Mulch For The People
Panelists Leigh Adams of the Arboretum and Melanie Winters of Water LA and The River Project brought expert information about how homeowners in our watershed can use mulch in contoured yards to reverse the current huge waste of stormwater. Greg Jones of Long Beach Public Works described how his city created a job-training program as a way of staffing home delivery of mulch over the past six years and also mentioned the Arcadia home delivery program. For Pasadena Public Works, Kenny Graham described how Pasadena provides mulch pick-up sites and Gabe Silva mentioned that a new state law requires the City to inform private companies such as arborists that they now must recycle organic waste.
After a lively Q/A conducted by moderator Sarah Leone, panelists and audience together discussed how to get more mulch to more people. Ideas on funding, staffing and locating a Pasadena mulch delivery program predominated.
On March 2, 2016, Sylvia Holmes and Lin Griffith for Mulch for the People met with Charles Peretz and Kenny Graham of Pasadena Public Works to see which ideas from State of the Mulch 2 might be workable. The meeting started with the happy announcement that, as a pilot project, the City will provide compost from Athens Services as well as mulch at the Victory Park mulch pick-up site on dates available atwww.cityofpasadena.net/PublicWorks/MulchRecycling/
Then we explored the possibility of initiating a City mulch home delivery program. The main challenges are (1) a place to store mulch and (2) funding for additional staff.
For several years, Pasadena Public Works staff have been trying to identify City-owned vacant land that could be used as a “lay-down” area for storing and improving the quality of mulch. Crowd-sourcing could help here. If you can think of a bit of underutilized land not right next to any house and accessible by dump truck, please post a comment for us.
For staff and funding, we considered searching for grants available to cities for workforce development, water conservation or diversion of organic materials from landfill as required by new legislation. The existing Pasadena MASH program could possibly provide workers. Of partner organizations suggested, YouthBuild seemed to offer the best fit for providing workers. We welcome further ideas on these challenges.
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— Lin Griffith
Photo courtesy of Sylvia Holmes.