Composting with Magical Worm Bins

If you want to compost, but you don’t have brown waste (dry leaves, brown paper bags, twigs etc) and you only have food scraps, your situation is perfect for a worm bin. The worms only need food scraps, a bit of bedding and regular dampness, and then they are happy to help you on your composting quest.

WHY TO COMPOST WITH WORMS

After the worms eat food scraps, just their poo is left over and it’s called “worm castings”. It’s used to sprinkle on the soil around plants as a fertilizer!

In some worm bins, there is even a spout at the bottom to drain their “tea.” In this case, “tea” is pee. Just like their poo, it can be poured on the soil or sprayed on the leaves of plants- they love it!

“Worm tea” can also be made by putting a glob of poo in some water, letting it sit for a few hours and then feeding it to your plants as a wonder-working fertilizer.

Worm castings are filled with enzymes, good bacteria, and nutrients. Worm poo contains no salt, has a neutral PH of 7, and is water-soluble, so it is immediately absorbable by plants. Extreme PH levels, either high or low, make it impossible for plants to absorb nutrients and worm castings help prevent these extreme levels. The neutral PH also means castings can’t burn even the most delicate of plants. (Except orchids- Orchids naturally grow on the bark of rainforest trees or out of fallen leaves on the jungle floor, not in soil. I’ve found that giving them something found in soil can kill them!)

Worm castings contain nitrates, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, potassium, iron, calcium, copper, zinc, cobalt, borax, carbon and nitrogen. The good bacteria in the worm guts ends up in the castings, continuing beneficial activity in the soil too. And a light oil is on the castings when they come out, which erodes over time, creating a time-release effect for the quickly-absorbable nutrients.

And don’t worry, there is surprisingly nothing gross about earthworm poo. You can stick your face right near it and inhale deeply and it smells lovely! It’s as clean and refreshing to us as it is healing for the plants.

WHICH WORM BIN TO BUY

The square worm bins often fall into themselves. I recommend buying the circular 3-tray Can-O-Worms. It used to be available on Amazon, but today I’m only finding it on GrowOrganic.com. If it’s not available at that link when you’re looking, just Google Can-O-Worms with the dashes (if not, lizard food comes up), and look for a black circular thing with 3 levels (each level has handles). Shorter ones with less levels are more available online, but the taller one will make it easier to harvest the worm castings. It’s usually about $120.

And I found one on Etsy that would look gorgeous inside in a kitchen! For a little apartment, or for anyone who doesn’t want to go far to deposit scraps or just wants to keep their crawling friends close by, this Pine 3 Bin Worm Composter (pictured above) seems like a great option to me. If it’s too expensive, you might want to search Etsy, it seems other people have followed in this carpenter’s footsteps for cheaper!

You can also make your own worm bin! That’s what I did. I used 3 stacking plastic tray bins made for papers / office things, and drilled holes in the bases and the lids, added a mesh hole to the top for air, and put an aluminum tray underneath to catch liquid. I made three of them and put them outside in pretty wooden crates on a shelf under a shady tree. The worms seem to like their home! I hope to share more details in another blog.

For now, here is the trusty Can-O-Worms:

can-o-worms 3 trays

THE RIGHT KIND OF WORMS

There are actually different kinds of earthworms! Some are meant for worm bins and some aren’t. Red Wigglers are happy to eat food scraps because they are epigean, meaning they are found above ground, actively decaying rotting vegetables, compost and manure. (Anthills are epigean too, above ground. Fascinating. To me, at least.)

Other earthworms are meant to have humus and soil as their main food and won’t do well in a food scrap environment. And Red Wigglers won’t do well in soil when it dries out.

So be sure to put the right worms in your bin to keep them safe and happy. I think the worm below is not a Red Wiggler. It’s the kind likes soil. The Red Wigglers are much more red. But I’m not sure. So I buy Red Wigglers to be sure…

WHERE TO BUY WORMS

I used to buy them at the Orchard Supply Hardware (OSH) in Los Angeles before they closed. They had a little fridge of live things and the Red Wigglers come in a $15 container that looks like a pint of ice cream. The Sunset Nursery on Fountain has this little fridge too. But now, I order them from Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm and they come alive in a bag in a box in the mail!

Farmers also sell them at markets or if you go directly to their nursery. Some people have businesses selling worms online. Or if you have a friend with a worm bin already, you can take a handful of them and over time, your bin will be full of worm families!

HOW TO CARE FOR THE WORMS

You’ll need brown paper bags/ or coconut coir/ or cardboard, water, a spray bottle, food scraps, a bin and worms.

Get some brown paper bags and rip them into thin strips, or order a brick of coconut coir from Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm. Then soak the strips or the brick in water for a day. Now you have worm bedding! The worms can also eat this bedding if the food isn’t replenished in time. Pretty cool trick- eating your house/ sleeping in your food.

glass spray bottleWorms like a damp environment for their skin, but not wet. The bedding needs to be like a wrung-out sponge. Spray water on the bedding once a week, or more, or less, depending on how dry your climate is and how close the bin is to sunlight. We try to use rainwater if possible, or let the water sit out for a day to evaporate the chlorine.

shady tree
We’re in sunny LA, but our bins are under a very shady tree so we barely have to water the worms at all. When we only had two trays in the bin stack, instead of three, we had to water regularly.

no sun

Side sun note: Worms don’t like the sun- at all. It scares them and they often go as fast as they can back into the dark soil.  Think of having their sweet skin and how bad a sunburn would feel. I also think light makes them feel like they are exposed to getting eaten by a bird. Nobody wants anxiety, even worms…

So if you have a clear plastic bin, cover it with a cloth or creatively find a way to make the outside dark. But having a clear bin also makes sure the worms make their home in the center of the bin and that they stay. So some people keep it clear. I think you can decide which works for you based on the size of the bin and amount of worms you have. Back to bedding…

worm bed

Put the bedding in the lowest layer of your bin, not all the way to the top, but close. Put the worms under the bedding. They’ll crawl up out of the lowest layer through the holes in the bottom of the 2nd layer and eat. But they need to be close enough to reach. After eating, they go “home” to the bedding of the lowest layer.

