Spring Quarterly Newsletter – 2018

Celebrate Spring with Solana Center!


Update from our Executive Director

A great start to 2018! We’re proud to be headquartered in environmentally-progressive Encinitas, which just passed an ambitious Climate Action Plan. We will again be supporting zero waste activities at the State of the City address, which achieved 92% diversion last year. And at the state level, there is important new food recovery legislation!

Our Eco Innovation Campus at the Del Mar Fairgrounds continues to be a popular destination — in January we hosted a volunteer event for Kashi staff and we’re excited to offer a tour of our mid-scale compost center for BioCycle conference attendees in March. Don’t miss our Composting for Farms, Schools, & Community Gardens Workshop Series for establishing operations to manage organic material from businesses, organizations and community groups. 

Back at our site in Encinitas, come join the Community Composting Program, sanctioned by the County. In just a couple of months, we have accepted over 700 lbs of food scrap from residents and local businesses, which we’re processing into nutrient-rich compost, thanks to financial support from the City of Encinitas and the Beyster Family Foundation.

There’s never been a better time to get involved with Solana Center!


Composting Key to Regenerative Agriculture

There’s a lot of buzz about regenerative agriculture, particularly its ability to capture carbon in soil and in aboveground biomass, as well as for the many benefits it offers farmers, consumers and local environments. According to regenerative agriculture, the answer lies beneath our feet. 

Soil loss is a global problem and growing worse around the world, at an alarming rate.  Its cause is multi-fold, but unsustainable land-use practices, such as intensive industrial farming techniques and over-grazing, are known to cause erosion.

“We are losing 30 soccer fields of soil every minute, mostly due to intensive farming,” according to Volkert Engelsman, an activist with the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements.

A new United Nations-backed study states that a third of the planet’s land is severely degraded. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has recently stated that due to erosion and soil degradation, we have only 60 years of topsoil left.


Rotline Question: Figeater Beetles 

I found these GIANT two-inch grubs in my compost.  My neighbor said they are the Japanese beetle.  Should I be concerned?

Don’t worry, be happy, these are compost helpers that have little to no negative impact in your garden.  Large grubs like you describe are most likely the larvae of the big iridescent green Figeater beetle, Cotinis mutabilis, a noisy, bumbling aviator. The larvae feed on decaying matter so there is no worry that they will eat your plants.  



Composting for Farms, Schools & Community Gardens

Mid-scale composting can provide solutions for farms, ranches, schools, and community gardens that have more than “backyard” and less than commercial volumes of organic material that needs handling. Our free Composting for Farms, Schools & Community Gardens Workshop Series are also perfect for businesses, restaurants and food service facilities that want to divert food scrap from their waste streams. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to go behind-the-scenes for guided tours of local mid-scale composting systems!

Mid-scale composting can:

  • Improve soil quality resulting in healthier plants that require less water
  • Reduce waste hauling costs 
  • Divert organic material from fhe landfill and comply with state organics regulations

Residents of unincorporated  San Diego County receive preferential registration. Other registrants will be placed on a wait list. If space is available, registration will be opened to non-residents 1 to 2 weeks before the start of the course in order of wait list. This workshop series is funded by the County of San Diego.

Mid-scale Composting Overview Workshop  

Saturday, March 24, 2018
9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Del Mar
Free with refundable deposit



Mid-scale Composting Management Workshop

Saturday, April 14, 2018
9:00 – 11:30 AM
Del Mar

Free with refundable deposit


Mid-scale Composting Regulations Workshop

Saturday, April 21, 2018
9:00 -11:30 AM
Del Mar 
Free with refundable deposit


Mid-scale Composting Benefits Workshop

Saturday, April 28, 2018
9:00 – 11:30 AM
Del Mar 
Free with refundable deposit


Mid-scale Composting Tours in Escondido & San Marcos 

Saturday, March 31, 2018
1:00 – 3:00 PM
Free with refundable deposit

Pathfinder Farm, San Marcos
Deer Park Monastery, Escondido
Terra Madre Gardens, Escondido

Mid-scale Composting Tours in Encinitas

Saturday, April 28, 2018
1:00 – 3:00 PM
Free with refundable deposit

Coastal Roots Farm, Encinitas
A.B. Jones & Co., Encinitas



Rainwater is a Free Resource – Catch it!

Capturing rain from your roof is a quick way to conserve water and help prevent pollution by reducing the amount of runoff entering our storm drain system. And, you can use your catch to help irrigate your landscape!

Did you know that San Diegans are eligible for a $35 rebate on the purchase of a 50 gallon rain barrel, for savings of up to $70 for the purchase of two barrels? Luckily, we offer top quality rain barrels made of 100% recycled material at a discounted price from manufacturer Ivy Rain Barrels.

