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Healthy Soils

LA Sanitation & Environment considers soil to be a living ecosystem and supports practices and projects that improve soil quality. LASAN uses the National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) definition: “Soil health, also referred to as soil quality, is defined as the continued capacity of soil to function as a vital living ecosystem that sustains plants, animals, and humans.”

ENVIRONMENTAL AND COMMUNITY BENEFITS OF HEALTHY SOILS

Healthy soils are vitally important to life on earth and provide a variety of ecosystem services. About 95% of our global food supply comes from soils. Soils store and filter water, improving food security and mitigating floods and droughts. Soils host about 25% of our planet’s biodiversity (FAO, 2015). Soils store more carbon than the atmosphere and terrestrial vegetation combined (FAO, 2017). Composting and small scale urban agriculture can also benefit public health, enabling local food production and increasing food security in vulnerable communities. While soil contamination can pose public health challenges within cities, soil amendments, soil exchange and composting programs, and community engagement in remediation practices represent promising solutions.

HEALTHY SOILS PROGRAM

There are a number of healthy soil goals in LA's Green New Deal (2019 Sustainability pLAn). To achieve them, LASAN is:
  • Developing a healthy soil strategy for the City to support urban agriculture, address carbon sequestration, and increase water capture.
  • Exploring incentives for regenerative agricultural practices, including water conservation.
  • Amplifying community education campaigns on the benefits of healthy soils, biodiversity, and regenerative agriculture.
  • Piloting healthy soil projects.
In addition to the healthy soils targets set forth in LA’s Green New Deal, Councilmember Koretz introduced the RegnerateLA (Healthy Soils) Motion to City Council (CF# 20-1225) on September 23, 2020. The motion is an important development in the healthy soil world that will go beyond what is outlined in the Green New Deal and help formalize practices, foster collaborations, and prioritize projects that promote composting and regenerative agriculture. LASAN is very excited to lead the Citywide Healthy Soils effort and collaborate with both City Departments on this effort.

HEALTHY SOILS ADVISORY PANEL

The City has convened a group of experts and advisors to assist with the above goals and better integrate soils management into our practices. The group has contributed to the Healthy Soils Strategy Document and has proposed innovative pilot project concepts. The panel includes members from the following organizations:

HEALTHY SOILS PILOTS

Kiss the Ground, LA Compost, LA Recreation & Parks, and LASAN are hoping to partner on an initiative to expand composting across the City of LA. The project will create two new “platinum” composting sites at Griffith Park and Lake Balboa Park. The project also intends to:
  • Provide training to Recreation & Parks staff on composting
  • Launch a public awareness campaign
  • Perform monitoring and data collection
  • Establish demonstration sites
  • Install pollinator/native plant gardens

MULTI-BENEFIT PROJECTS BEING PURSUED BY LASAN

Many LASAN projects are multi-benefit projects that have benefits for soil health, water quality, and air quality. LASAN seeks to integrate brown, blue, and green infrastructure efforts.

Examples:
Links to Related Programs:Contact Information:
Please contact michelle.barton@lacity.org for more information