Leaders identify opportunities for community-based composting in Metro Atlanta


Food Well Alliance recently brought 12 organizational leaders together with the goal of developing recommendations to scale and support community-based composting in Atlanta.

From generators of food residuals and haulers, to processors and users, composting is crucial because it is a great way to build the health of soil.

“Composting is important because we are losing the nutrient value in our soil through our current agricultural practices at a staggering rate,” said Compostwheels founder David Paull, who was a participant during the first of several Working Tables held on January 20.

“Compost is a forum from which we can develop the nutrient capacity back in our soil system so that we have healthy food that allows us to be healthy individuals and have vibrant communities.”

David also believes we need to increase the capacity for community-based composting in Atlanta.

“That will ultimately increase our ability to create more vibrant soil systems for our local farms and gardens,” he said.

Over the last several months, Food Well Alliance has heard from the local food community who expressed their challenges and needs surrounding access to local composting.

Back in August, we along with the Georgia Recycling Coalition, the City of Atlanta’s Office of Sustainability and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, convened 50 local compost stakeholders to catalyze community-based composting practices.

In that meeting, the group was able to identify a goal to increase the production of and access to high-quality compost in metro Atlanta.

During the latest Working Table, leaders discussed the challenges surrounding community-based composting including the lack of funding, access to land and investment in education and training, along with zoning issues, high water costs and contamination.

However, they also identified opportunities for change, which included increasing the education and public awareness around composting, as well as regulatory change.

For participant Karen Bremer, who serves as the Chief Executive Officer for the Georgia Restaurant Association, she said she hopes for a greater awareness of composting.

“I hope for there to be a greater awareness that there is the ability to do it and awareness on how to do it correctly,” she said.

She also noted the challenges facing restaurateurs when it comes to composting, including space constraints in kitchens and understanding how composting works.

Over the next couple of months, Food Well Alliance will convene more sessions around community composting.

The key insights and recommendations made by members of the Working Table will ultimately develop a set of strategic priorities for advancing community-based composting in Atlanta.

Check back for a re-cap on the next Working Table, which will take place on February 3. Find more information here.