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How to make compost and maybe save the world too

The Los Angeles Times

There’s nothing mysterious about making compost. It’s just a mixture of stuff we usually toss — banana peels, coffee grounds, eggshells, shredded newspaper, fallen leaves, grass clippings ... and that bag of forgotten spinach that started dissolving in the fridge.

The magic is what this motley mix becomes after just two or three months: a brown, crumbly, sweet-smelling amendment that not only builds and enriches your soil but helps it retain water while nourishing the beneficial microbes all good soil requires. We’re talking pure garden gold rescued from the landfill, and all you have to do is keep it balanced, replenished and moist.

In fact, once you start composting, it tends to change your world view, says Michael Martinez, founder and executive director of L.A. Compost. “When you see things as having value that you once thought were worthless, it starts to apply to anything we see as ‘waste’ — even people,” he said. “It’s a way to change our disposable culture.”

Martinez started L.A. Compost in 2013, picking up food waste on a bicycle to create community composting piles. Today L.A. Compost oversees 35 composting hubs, where people with no room for compost piles can leave their kitchen scraps and yard trimmings instead of sending them to the landfill.

One hub is at the John C. Fremont Wellness Center & Community Garden, next to Fremont High School in South L.A., where students take classes learning how to make compost and tend the small orchard and raised beds of vegetables on land managed by the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust. Martinez, land trust gardens and youth program manager Megan Laird and compost manager Jonathan Galindez offer these tips for creating your own compost piles at home:

Read the full and original article at The Los Angeles Times

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