos.
LA Compost Breaks through Concrete Jungle to Connect People with Soil
For LA Compost, responsible food use and consumption doesn’t end with farm-to-table practices. The Los Angeles-based non-profit organization supports maintaining the total loop within the story of food, which largely includes compost.
“Healthy soil translates into healthy food, and healthy food leads to healthy people. Composting is just as valuable as any of the other processes,” says Michael Martinez, the Executive Director of LA Compost.