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Community Compost Program

smiling women exchange a bucket in a garden

Since not everyone is able to have their own compost piles, Solana Center is proud to bring the Community Compost Program to our community. We are able to accept community members’ food scraps and process these organic materials on-site to create a high-quality soil supplement.

Have you felt that twinge of guilt regarding sending your kitchen scraps away for your waste hauler to deal with knowing that rotting organic material off-gasses methane and creates additional problems in landfills? San Diego residents and small businesses can now enroll in our program and be leaders in finding an alternative solution. Simply put, you do the collecting, bring it by the Center, and we will do the composting for you!

Qualified members can enroll in the program for a nominal fee and receive equipment to stockpile all food scraps using the Bokashi method, and then bring these fermented scraps to Solana Center for processing and ultimately creating quality compost to be cycled back to program participants.

If you would like to learn more about joining the program as a member, email

Bokashi Method

The Bokashi method is used for composting all organic food waste, including meat, dairy and fats. It was developed in Japan and used in Asia to ferment food prior to composting. The process uses lactobacillus bacteria to predigest waste matter, which eliminates odors and decreases composting time. The process is similar to making yogurt, cheese, and sauerkraut. Bokashi is a great pre-composting method for diverting all food scraps from going to the landfill.

Bokashi is a Japanese term for "fermented organic matter." It is an anaerobic composting process using Effective Microorganisms (EM) inoculated bran, rice or straw to ferment organic waste in a sealed container. The Bokashi method involves introducing microbes into a collection of organic matter and letting it steep without air contact. This anaerobic digestion is essential to the Bokashi process.  

What Do I Need?

For the Bokashi process, you need:

  • FOOD WASTE OF ANY KIND - this includes all meat, fish, poultry, dairy products, and bones.
  • BOKASHI BRAN - available at Solana Center
  • NO AIR! Bokashi microorganisms live in conditions with little to no oxygen. A sealed container is required.

Bokashi bran is a complex blend of bacteria and yeast which, when applied to kitchen waste and kept in an anaerobic environment, will outcompete all the other microbes (like mold) that would grow on the decomposing scraps. Bokashi bran is made by inoculating grains, hulls or grass-like substances (i.e., spent beer grains, bran, or wheat) with effective microorganisms.

Why Bokashi?

Compared to traditional composting, Bokashi:

  • Produces an end product that is richer in organic matter and nutrients
  • Allows you to compost any organic material easily
  • Does not generate any greenhouse gases
  • Does not require any turning
  • Captures all nutrients/by-products in a sealed container
  • Minimizes worry about insects or rodents
  • Can be done on a small scale, e.g. in an apartment
  • Enables you to keep food scrap in the airtight container until you are ready to drop it off to us


Follow these steps to be a part of the Community Compost Program:

  1. Visit Solana Center to sign up for the program
  2. Provide the nominal registration fee and receive your Bokashi kit
  3. Place food scraps into the airtight 5-gallon Bokashi bucket
  4. Sprinkle in Bokashi bran (about 1/4 cup for every 2-3” of food)
  5. Close the Bokashi bucket lid, ensuring it is airtight
  6. Repeat until Bokashi bucket is full
  7. Take Bokashi bucket to Solana Center and receive a new Bokashi bucket to start again

Solana Center offers workshops and local food-scrap diversion services using the Bokashi method. Check our events list for a workshop near you! For more information contact