Put the food scraps in the 2nd layer under some bedding too. They like privacy when they eat, and in general. Only put small bits of food in at a time and when you see they’re eating it, then add more. Over-feeding can kill them. As time passes and the 2nd layer is filled, only put food in the 3rd layer.

Overtime, there will be castings that are ready in the 1st layer. You can scoop them out and use them and move the lowest layer to the top. If the timing is right, most of the worms will have moved away from the castings and will be closer to the food. (If not, you’ll have to pick out some worms, especially if you’re making tea, so they don’t drown.) I usually just use small handfuls of castings and keep the layers in the same place.

This layers idea helps me understand what’s happening inside the bin, but I don’t stick to it in any way. I just sort of put food in a corner under some wet cardboard whenever and sense when to do it again. I’m still learning the rhythm of the worms, and myself, and the dryness of each season, even after years! And yet, there still ends up being a bit of fertilizer at the end of it all.

WORM FOOD

Worms like rotting food. If you put fresh food scraps in, they won’t eat until some time passes. Never give them acidic food or food that will make too much water. I’ve had a hard time when giving them melons- lost of bunch of worm babies this way!

If you want the process to go faster, chop the food into smaller pieces or blend everything in a blender before giving it to the worms. They like soft food, although some people do give them eggshells.

I’ve seen people bake the eggshells first to clean off any salmonella. I don’t do that, but also my worms don’t seem to like eggshells at all. I think it’s more that the shells take forever for the worms to break down, so I end up with finished castings mixed with eggshells. But I’ve also seen people powder the eggshells in a food-processor first and I think that could help me.

They basically eat like fat-free, raw vegans. They help me remember- if I don’t have any scraps to feed them, I’m probably not feeding myself very well. They can eat cooked food, but nothing processed and nothing with oil. For example, the tail of a boiled beet is great because it wasn’t cooked with oil, but canned beets are processed and often have vinegar which is too intense for worms. Because their skin is tender, they don’t like salty, hot, vinegary or spicy things.

A rule could be: “Don’t give them anything I wouldn’t want in my eye or an open wound.” I didn’t think this could get grosser, but I did it! Also, I guess I wouldn’t want most foods in my eye, especially eggshells… or cardboard… which isn’t a food… Nonetheless, here are our family’s worm food guidelines:

YES, IT’S WORM FOOD:

  • soft or chopped up raw or boiled/ baked foods (preferably organic)
  • non-acidic fruits
  • veggies
  • moderate grain & potatoes
  • water-soaked and wrung-out egg cartons, shredded paper, cardboard, brown bags
  • crushed or powdered eggshells

NOT A WORM FOOD:

  • meat
  • fish
  • bones
  • fat/ oil/ greasy stuff
  • vinegar
  • dairy
  • eggs
  • onion
  • garlic
  • spicy foods (peppers)
  • salt or salty foods
  • canned sauces
  • nut butters
  • processed food
  • citrus (lemons, oranges, limes, pineapples, juice)
  • anything acidic (bits of tomato are okay)
  • animal feces
  • grass
  • fruit or avocado pits (take too long to break down)
  • chemically treated wood
  • bleached white paper
  • herbicides and pesticides
  • diseased plants

WORDS OF WORMSDOM

What has helped me to care for the worms is what I learned from the garden- some of the living things I care for will die. Whew, that’s a deeply hard thing for me to type. But I’ve learned from going into gardening and then caring for worms that the best mindset for me is to see the whole thing as practice and to expect things to die and to start again. It doesn’t make it easier when things die, but if I don’t think this way, I never start.

I love worms so very much. They remind me that, left as is, life has a cycle that can leave me feeling cared for without me having to try so hard and what seems like something negative can become nourishing again.

heart ruth signature

P.S. More food tips at Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm

My Compost Story Part 1: Hollywood Orchard Pile

May 10, 2017

I’ve been participating in making and flipping the Hollywood Orchard compost pile over the past few months. From this experience, I’m getting to learn even more fun things about composting! The Hollywood Orchard made a big compost pile this morning! (It’s even taller in the shadows.) This particular day, the pile was a mix of:

  • local rabbit poo
  • local horse poo
  • fruit & veggie fiber remains from a juicery
  • straw
  • clipped up loquat tree trimmings
  • dry leaves from a yard

We make thin repeating layers of these ingredients, gently watering each layer the whole time.

The pile will get hot even by tomorrow! We are prepping for when the Cheremoya school kids to come visit the Orchard in Beachwood Canyon in two days. We’ll put a potato and deep in the pile tonight to cook & show them how hot it gets inside! And randomly, all of this happens to coincide with International Compost Awareness Week! #hotpotato

My Compost Story Part 2: Our Bin

May 11, 2017

This is Shane & I’s homemade compost bin! A trash can with drilled holes in it. We’ve had it for years, but as it filled, it was too heavy to rotate (aka roll around on the driveway)! And then we stopped adding brown stuff, so… whew! It is an intense/ rich/ thick pile of wet stuff.

At the beginning of April, we started adding brown again though. But it’s still hard to truly mix the brown into the bottom of the muck.

So we’re saving carbon-rich brown yard leaves, torn-up brown paper grocery bags, egg cartons, & toilet paper rolls to eventually mix with this nitrogen-rich giant wad of old food we have in our compost can.

We’re either going to mix it in a fancy compost bin that we can turn easily, or build a pit topped with a raised-garden-bed-type box with cellar doors to keep out critters, or just find a spot to make a pile in the open, now that we saw how to do it at the Hollywood Orchard.