Pre-order Rain Barrels for Pick Up in Fallbrook or Alpine

You can pre-order rain barrels for pick up anytime at the Solana Center in Encinitas, or, for those of you living in North and East County – we’re coming to you! Pick up your pre-ordered rain barrel at a Rain Barrel Pick-Up Event in Fallbrook on April 15th or Alpine on April 21st. Pre-order by Sunday, April 8th for pick up in Fallbrook or Sunday, April 15th for pick up in Alpine.


1. Order online by selecting your pick up location and then click “Buy Now”.
2. Apply for your rebate at SoCalWaterSmart.
3. Pick up your PRE-ORDERED barrels anytime at the Solana Center Encinitas, or at a Rain Barrel Pick-Up Event in Fallbrook or Alpine.


Sustainable Landscaping Workshops

Learn how to reduce green waste, conserve water, and improve soil at two free workshops on Saturday, April 7, 2018. These workshops are designed for professional landscapers, tree trimmers, and landscape company staff, but all are welcome!  Attend both workshops or choose the one that interests you. Both workshops are approved for Continuing Education Units (CEU) for Landscape Industry Certified recertification by the National Association of Landscape Professionals.  

Residents of unincorporated San Diego County receive preferential registration. Other registrants will be placed on a wait list. If space is available, registration will be opened to non-residents 1 to 2 weeks before the start of the course in order of wait list.These workshops are funded by the County of San Diego.

Tree Pruning & Debris Management Workshop 

Learn proper tree pruning techniques, best practices for reducing landscaping debris, and the basics of composting.

Saturday, April 7, 2018
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Free with refundable deposit




Composting & Debris Management Workshop

Learn best practices for reducing landscaping debris, various composting methods, and the proper use of compost and mulch.

Saturday, April 7, 2018
1:00 – 3:00 PM
Free with refundable deposit


Intro to In-vessel & Vermicomposting Workshop

Saturday, March 31, 2018
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Deer Park Monastery in Escondido

Master Composter Course in City of San Diego 

Tuesdays, April 3-May 1, 2018 (5 week Course)
5:30 – 8:30 PM
The Greenhaven at Ridgehaven in San Diego
FULL – Registration is Closed

Fallbrook Avocado Festival

Sunday, April 15, 2018
9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Come talk dirt with Solana Center! Stop by our composting booth, purchase discounted rain barrels or just say hello at this fun family event!
More info




Del Mar Farmer’s Market

Saturday, April 28, 2018
1:00 – 4:00 PM
Support local farms and businesses, grab some organic produce or an artisanal snack, and stop by our booth to learn about composting and other programs!
More info 



Backyard Composting & Vermicomposting Workshop

Saturday, May 12, 2018
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Water Conservation Garden in Rancho San Diego


Volunteer Spotlight: Jill Giraud

How did you find Solana Center and why do you volunteer with us? 

I have been on Solana Center’s mailing list for years, and have bought composters and rain barrels here. I read about all the advertised compost trainings and sadly passed them throughout my employed life because I did not have enough time.  When I retired and was looking around for productive ways to be of service, Solana Center was a no-brainer. Now I have finally obtained formal education in composting and my pile is hot! (sometimes)


Help Us Recognize Our Volunteers!

We appreciate our volunteers for all their amazing work in the community and try to show them in as many ways as possible. One of our favorite ways is Toast to Compost, a festive annual celebration of all the wonderful things volunteers have done in the past year! If you would like to support our volunteers, donate to our annual Toast to Compost celebration filled with good vibes, food, and merriment. We are grateful for donations of the following:

  • Monetary donations
  • Tableware (reusable cutlery, plates, cups, etc)
  • Decorations
  • Prizes (gift cards, tickets, garden accessories, etc)

If you would like to make a contribution, email volunteer@solanacenter.org or click the donate button below. We are also offering an Internship position to assist with the design and coordination of the event. See more details here.

Thank you for your generous support!



Become a Solana Center Board Member

At Solana Center, our mission is to mobilize the local community to address our region’s most pressing environmental issues. If the health of the environment is important to you, with your professional skills, you can make a positive impact on Solana Center’s Board of Directors. Email our Board President Lindsey Sheehan, lrsheehan@gmail.com to learn more about being part of a team that makes a difference in the community and beyond. 

Thank You to Our Donors & Supporters

  • The M.A. Beyster Fund, J.F. Beyster Fund, and the San Diego Foundation for their generous support of our community composting program. This funding will enable us to provide real solutions for reducing waste at the community level. 
  • Four Fin Creative  
  • Suzanne Muller
  • Kellogg’s Care$ on behalf of Natalie Knopp
  • Barbara Potts
  • REOTEMP Instruments
  • Lindsey Sheehan 
  • Mary Ann Stone



This newsletter is possible through generous support from the City of San Diego Environmental Services, the City of Encinitas, and the County of San Diego