Solana Center's Eco Learning Lab: Mid-Scale Composting Demonstration and Training Center is where food-generating entities – from restaurants and grocers to HOAs and corporate cafeterias – can learn about managing their own food waste onsite.
The San Diego region does not have facilities to process even a small portion of the food waste it generates. At the same time, local businesses and jurisdictions need support meeting the demands of AB 1826, California's bill to keep organics out of the landfill. The site, located at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, provides motivated restauranteurs, office cafeteria managers, community gardeners, farmers, entrepreneurs, city planners, and others the opportunity to assess the suitability of various solutions to their environment.
Here's a quick checklist to see if this program is right for you.
Produces food waste and/or has surplus food
Is concerned about the health of our environment
Is ready to learn about potential food waste management options
If you checked all three boxes, you’re in the right place.
Composting had never been top of mind, until Solana Center brought to us simple ways to engage our employees with the shared mission to create positive impact through food.
- Natalie, Kashi Brand Manager
Eco Learning Lab Tour
Plan an educational tour for your team guided by Solana Center's composting experts.
Our composting demonstrations include:
- Vermi-composting – 30-foot mechanized through-flow bin that processes pre-consumer food scraps
- Aerated static piles – 8-cubic yard (cy) and 10-cy wood bins designed by O2 Compost that processes kitchen food scraps, horse manure and bedding, and landscaping material
- In-vessel device – 1.4-cy Green Mountain Technologies Earth Cube that processes kitchen scraps and greens and browns from the Del Mar Fairgrounds grounds
- Dual-chambered tumbler – 3-cy tumbler for traditional composting that demonstrates, along with the Earth Cube, aggressive vector control strategy
- Black soldier fly larvae nursery – Observation tank will be connected to a chicken coop where the self-harvesting larvae will become protein-rich food source for chickens; processes pre- and post-consumer food scraps
- Bokashi pretreatment system – 5-gallon bucket with airtight lid utilizing Bokashi-innoculated bran allows us to stockpile pre- and post-consumer food scraps until we are ready to use them
Each of the exhibits feature signage that list pros and cons of the system and describe how the method scales up.
State Legislation - Organics Recycling
Strict adherence to local land and water use regulations are very important at this site, which is managed by the state of California. Covered bins demonstrate mitigation of greenhouse and noxious gases as well as containment of dust. Leachate is minimized through various strategies, both by design and in practice.