Whatever we decide to do, our layers of carbon (the brown stuff we’re hoarding) & nitrogen (the muck we have already hoarded) will be ready and abundant!

WORM BIN

But in the meantime, we made our own worm bin! Worms don’t need brown carbon like compost does, and since we naturally have more food scraps (which fall under “green”), a worm bin makes sense for us.

LEARNED SOMETHING NEW

Because of The Compost Challenge, we realized we were throwing non-organic food in the trash and wasting it! We used to only compost foods that are organic and other things that are chemical and pesticide-free. But now we’re also starting to put non-organic food in our green bin to be composted by the city.

WHERE WE STORE OUR FOOD SCRAPS

We keep our food scraps in our refrigerator before transferring them to the compost to avoid smells or a parade of ants. We need to get better tupperware for the fridge door to keep it all easily accessible and organized (Organic/ Non-organic/ Worm Bin). We also need to find inside-the-house storage for our new habit of keeping brown paper things for the compost.

We keep the most chopped-up, less-acidic and soft organic food in a separate tupperware for the worms. They like it.

NON-FOOD COMPOSTABLE ITEMS

As for non-food items, we’ve worked up to having all natural, basically edible, shampoo, conditioner and hair gel so that we can compost our hair with our organic compost. Hair is incredibly nitrogen-rich! So are our fingernails! So I don’t use any nail polish or nail polish remover and our body soap is also all-natural ingredients. So we can organic-compost our fingernails too! Fun fact: There are companies who even make hair-mats that cover the base of plants to keep moisture in and add nutrients!

BEAUTY IN THE GROSS

I’m madly in love with the fact that what our body exhales (carbon dioxide) and sheds (nitrogen in the form of hair and nails) naturally feeds the plants and trees around us, and what the plants and trees exhale (oxygen) and shed (fruits & veggies) naturally feed us. How magical. (I even love mites- because they are eating our dead skin!) Imagining a world without this cycle of togetherness leaves me thinking of gross piles of hair and fingernails with nowhere to go! But in reality, the cycle we have is amazing! I naturally have no excess, because it all has a place that helps the world in some way… Even the “gross” stuff becomes beautiful!

heart ruth signature

Frankincense: Blood-Thinning Immunity-Booster

Frankincense is a blood thinner, a very effective one, so much so that if you’re on blood thinners or P-glycoprotein drugs, don’t take it. But if you’re not on those drugs and want some help during this different time, my partner and I drink frankincense regularly.

It’s a resin, a dried sap, from the Boswellia sacra trees found in Oman, Yemen and Somalia. It’s an effective expectorant, meaning it clears out mucus from the lungs. Remember when Gaston in Beauty & the Beast sings, “I’m e-spe-cially good at expeeeectorating! ptooey!” (he spits) “Ten points for Gastooon!”? That’s expectorating. My lungs are sensitive and if I have dairy, I have mucus the next day. If I have wheat, soy, or a few other things, I wheeze. I avoid those foods, but not always, so sometimes I have a mild level of goo in my lungs. When I drank frankincense for the first time, the third day, it cleared out my lung phlegm like an OCD maid who then pitched her findings out of my body like a professional baseball player. Gross. And, you’re welcome.

Frankincense tree bark

Also using it topically in various ways can help with skin issues. It’s currently helping me heal cystic acne that is trying to leave divots in my face. It can help balance hormones, is anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory (so it may help with inflammatory conditions like asthma and colitis), and there are studies that show it kills off cancer cells while leaving healthy cells alone. I’m not saying it alone cures cancer, but it can help keep things in check preventatively or alongside other treatments. The Arizona Oncology Center says frankincense oil is “used to reduce inflammation and pain, boost immunity, soothe skin irritations, fight infections, and improve anxiety.”

frankincense

The Wise Men brought it, with myrrh and gold, to the baby Jesus. I used to ignore what they brought and focus on that they knew ahead of time about Jesus. But now I see they were called wise for many reasons. (Studies show that frankincense combined with myrrh is even more effective at killing cancer cells.)


Main point here though is that it’s a helluva blood thinner. We buy an organic, edible frankincense essential oil and put one drop in a glass of water and drink the water over an hour or so, maybe even over a day or so. And we don’t do it more than 10 days in a row. It might be a month before we have it again… We listen to our bodies and that seems to coincide with doing it in moderation. It’s a different way of living, but we like it. Frankincense has quietly helped us in many ways.

. . .

Below are a few references sharing studies of frankincense. (Below that is the CNN article that got me thinking about blood thinners):

Frankincense essential oil suppresses melanoma cancer through down regulation of Bcl-2/Bax cascade signaling… https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6544398/

Frankincense oil derived from Boswellia carteri induces tumor cell specific cytotoxicity https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2664784/

Meta-Analysis of Xihuang Pill [includes frankincense and myrrh] Efficacy When Combined with Chemotherapy for Treatment of Breast Cancer https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6434299/

Does Indian Frankincense Have Health Benefits?https://www.webmd.com/balance/benefits-indian-frankincense

CD8+ T cells mediate the antitumor activity of frankincense and myrrh in hepatocellular carcinoma https://translational-medicine.biomedcentral.com/…/s12967-0…

Arizona Oncology Center on Essential Oils and Cancer Treatment Side Effects https://arizonaoncology.com/…/essential-oils-to-manage-can…/

Gaston from Beauty and the Beast https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VuJTqmpBnI0

. . .

Quotes from the CNN article:

Covid-19 causes sudden strokes in young adults, doctors say

“The new coronavirus appears to be causing sudden strokes in adults in their 30s and 40s who are not otherwise terribly ill, doctors reported Wednesday.”

“Dr. Thomas Oxley, a neurosurgeon at Mount Sinai Health System in New York, and colleagues gave details of five people they treated. All were under the age of 50, and all had either mild symptoms of Covid-19 infection or no symptoms at all.”

