The Countywide Smart Gardening Program aims to reduce disposal of yard waste. Workshops teach residents about composting, grasscycling, water-wise gardening, and drought tolerant landscaping. The program increases the awareness of homeowners on the benefits of proper yard waste management. To encourage and assist residents to divert yard waste, the program provides discounted backyard and worm compost bins. These compost bins have demonstrated to be an effective source reduction tool for green waste and yard waste. The program conducts 100-125 workshops a year. About half of the workshops are held at the County's permanent 9 learning centers situated at County parks, botanical centers, and a school.
Benefits to Environmental Resources
- Conservation of water, materials and energy; waste reduction. Food waste and green waste make up a large portion of waste sent to landfills. By reducing the amount of materials going into the waste stream, we can reduce emissions from the collection, transportation and disposal of this waste. Since food waste and green waste are easily biodegradable, they contribute to the generation of GHG emissions at landfills. In addition, teaching residents how to grow their own food reduces the need to expend energy to grow, process, store, and sell food. Smart Gardening workshops also teach water-wise gardening, which involves using various landscaping techniques that help conserve water while maintaining a beautiful and efficient yard. In Southern California, reducing water consumption helps save energy and reduces the impact on imported water sources.
Contribution to wellbeing of DPW and the County
- Community Gardens and Learning Centers. The Smart Gardening Program also includes the construction of community gardens and learning centers. These community centers give residents, who may not have space at home, the opportunity to grow their own food. It also provides a location where residents can attend free public workshops to learn about smart gardening and composting techniques which improve residents’ health and wellbeing in addition to making the community beautiful.
Contribution to Economic Health
- Teaching Valuable Skills. The skills that residents learn at smart gardening workshops provide real value at home and in the community. By learning to grow their own food and to conserve water, residents are able to reduce their monthly grocery and utility bills. Also by composting their organic waste at home and keeping it out of the waste stream they are reducing the overall cost of waste disposal in the County.