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Janet Whited
Recycling Specialist
San Diego Unified School District
4860 Ruffner St.
San Diego, CA 92111


Hand holding compost Composting & Gardening   

Many classrooms and schools in San Diego Unified School District compost lunch scraps and other organic material to make a soil amendment for their school garden or landscaped areas.   Some classrooms have built vermi-composting bins where they use worms to break down the organic waste and create nutrient rich “castings.”  These castings are great for the soil and gardens.  In addition, liquid from this process, often called “compost tea,” is also full of nutrients and can be used to water plants.

What is compost?

Compost is an organic material derived from decomposed food scraps and garden waste. It has a soil-like, often spongy texture and is rich in nutrients.

compostComposting is a natural recycling process whereby tiny micro-organisms feed off decomposing kitchen and garden scraps. This helps to break down the organic matter. After several weeks to months the material turns into nutrient rich, brown compost, ready for use on plants and soil.

Why should we compost?

By composting at school and at home, we reduce trash collection costs for the District, as well as reduce the organic waste that is sent to our local landfills.  Organic waste dumped in the landfill will rot without air (anaerobic decomposition) and forms harmful ammonia gases.  Rotting organic waste also produces methane – a powerful greenhouse gas that is found to contribute towards climate change. Compost is great for school gardens and works as a feed and soil conditioner, improving soil quality and encouraging plants to grow and stay healthy.

 New For composting best practices, download the Composting at School - San Diego Unified School District Best Practices (pdf).
School Site Guide for Gardens & Landscape (pdf)
The District's current guidelines for creating and maintaining school gardens           
cycleComposting Education
SDUSD Farm to School logo
SDUSD Farm to School - If you're interested in composting or school gardens, you may also be interested in the District's Farm to School program.