“‘The virus seems to be causing increased clotting in the large arteries, leading to severe stroke,’ Oxley told CNN.”

“‘Our report shows a seven-fold increase in incidence of sudden stroke in young patients during the past two weeks. Most of these patients have no past medical history and were at home with either mild symptoms (or in two cases, no symptoms) of Covid,’ he added.”

“All tested positive. Two of them delayed calling an ambulance.”

“Other doctors have also reported that people are reluctant to call 911 or go to emergency rooms because of the pandemic.”

“It is not common for people so young to have strokes, especially strokes in the large vessels in the brain.”

“Brain cells die when blood flow is stopped, and the longer it’s blocked, the wider the damage in the brain. Quick treatment is vital. ‘The most effective treatment for large vessel stroke is clot retrieval, but this must be performed within 6 hours, and sometimes within 24 hours,’ Oxley said.”

“Oxley said his team wanted to tell people to watch themselves for symptoms of coronavirus infection and to call 911 if they have any evidence of stroke.”

“Up until now, people have been advised to only call for an ambulance with shortness of breath or high fever,” he wrote. The easy memory device for stroke, he said, is “FAST”: F for face drooping, A for arm weakness, S for speech difficulty and T for time to call 911.”

Full article here: https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/22/health/strokes-coronavirus-young-adults/index.html

The Census: Based on Social Attitudes

We filled out the census today. I’m Mexican, English, Tigua (Ysleta del Sur Pueblo), Scots-Irish, Apache, German, Yaqui, Swedish and Sephardic as far as I know.

I remember when people started hating Mexicans. I didn’t believe them.

I remember thinking, “They didn’t hate Mexicans when I was a kid. They’re just doing it now because it’s cool. Don’t they see that it was cool to hate the Irish long ago, and the Italians, and the Japanese and that racism is just a thing to make people feel a little better than someone different than them? Doesn’t matter who it is, just as long as it’s around as a security blanket of blame.” I wouldn’t accept the hate then and I won’t now.

It’s not real to me. Even though it is real. And was very real for my grandparents. Tata would talk about how he and Nana went to a restaurant with their newborn baby and Tata was in his Navy uniform. The restaurant wouldn’t let them eat there. And he would fill with fire, sitting calmly in his chair at the kitchen table, and say, “Never say wet-back around me.” I see the pain they carry.

Mom was taught to let go of her heritage in little ways, like she doesn’t know Spanish very well. And I was raised away from both sides of my family in the deep South. I was doing so well in Spanish sophomore year when I moved to Arizona, then had to drop back a year because they were so much more advanced there. It’s weird to not have a lot of tradition from either side. But I can’t express my gratitude for the roots I received from the South. I loved it there.

Because I look Asian and sound white, I don’t get a lot of hate for being Mexican. I’ve had people be racist to Asians in front of me and then apologize to me. I had someone drive by me in the Park Mall parking lot in Tucson and yell, “Suck my dick, you Chinese Bitch!” And I yelled back, “I’M NOT CHINESE!” If they’re gonna hate, at least get it right.

But when I go to the doctor in L.A., there’s a box for me to check that asks something like, “Are you Latino?” and no other boxes asking about anything else. It stands out to me so much. It also bothers me on forms when I have to pick only one race box, as though I need to pretend like one parent doesn’t exist. And in most places, there is a box that says, “White.” But I’m not “White,” I’m Scots-Irish, English, German and Swedish. Also, 100 years ago, being Irish was very different than being English, in a negative way. But what about the positive way too? Now it’s all the same. It’s like white-washing whiteness. Where is the Hungarian box for my partner? Does his heritage not matter?

On the census today, there was a page that asked my race. But Hispanic wasn’t on it. All the other races were on that page. But Hispanic was separate. On the page with all the races together asking “What is Your Race?”, it said, “For this census, Hispanic origin is not counted as a race.” The only races were White, Black or African American, Native American or Alaskan Native, Chinese, Filipino, Asian Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Other Asian, Native Hawaiian, Samoan, Asian, Chamorro, Other Pacific Islander, and Some Other Race. Under, White, Black, Native American and places where it said Other, the census asked for origins to be written in.

But statistically, the boxes represent race. So if we look at just those, where are the Mexicans? We don’t get a box. We are only counted on the separate page as an origin. Also, where are the Iranians, Egyptians, people from the Middle East? We clicked on the “help” links on each page to learn more. And there it said, “The Category White includes all individuals who identify with one or more nationalities or ethnic groups originating in Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa.” So when the race statistics come out, it leaves the potential for it to be said that there are many more “white” people than there actually are.

Screenshot of my 2020 census

My partner wondered when the census started defining white that way. I looked it up and it’s at least defined that way in 2000 & 2010, although they say “Arab” and in 2020 they don’t.

I learned that 2000 was the first year that people could check more than one box. But in 2010, 97% of people still defined themselves as one race only.

Also, from 1790-1960, the first 19 censuses didn’t include Hispanic origin. Hispanic origin started in 1970 and has only been on 5 censuses. Here are some statistics of who was included in the census over time:

1790-1850 “White and Black (Negro), with Black designated as free and slave.”

1850-1920 (minus 1880) “Instructed to also identify Mulattoes (and Quadroons and Octoroons in 1890) among the Black population” Looked it up… Oxford dictionary defines Quadroon as a “Dated/ Offensive” word: a person who is one-quarter black by descent.

1860– “American Indians [excluding those not taxed i.e., living in tribal society] and Chinese (in California only) were identified separately”

1870– “Japanese were identified separately”

1890– “The attempt to enumerate all American Indians started… [but still] included only American Indians who were taxed” in the general questionnaire

1910– “Asian and Pacific Islander categories other than Chinese and Japanese were identified for the first time in decennial census reports, including, for example, Filipino, Hindu, and Korean.”

