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Spring 2016 Newsletter

Solana Center newsletter collage

Update from our Executive Director:

The impetus for much of the activity at Solana Center these days is the growing awareness of the problems with surplus food scrap.  We are concerned about the environmental impact of one-half million tons of food waste being landfilled annually in San Diego.  This issue is getting attention from California legislators, EPA and USDA, National Resources Defense Council, food industry associations, National Geographic, local governments, and many more.  Consequently, Solana Center is being asked to help divert organic material generated by businesses, school districts, government agencies, and farms through composting and other means. 

I am grateful for the recognition we have received recently for our work from the Governor’s office and California EPA, the County Board of Supervisors, and the City of Encinitas as well as the opportunity to share our experiences in an article in BioCycle magazine and at the San Diego Zero Waste Symposium, and through our new partnerships with the City of Solana Beach, City of Del Mar, and the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

Happy spring! 

Solana Center staff receive an award from council member Dave Roberts
Supervisor Dave Roberts presented Solana Center with a proclamation for our waste diversion projects and programs.

Solana Center Recognized for Waste Diversion Programs

Solana Center was honored to receive proclamations from the County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, March 1, 2016 and from the City of Encinitas on Wednesday, March 9, 2016.  Solana Center received the recognition for its “Organics Marketplace” demonstration projects and waste diversion programs, which have kept more than 16,000 tons of organic waste out of regional landfills.  The ceremonies were also in recognition of Solana Center receiving the Governor's Environmental and Economic Leadership Award (GEELA) on January 19th in Sacramento.

“For over 30 years, Solana Center for Environmental Innovation has been a local leader in protecting the planet,” County Supervisor Roberts said. “They promote changes in attitudes and behaviors with great results.”

AB 1826 - Mandatory Organics Recycling

Assembly Bill 1826 (AB 1826) is a new state law that requires local jurisdictions across the state to implement a recycling program to divert organic waste generated by businesses and multi-family properties. AB 1826 is one of the most significant changes to how Californians will deal with waste since the landmark Integrated Waste Management Act of 1989, which ushered in residential and commercial recycling as we know it today. While previous bills, such as AB 341 suggested that keeping organics out of the landfill would be a good idea, AB 1826 now mandates it. This is a goal that Solana Center has been actively working on for decades!  READ MORE

Future Green Team at Monterey Ridge Elementary.

Model School Waste Diversion Program in 4S Ranch

Solana Center partnered with Monterey Ridge Elementary School to expand their gardening program by introducing vermicomposting (composting with worms) and lunch time waste sorting.  The program, which was funded by The 4SRanch-Del Sur Community Foundation, made a significant impact on the school’s sustainability efforts and set up Monterey Ridge Elementary School as leaders in waste diversion and a model for other schools. Solana Center installed a vermicomposting bin that provided students with hands-on learning and an opportunity for fruit and vegetable waste from school lunches to be composted.  READ MORE

Free Composting Workshop for Farms and
Community Gardens

Saturday, April 9, 2016
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
San Diego Farm Bureau in Escondido, CA

Join us for this 2-hour presentation that will give an introduction to mid-scale composting, for those who handle large amounts of compostable materials.

Funded by the County of San Diego

Rotline Question: Can Weeds be Composted?

April showers bring May flowers. BUT, March showers just seem to bring WEEDS! We’ve being getting lots of questions about putting those weeds into a compost pile. There is not a simple yes or no answer to this query. Weeds have many nutrients so they are a great addition to the compost pile, but you do not want compost filled with viable weed seeds. READ MORE

City of San Diego Master Composter Course

Tuesdays, March 29, 2016 - April 26, 2016
5:30 PM - 8:00 PM
Green Haven Building at Ridgehaven
San Diego, CA

Learn how to grow healthy soil, reduce waste, conserve water and save money on fertilizers and pesticides at Solana Center’s Master Composting Course. 

Funded by the City of San Diego

Volunteer Spotlight

Our wonderful volunteer, Erika Osorio, turned her passion into a job by joining Solana Center as an Environmental Educator! Hailing from the lush, green, and sometimes snowy landscape of New York's Hudson Valley, Erika now resides in sunny North County. Although New York is where she spent 18 years of her life, Vermont is truly the place she calls home as it was there that she first experienced the true meaning of community. Wanting to recreate that feeling of belonging, she sought out refuge in the Solana Center by volunteering. Since moving to So Cal Erika has picked up some new hobbies including identifying plants and birds and annoying her significant other and her snobby coonhound as she learns to play the fiddle. Welcome to the Solana Center family!

Join our community of people doing good things for the earth! Interested in volunteering? Learn more about our volunteer opportunities HERE

Local Events

April 4th-7th - BioCycle WestCoast16 Conference: Advancing Organics Recycling in San Diego, CA
Executive Director, Jessica Toth will present: 
"Food Cycle SD - "Integrated Solution for San Diego County" at the conference.

Stop by Solana Center's booth at these upcoming events:
April 17th - EarthFair in San Diego, CA
May 15th - EcoFest Encinitas in Encinitas, CA
May 22nd - Fiesta Del Sol in Solana Beach, CA
June 3rd - July 4th - San Diego County Fair in Del Mar, CA

Free Composting Workshops

Solana Center offers FREE 2-hour presentations where you will learn the basics of backyard composting and vermicomposting (composting with worms). Using trial-tested advice and interactive demonstrations, our expert educators will teach you all you need to know to get started with a bin that fits your needs and lifestyle. Held throughout San Diego, there is sure to be a workshop near you!

Free Composting Workshop in La Mesa
Saturday, April 2, 2016
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
The Red Door Family Garden
Garden supplies produce to The Red Door farm-to-table restaurant.
Funded by the County of San Diego

Free Composting Workshop in Encinitas
Saturday, April 2, 2016
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
San Diego Botanic Garden
Stay and enjoy this garden's incredible plant collection.
Funded by the City of Encinitas

Free Composting Workshop in Escondido
Saturday, April 23, 2016
1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Terra Madra Gardens (formerly Stone Farms)
Garden provides produce to Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens.
Funded by the County of San Diego

Free Composting Workshop in San Diego
Saturday, April 30, 2016
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
San Diego Central Library
This workshop is part of the Fixit Clinic series. More info HERE
Funded by the City of San Diego

Get Rain Barrels, Compost Bins and Accessories at Solana Center!

Discounted rain barrels still available!
You can still pre-order discounted rain barrels for pick up at Solana Center in Encinitas.  Rain barrels qualify for a $75 rebate available on a first-come, first-served basis until exhausted, through the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California at

Looking to start your own composting project? 
Solana Center sells both traditional and worm bins.  Even better, costs are subsidized for Encinitas residents. Unincorporated County and City of San Diego residents are able to get subsidized bins through a voucher program. More info HERE

Need worms?
We sell Red Wigglers, coconut coir, food scrap containers, aerators and thermometers.

We are open to the public Tuesdays and Thursdays 8:30 AM-4 PM or by appointment.

Have a composting question? Call our Rotline at: (760) 436-7986

Special Thanks to Our Donors and Supporters!

Qualcomm   Kashi   Seed Savers Exchange   

Peaceful Valley Farm and Garden Supply

Dave Ahlgren   Russell Levan   Mark Whitehouse

Whether it is a donation of worms, tools or a financial contribution
we appreciate all of our donors and supporters!

Help us empower students and adults to become environmental stewards in their communities!

This newsletter was made possible through generous support from