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US (GA): Increasing sustainable compost production for urban growers

While the demand for high-quality, locally produced compost is on the rise in Metro Atlanta, regulatory uncertainty and food waste contamination are among key factors hindering the growth of Georgia’s compost industry.

A white paper released by Food Well Alliance, an Atlanta-based nonprofit, outlines these challenges, and offers strategic recommendations formulated by a coalition of compost experts, regulators and urban growers to reuse food waste to increase community-based composting in Metro Atlanta.

Together, these local food stakeholders - including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4; City of Atlanta, Office of Sustainability; Georgia Recycling Coalition; Georgia Restaurant Association; Truly Living Well Center for Urban Agriculture; and Compostwheels - have expanded on Food Well Alliance’s work to build healthy soil.

According to the white paper, Closing the Loop: Food Waste in Atlanta:
  • Locally produced compost demand is strong and growing, but compost producers are unable to meet demand.
  • Georgia’s compost industry needs the right regulatory climate so urban growers can grow more sustainably-grown, locally-produced food.
  • Feedstock contamination is both a Safety and an economic issue.
Food Well Alliance believes community-based composting has the ability to effectively manage food waste and create healthier soil for Atlanta’s growers.

“Composting is critical in an urban area like Metro Atlanta,” said Bobbi de Winter, Executive Director at Food Well Alliance. “It closes the loop to create a sustainable local food system.”

Funding from the James M. Cox Foundation helped establish Food Well Alliance and has enabled the organization to expand its work on composting and healthy soil. Named after Cox Enterprises’ founder, the James M. Cox Foundation concentrates its community support in several areas, including: conservation and environment; early childhood education; empowering families and individuals for success; and health. Cox Conserves, the company’s national sustainability program, is supporting its 10th anniversary this year.

To download a copy of the white paper, visit

Publication date: 7/18/2017



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