Reducing Landfill Waste at Micheltorena

Harvest at Micheltorena

Wheeew, what a week and it’s only Wednesday! We have been hard at work teaching lessons at Micheltorena, and during our down time, working on getting the kids to eat healthy, find homes for perfectly good food and compost what can’t be saved.

I’ll start with harvesting, it was lesson 6 in our rotation. Meaning I won’t be seeing these kids for a little while. But I have to say I am super proud that almost all my kids prepped dishes, harvested lettuce, and made a salad all by themselves. They also ate a good amount.


At lunch time we worked on composting, with Lisa’s support (Friends of Micheltorena) we were able to set up an assembly line of sorts, or disassembly line.

We had the kids sort their compost, donate what they didn’t eat.


As part of my Master Gardener training, I’ve been introduced to wonderful non-profits. One of the NPOs that we work with is called, Seeds of Hope (not to be confused with the Jane Goodall book).

The accepted the donations and we’re discussing how we can work together to get these items into the hands of those who need it most.

This lesson came full circle for me. Particularly, when I donated the items to the food pantry and the nutrition consultant turned away some of the yogurt because of the sugar content. Which got my wheels turning…

Nutrition isn’t a lesson that should be crammed into a class. It is a lifelong lesson that we should adapt to feed our needs. Making salads with the kids was emotionally rewarding for me as a garden educator because I showed the kids that they’re able to put together a quick, healthy meal in a hurry. We made our own dressing with a lemon we picked from our garden, and some olive oil. It’s hard to look at the sugar content in some of these items, but if we can continue to provide kids with healthy alternatives, we will foster life-long opportunities to be better.

As an adult, this reminds me to read the nutrition labels on my kids snacks (nudge nudge).

Also, for the record, we composted 15.5 lbs of waste in our own compost bin on Tuesday (food from prior week) and 7.2 lbs. of waste on Wednesday. Micheltorena is really leading the charge. Feel free to reach out if you’re interested in volunteering.






Alex Arciniega


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