In an effort to mitigate the causes of environmental pollutants and contaminated soils in Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti signed Executive Directive #7 in 2015 and introduced the Sustainable City pLAn. The pLAn is a roadmap to a carbon free environment and mandated a major update every four years. In 2019 the pLAn was updated and branded as LA’s Green New Deal (GND). It presented benchmarks to: • Reduce GHG emissions; • Increase composting; • Divert more solid waste from landfills; • Promote urban agriculture; and, • Implement zero-emission transportation corridors.
The GND is an innovative document that out-distances initiatives put forward by leaders, advocates, and policy makers in cities around the nation. Mayor Garcetti's GND includes developing an overall Healthy Soil Strategy for the City as well as a number of other healthy soils goals including:
• Piloting two healthy soil projects; • Exploring incentives for regenerative agriculture and water conservation; • Amplifying community outreach on the benefits of healthy soils, biodiversity, and regenerative agriculture.
Other related goals include: establishing farmers market food waste drop-offs, launching residential food scraps collection, and developing a composting master plan.
In September 2020, City Councilmember Paul Koretz introduced “RegenerateLA,” a Healthy Soils initiative, to City Council. The motion calls for collaboration across relevant City Departments to research opportunities to develop compost operations on public lands; to reduce chemical and water use in parks via compost/mulch; to use excess mulch/green-bin collection to support healthy soil; to unpave underutilized spaces and use them for composting/mulching operations; and to increase water infiltration. The motion also calls for raising public awareness and training staff on soil health, regenerative practices, and integrated pest management.
To achieve the goals set forth in the GND and RegenerateLA Motion, LA Sanitation & Environment is working with partners from the public, non-governmental, and private sectors. In July 2020, the City created a Healthy Soils Advisory Panel composed of 40 local experts and researchers on issues related to soil health. This panel has provided invaluable guidance and informed the City’s Healthy Soils Strategy and launched a variety of collaborative projects/efforts. Next, the City plans to create an interdepartmental team from relevant City departments (e.g., Zoo, Recreation & Parks, etc.) to implement the vision set forth in the strategy document. The City’s unique, collaborative approach to healthy soils and regenerative agriculture puts LA at the forefront of this issue and provides a framework for other municipalities.