1930– In this year’s census only “there was a separate race category for Mexican.” This was based largely on who was born in Mexico or whose parents were born in Mexico. [By these standards, I’m not Mexican- neither is my mom or grandparents.] “The race category of Mexican was eliminated in 1940, and 1930 race data were revised to include the Mexican population with the White population.”

1950– “Other Race” was added. This year also included a Spanish Mother tongue category.

1960– “Eskimos and Aleuts were identified in Alaska, and Hawaiians and Part-Hawaiians were identified in Hawaii.”

1970-“the first attempt to identify the entire
Hispanic origin population…

…was defined three different ways in 1970 census reports, the first and second based on 15-percent sample data and the third based on 5-percent sample data… The Spanish origin population in 1970 was overstated in some states, especially in the Midwest and South, because some respondents interpreted the questionnaire category of “Central or South American” to mean central or southern United States.”

“In 1970, such responses in the Other race category… Hispanic entries such as Mexican, Cuban, or Puerto Rican… were reclassified and tabulated as White.”

1980– Data on Hispanic origin were collected on a 100-percent basis

I was born in 1980. But that means generations of my Mom’s family were not welcome on the census before me.

The 2010 census brief titled Overview of Race and Hispanic Origin compares the numbers of Hispanic origin people with White Alone people and shows there are more White Alone people. But it also goes into depth about how “people of Hispanic origin can be any race” and it says in 2010, the “Hispanic population predominantly identified [themselves] as either White or Some Other Race.” I don’t understand how Hispanic origin people can be included in Hispanic origin statistics and White statistics at the same time if the two are being compared to each other.

Anyway, I started out by saying that I can’t feel the racism, but I think what I’m trying to say is that I do feel it. I see it and it’s subtle. But it’s real. At least to me. I don’t like it.

The constitution originally said the census is there to count every person in each state, except “Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons…” which meant slaves. Even from it’s early definition, the census didn’t count everyone. And over time, it seems the census has continued to be less a reflection of the number of people in the US and more a reflection of who is being valued.

Today, it was comforting to read that the census knows it isn’t presenting categories based on anything but what is socially acceptable. The 2020 census says, “The categories included in the questionnaire generally reflect social definitions recognized in this country and do not attempt to define groups biologically, anthropologically, or genetically.” Population DivisionWorking Paper No. 56 on Census.gov says the racial categories and wording of questions has changed over time reflecting “social attitudes and political considerations…”

I like that they’re honest about what the census is, but do others know? I feel like people may subconsciously pick up on the way these questions are presented and believe there is more math or science or truth in it. I could sense something about the census felt off, like maybe it is one of many things that tell our stories in a skewed way. But it wasn’t until I read all this that I saw they’re not hiding that it’s skewed. I’d prefer it to be a more accurate, equal census so a more accurate, equal conversation about it seeps into the collective conscious.

But it seems to work the other way around. The way we talk and look at things shapes the census. It actually seems cyclical, like one affects the other, but I see that truth creeps in somehow and the cycle expands over time. I hope we all keep mattering to ourselves and speaking up so our heritages can take their space in this beautiful place… so that our real existence on this land is not imagined away.


References:

“Population Division: Historical Census Statistics on Population Totals by Race, 1790 TO 1990, and by Hispanic Origin, 1970 TO 1990, for the United States, Regions, Divisions and States by Campbell Gibson and Kay Jung, Working Paper No. 56”

“The White Population: 2000”

“Overview of Race and Hispanic Origin: 2010”

“News Release: 2010 Census Shows America’s Diversity”

Wikipedia: United States Census

Greta Thunberg, Malala, Anne Frank… Out of the Mouths of Children

“My message is that we’ll be watching you. This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here. I should be back in school, on the other side of the ocean. Yet, you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you. You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words.

And yet, I’m one of the lucky ones. People are suffering, people are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction. All you can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growth. How dare you.

For more than 30 years, the science has been crystal clear. How dare you continue to look away and come here saying that you are doing enough when the politics and solutions needed are still nowhere in sight.

You say you hear us and that you understand the urgency. But no matter how sad and angry I am, I do not want to believe that. Because if you really understood the situation and still kept on failing to act, then you would be evil, and that I refuse to believe.

The probability of cutting our emissions in half in ten years only gives us a 50% chance of staying below 1.5 degrees and the risk of setting off irreversible chain reactions beyond human control. Fifty percent may be acceptable to you, but those numbers do not include tipping points, most feedback loops or additional warming hidden by toxic air pollution or the aspects of equity, climate justice.

[What are equity and climate justice? In short, rich countries pollute more, therefore have more responsibility to clean, but try to push the burden into the treaties of newly developing countries. Read a quick explanation here.

Also, our dictionary has the word “unpolluted” but not “unpollute.” Something can be cleaned, but linguistically, there’s not a verb associated with cleaning pollution specifically. Without a verb, there can be no subject. Our language removes the person, and with it, the possibility of responsibility, credit or simply a connection to the action.] 

They also rely on my generation sucking hundreds of billions of your CO2 out of the air with technologies that barely exist. So a 50% risk is simply not acceptable to us, we who have to live with the consequences.

To have a 67% chance of staying below a 1.5 degree global temperature rise, the best odds given by the IPCC, the world had 420 gigatons of CO2 left to emit back on January 1st, 2018. Today that figure is already down to less than 350 gigatons. How dare you pretend that this can be solved with just business as usual and some technical solutions.

With today’s emissions levels, that remaining CO2 budget will be entirely gone in less than eight and a half years. There will not be any solutions or plans in line with these figures here today. Because these numbers are too uncomfortable and you are still not mature enough to tell it like it is. You are failing us. But the young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say, we will never forgive you.

We will not let you get away with this. Right here, right now, is where we draw the line. The world is waking up. And change is coming whether you like it or not. Thank you.”

