Presentation on theme: "Getting Organic Discards Back to Where they Belong… The Composting/Farm Connection 31st Annual CRRA Conference - Navigating to Zero Waste July 30, 2007."— Presentation transcript:
Getting Organic Discards Back to Where they Belong… The Composting/Farm Connection 31st Annual CRRA Conference - Navigating to Zero Waste July 30, 2007 San Pedro, California Rich Flammer Hidden Resources
Theres no more logical place to compost than on California ag lands. Built-in resources for composting (feedstocks, land, equipment, end-product markets) Diversified range of scale and logistical advantages (small farms to manage their own material and provide decentralized locations for processing imported materials/large farms for more centralized sites)
Farming and composting need each other… Processing sites Markets for end-products Improved crop yields Transition to organic growing Highest and best use of organics Diversified agricultural revenue streams A critical relationship to foster for zero waste advancement Preservation of both farming and organics processing industries
Not to mention more fresh, locally grown produce
Currently, about 29 million of California's 100 million acres of land are used for agricultural production, yet the state is losing 40,000 to 50,000 acres of some of the nations best farmland every year to residential and urban development. (Source: California Department of Food and Agriculture)
Agriculture in California provides for nearly one in every ten jobs, and over $100 billion in related economic activity. As the largest agricultural producer and exporter in the nation, direct farm sales valued at $32 billion in 2004. On only 4% of the nations farmland, California produces almost half of the nations fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts. For more than 50 consecutive years, California has been the number one agricultural state in the nation. ( Source: California Department of Food and Agriculture) An industry worth preserving…
California produces more than 350 crops, and is the sole commercial producer of almonds, artichokes, figs, olives, persimmons, pomegranates, prunes, raisins and walnuts. There are 77,000 farms and ranches in the state, occupying about one-third of Californias total land area. Californias average farm size is 347 acres. More than 92 percent of California farms are single family owned or partnerships. (Source: California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom)
Unfortunately, the vast agricultural lands in California represent a highly underutilized resource for discarded organics.
Organic resource management originated thousands of years ago as an agricultural practice, and has progressively moved further from the farm, becoming urbanized, centralized, and over-mechanized. The first historical references to using organics in agriculture were found on clay tablets from the Akkadian Empire, a civilization believed to be in existence around 2300 B.C.
Professionally managed, any material can be composted with an outdoor, open-windrow process on a farm without public nuisance or negative environmental impact.
State composting regulations adequately address composting on farms, but local land use rules are prohibitive. The result: Most farmers are not reaping the agricultural, environmental and economic benefits of Californias discarded organics, and those who are composting are doing so with little technical assistance and virtually no regulatory oversight.
Environmental Assets of Managing Organics on Farms Low impact management of farms own manure and residuals Improved soil and crops become a sink for C02 Decreased pollution of water sources and degradation of soil
Compost Amended Soil and Organic Farmings Role in Reducing Greenhouse Gases Soil carbon in organic growing systems studied increased by 15 to 28 percent versus conventional farming methods, taking the equivalent of approximately 3,500 pounds of carbon dioxide per hectare out of the air. Organic growing not only uses an average of 30 percent less fossil energy, but also conserves more water in the soil, induces less erosion, maintains soil quality and conserves more biological resources than conventional farming. (David Pimentel, Cornell University professor of ecology and agriculture) "Enhancing the natural processes that remove CO2 from the atmosphere is thought to be the most cost-effective means of reducing atmospheric levels of CO2." (US Department of Energy) Organic farming… the fastest growing sector of agriculture
3.1 Million People 5 of 19 jurisdictions have not reached 50% diversion #1 county in the nation for value of floricultural, nursery, greenhouse and sod products #1 county in the nation in small (under 10 acres) farms #2 in the nation with the highest number of farms (6,565) 6 permitted compost facilities in county (3 on nurseries) San Diego County Sources: San Diego County Farm Bureau/County of San Diego Public Works A regional snapshot…
1999 City of San Diego Waste Composition Study, Miramar Landfill (excludes yard waste and beverage containers already diverted for composting/recycling) 53% Compostabl e
Almost 75% of San Diego Countys compostable materials are landfilled directly or as ADC.
Farmers polled expressed interest in composting their own residuals and importing bulking agents on-site, but feared local land use policies/zoning ordinances Assistance needed with funding, permitting, technology, and processing integration Overuse of organic materials as alternate daily cover impedes availability of feedstocks and finished products Lack of investment, and integration of farms into statewide composting strategies and initiatives Barriers to composting on the farm…
How do we get organics back to ag lands? Modify state initiatives, local zoning ordinances and land use rules to facilitate composting and direct land application on farms Increase strategic investment in organics management and finished product markets Develop a system of information exchange, training, and standards for the agricultural industry Eliminate diversion credit for ADC Phase compostable organics out of the landfill by 2012
A State Model for On-farm Composting General Permit for On-farm Composting - Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Agriculture is a way of life in Pennsylvania. To encourage recycling within the agricultural community the Department has initiated a composting program for farmers through the general permit process. The new general permit allows the composting of yard waste, source separated food scraps from food markets, grocery stores, food banks, food distribution centers, school cafeterias, and institutions, source-separated newspaper, and source separated corrugated paper (cardboard). This permit allows farmers to connect with their local community grocery stores, schools and institutions to help them dispose of organic waste in an environmentally beneficial manner, generate income through tipping fees and produce a valuable soil building amendment to use back on the farm.
Rich Flammer Hidden Resources (619) 758-0726 www.compostingconsultant.co m firstname.lastname@example.org et Thanks for listening!