-Greta Thunberg, September 23 2019, United Nations Summit

Video in this article: Greta Thuberg Condems World Leaders in Emotional Speech to the UN. Best to hear it from her.

Thank you Greta, for your sobering clarity, passionate care and expectation of adults to be loving. I think a child sees best the gaps in an adult’s capacity to care. They expect us to be whole for them.

But we so often cannot be whole for them, even when we will ourselves the hardest. In fact, that kind of pushing usually pushes out space for the adult to accept their humanity, mistakes, imperfection, and for the child to do the same, resulting in less love for a child and oneself. Whatever the reason that one may not be meeting a child’s expectation, I perceive the best cure to be compassion.

I believe most of us are stuck in our own need for validation, continuously searching for our own parental love. No judgment there. To me, searching for love from unavailable people is a common and natural cycle that, unless tended to, continues. Searching via success, money, outside validation… These can be motivators of adults who need to prove their worth and do this without looking at long term consequences for others or themselves (they won’t notice that the validation can be fleeting). I see these motivators as the foundation of climate change.

I find that as I consciously spend a large percentage of my life learning how to work through my need for validation, my behavior becomes more mature. When I am more gentle and compassionate with myself, in tandem with learning how to matter to myself more, I accidentally help others more, and more deeply, in the process.

It is slow-moving, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. What an ironic phrase in this context. Whew. Thankfully, learning to love myself more helps me help the world.

I hope we can heal our hearts enough to make decisions as adults and give the future generations the love we are so often seeking.

P.S. It was pointed out to me that 16-year-old Greta is in good company. Joan of Arc was 18 when she led the French army to victory over the English. Malala was 11 when she started blogging for the BBC about the Taliban banning girls from school, 15 when she was shot in the head by the Taliban and 17 when she won the Nobel prize for her “struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.”

Anne Frank was 13 when she first began writing in her journal, a heart-ringing time capsule shedding light on the atrocities of the Nazi occupation. Anne, who was Jewish, was in hiding for two years and after being discovered, passed away in a concentration camp at fifteen. This loving child who couldn’t go outside remembered the real blessing that nature is:

The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As longs as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be.
Anne Frank,
The Diary of a Young Girl 

Her certainty that nature will always exist pulls at my heart even more right now as we see it might always exist, but not in the way we know it. Her words remind me how that kind of change would have an even deeper consequence. A large number of humans find their connection to God through nature. When we respond to climate change passively, not only are we gambling with the air we breathe, the food we eat, the place we call home, and our safety, we’re wagering our pathway to spirituality, something that for some brings the deepest peace, understanding, and enjoyment of existence.

How What Where to Compost Part 2: Bins vs. Piles

If you’ve gotten the basics in How What Where to Compost Part 1, below are tips on how to compost in a bin vs. a pile. “Bin” in this context means an enclosed plastic bin.

It can be as simple as a trashcan with holes drilled in it…

Or a more expensive stationary bin that may be open on the bottom, allowing bacteria, worms and other goodies to help the compost accelerate…

Or it may be one that can rotate in place…

Click the images for more info. Bin-wise, I’ve only used a trashcan with holes drilled in it, so I don’t have experience with the other items. I thought they’d be fun to share to get ideas flowing if you’re bin-curious. And here are some more types.

PLASTIC BINS

17.5.11 TheWholeRuth Compost

  • EQUALITY: Put in an equal amount of “green” and “brown.” It doesn’t have to be at the same time, but within a few days of adding food scraps or green, add brown.
  • ADD BROWN: Be sure to put in “brown” stuff. Only adding food, without carbon-rich dry brown items, makes the bin too nitrogen-rich, which is stinky and doesn’t make the chemical reaction that creates compost.
  • WATER: Also, while water is usually added to compost, it’s sometimes possible for enclosed bins to use the moisture of the green ingredients to help cook the compost. But if things get too dry, try gently adding in some water when you turn the bin.
  • MORE INFO: If you need more info, read How What Where to Compost

HOW DO YOU TURN THE BIN?

  • NOT TOO HEAVY: Make sure it doesn’t get too heavy to turn. Turning the bin gives the compost the oxygen it needs to work.
  • ROLLING IT AWKWARDLY IS FINE: When we were using a plastic trashcan with drilled holes, we’d slightly tip it and “steer” it, rolling it along the drive-way at an angle to rotate the contents inside.
  • TARP OPTION: If the type of bin you have is stationary or isn’t rollable, an option is to dump out the compost onto a tarp, turn it and then put it back in the bin.
  • MOVE-IT OPTION: If your bin is open to the ground at its base, some people pick up the whole bin off the compost, put it down in a new spot, then return the compost.
  • PITCHFORK OPTION: You can also use a pitchfork to repeatedly push into the pile and lift it straight up. This is hard for me to do.
  • MIXING TOOL OPTION: Some people use a handy compost mixing tool, designed only for turning stationary compost bins! Stick the bottom in and twist the handle to aerate the pile. People say they work wonders. Click to read their good reviews:

OPEN-AIR PILES

  • 1 CUBIC YARD: One cubic yard is the magic size for the pile to really heat up.
  • OUR EXPERIENCE: The following tips are how we make a pile at The Hollywood Orchard:

LAYERING

  • BROWN + GREEN + WATER: Make a layer of green, about an inch thick, then a layer of brown, same thickness, then mix, gently water the layers the whole time you’re mixing, repeat until done.
  • MIX EACH LAYER: To reiterate, instead of mixing it all at the end, we mix each layer. Doing it slowly lets it be thoroughly mixed which helps it cook. It’s physically more manageable to me too.
  • HOW TO MIX: We use a pitch-forky hoe. (I’m sure that’s the proper name.)

WATERING

  • GLUE: Watering while mixing lets the moisture go deep into the layer to hold it together like glue. This lets the pile get really tall and reach a cubic yard.
  • NO MOISTURE, NO HEAT: Without watering each layer, it apparently doesn’t cook!
  • SPONGE GOAL: The pile should be saturated to where you could wring the compost out like a sponge. But if water is trickling down the sides, it’s too much.

HOW TO FLIP/ TURN

  • Next to the pile, have a second space as large as the one that holds the pile. 
  • Shovel the top layer onto the empty spot and repeat the same watering/ mixing for each layer like before. 
  • The top layer will become the bottom layer and the bottom becomes the top.
  • The top layer will have cooked the least because it was exposed to the air.
  • The inside will be more cooked, even ashy sometimes, or still steaming!
  • So flipping allows the whole thing a chance to cook evenly. 
  • More new green or brown can be added every time a pile is flipped.
  • At the end, cover everything in a layer of brown to reduce smells.
  • For a visual, in the photo above, we moved the pile from the left space, where the pitchfork is, to the right. 
  • (I thought we would flip the pile in place, which seemed hard, messy and confusing. Putting it next to where it was, made it so easy to flip! That may seem obvious, but living in apartments for most of my life has apparently made my brain not think of space as an option. Having a 2nd spot blew my mind!)
  • If you don’t have an extra plot to flip the pile, some people dump out the compost onto a tarp, turn it and then put it back in its original spot. Or you can try the pitchfork or mixing tool options above.

HOW OFTEN

  • Turning or flipping a pile can be done once a week.
  • Turning it every 3 weeks or whenever is fine too, it’ll just take longer for the pile to be “finished.”
  • A pile can be turned as often as every three days to finish the project more quickly.
  • Whether it’s every 3 days, once a week, or however long, turn the pile 3-4 times for it to become “done.”

INGREDIENT TIPS

  • Horse poo really has a hard time breaking down. (Another gardening friend recently said that chicken poo or sheep poo work wonders! And cow poo, too, because their four stomachs break the food down more than a horse’s stomach.)
  • We still use horse poo though.
  • If we see something that is stuck in a clump, we break it up with our hands.
  • The Hollywood Orchard doesn’t worry about avocado pits or too many acidic fruits. Our philosophy so far is that it’ll all break down eventually.
  • Remember to chop up whatever large things go in the pile, food, twigs, etc., to help it “digest” more quickly. What does large mean? A whole orange is better halved or quartered, a branch is better in 3 inch pieces or at least smaller than it started.
  • We usually use sheers to chop the ingredients. Whatever container holds the ingredients beforehand, a bucket, a trashcan, or whatever, we stick the sheers in and just chop around crazy until it feels like the right size. Or until we’re too tired to keep chopping.

PILES IN WOODEN BINS

This option is sort of a mix of the other two. It’s like an open-air pile in an enclosure. I don’t have experience with this, but will soon! We’re currently making one. I’ll update as we learn more. Below are some examples (click images for info). Here are more.

EVERYONE DOES IT DIFFERENTLY

Would love to hear how you do it.

For general composting info, check out How What Where to Compost.

Need inspiration? Maybe this will fluff your muffins: Why to Compost

My favorite context for the word “bin” (at 4:10): Life in Quarantine After 55 Days

Compost by faisalovers from the Noun Project

How What Where to Compost

These guidelines are true for any compost, whether it’s done in a bin, in a pile, or in the ground. (More info: Compost Bins vs. Piles)

  • Compost needs about 50% green ingredients, 50% brown ingredients, oxygen and water.

GREEN

  • “Green” is anything with moisture. It can be any color. Food scraps, grass, leaves, coffee grounds, (non-pet) manure…
  • Green is nitrogen-rich.
  • If there is too much green, it will get very stinky. If this is happening, add more brown. (Also, too much green means too much nitrogen, which means it could burn plants if it was used as fertilizer in this stinky form.)

BROWN

  • “Brown” is anything dry. Dry leaves, brown paper bags, wood chips, egg cartons…
  • Brown is carbon-rich.
  • It helps to cover the compost with a layer of only brown to keep the smell enclosed.

OXYGEN

  • The compost needs oxygen to work. That’s why it’s important to turn bins or flip piles when making compost, to let oxygen reach different parts of the compost. Also, make sure there is air circulating around the compost.

WATER

  • The compost needs moisture, so add water to give it more oxygen and help it cook.

MORE INFO

  • No: No meat, dairy, fish, or animal food oils can go in the compost, unless it’s bokashi (More info: Compost Indoors or Meat & Dairy = BOKASHI). No pet waste because sometimes it has bacteria that can survive the heat of the pile.
  • Shrinkage: Whatever size the compost starts out, it will end up being much smaller when it’s done. (Sort of like cooking fresh spinach)
  • Organic: If you’re trying to make organic compost, make sure yard trimmings you use (fresh grass, brown leaves, etc) come from a yard that doesn’t use pesticides. Anything that is non-organic, we still compost in our city’s green bin.
  • Chop it: We chop up twigs and branches with shears before adding them to the compost. Making everything into smaller pieces helps the compost digest more quickly and easily, like chewing for our tummies.

IT COOKS INTO CLEANLINESS

A few years ago, a farmer friend of mine taught me that compost piles get hot and they are actually cooking the carbon-rich brown & nitrogen-rich green scraps. They get so hot, about 140 degrees, that the creatures one might worry about staying inside the pile (bad bacteria, bugs and any rodents who might smell tasty treats inside the pile) can’t live there anymore. It’s too hot so they leave. Pretty cool, huh? (Pun inaccurate and not intended.)

When a pile is flipped, sometimes there is ash inside. A pile covered in winter snow will still cook and sometimes steam will still rise off of the covering snow! The Hollywood Orchard hosts a 6th grade field trip for the local school and a few days before the kids come, they put an egg and potato inside the compost so when the kids arrive, they can see the egg is hard-boiled and then play hot-potato with the weird stinky potato!

When the compost has been turned a few times to allow the whole thing to cook, there will be only good bacteria and healthy, nutrient-rich compost.

WHAT TO COMPOST

  • No meat, dairy or animal products (bones, butter, fish skins) or pet waste

Nitrogen/ “Green”:

  • Fruits & veggies
  • Peels, skins & cores of fruits & veggies
  • Herbs & spices
  • Nutshells
  • Coffee Grounds
  • Egg shells
  • Pits & seeds
  • Grains & beans
  • Tea bags without the staples
  • Chemical-free hair
  • Chemical-free fingernails
  • Feathers from the down sofa or birds outside
  • Fresh house plant leaves
  • Store-bought flower bouquets (only for the city green bin if your goal is organic)

Carbon/ “Brown”:

  • Shredded brown paper bags
  • Paper egg cartons
  • Toilet paper rolls
  • Brown, dry leaves (you can get them from parks sometimes, ideally they’d be from a pesticide-free yard)
  • Vacuum cleaner or sweeping dust
  • Ash from a firepit that used wood
  • Dry house plant leaves
  • Wood chips (ideally chemical-free/ non-treated)

COLLECT THE COMPOST

Collect your food scraps in the freezer or fridge, so they don’t smell or attract bugs. You can keep them in glass or plastic tupperware, or you have regular plastic bags, you can use those and wash them out and re-use them. Or use compostable bags. Or to create less waste, you can keep them in a bowl with no lid or a brown paper bag that can be tossed in to the compost.

You can also collect scraps in a smell-absorbing compost bucket on your counter-top. (We use this one. During the summer ant-parades, we keep it in the fridge.)

WHERE TO COMPOST

When you’re ready to compost, put your food scraps and brown compostable waste in:

  • your yard in a compost pile above ground
  • a pit in the ground with or without doors to seal it
  • a fenced in compost area
  • a plastic compost bin that turns
  • a wooden compost bin that allows for air circulation
  • a homemade compost trashcan with holes drilled in the sides

More information on this part of the process: How to Compost in Bins & Piles

NO ROOM? PUT YOUR FOOD SCRAPS IN…

  • your green or brown bin from the city
  • your indoor or outdoor worm bin (no acidic food or oils)
  • an indoor bokashi compost bucket
  • your friend’s compost
  • the compost collection of a community organization, farmer’s market or restaurant that accepts compost. (See more info below)
  • a compost hub
  • a compost co-op

For folks in Los Angeles:

  • LA Compost collects food scraps at:
    • The Atwater Farmer’s Market, every Sunday 10am-2pm (double check the LA Compost site)
    • The Los Feliz Farmer’s Market, 1st & 3rd Sundays 9am -1pm (double check the LA Compost site)
    • A slew of community hubs listed on their website
    • Community co-ops

NEED HELP?

It seems like it’s possible that everyone can participate in some part of the compost cycle. But getting started may be difficult without seeing the magic in action. In my experience, composting can a passionate team sport or an invigorating ice-skating solo. Reading about it may be all you need to start on your own, but it can also be helpful to find some experienced folks who will let you watch their process or answer questions about how they do it. You could also find a free class or offer to temporarily help a community garden with their compost. I learn so much by helping flip the pile every so often at our beloved Hollywood Orchard.

If you want to do it in a group, there may be compost hubs or compost co-ops near you that you can join.

Whether working with others or solo, I suggest trying to get comfy with the idea that trial and error is part of the process no matter what, and it can be exciting and beautiful.

For folks in Los Angeles:

  • The City gives some free workshops and discounted compost bins and worm bins.
  • Kiss the Ground also has free compost workshops sometimes, listed on their FB page.
  • Grow Good gives free classes from time to time. This LA Times article has more info.
  • The Burbank Recycle Center has a free compost workshop the last Wednesday of every month from 6-8pm from March – November, you just have to RSVP.
  • The Hollywood Orchard in Beachwood Canyon offers opportunities to work on their compost pile where the compost-curious can learn via hand-on practice. Join the Hollywood Orchard mailing list and ask to be informed of when we get together to work on our compost pile, then come play in the dirt with us!

WHY

Why to Compost

WHEN TO COMPOST

Whenever you’d like. Composting can seem tricky, but I feel like you’ll know when you’re ready. To me, love is the main ingredient. Add some to the compost, and some to yourself. It lets you keep trying until you figure out what works for you.

heart ruth signature

Compost Story infographic

 

Why to Compost

Carbon dioxide in the air is pollution. Carbon in the soil is healthy… Anything that is alive is made of carbon, including us.

When we sweep leaves away from our lawns, we’re sweeping away that area’s food. Those leaves, flowers, seeds and natural debris, that are often seen as mess, would normally stay and break down into food for the soil and become food for the plants in that space.

It is often said to rotate crops because one type of plant will eat certain nutrients in that spot and another type of plant would eat other nutrients, letting the depleted nutrients build back up for a while. But naturally, a tomato plant drops its seeds in the same place and grows again. Why? My guess is that a tomato plant would normally die in its spot, make green & brown waste, mix with rain or snow and other fallen leaves, and become its own food next year, replenishing the soil’s nutrients. Without humans taking away their “mess,” they feed themselves. It seems the seeds would ride the wind or in the belly of an animal and end up popping up in new places too, but they’d have peace-of-mind knowing they carry a cycle of food with them where ever they go.

But why do we care about feeding the soil to feed plants? Firstly, because CARBON.

When the soil is depleted, it can’t pull carbon into itself or keep it there. Carbon dioxide in the air is pollution. Carbon in the soil is healthy. It becomes food for the soil’s bacteria. Anything that is alive- plants, animals, soil- is made of carbon, including us. There was a balanced cycle of carbon dying and becoming new life, but we added too much carbon to the atmosphere with fossil fuels and took away the ground’s ability to absorb carbon with our agriculture practices. This combination is creating pollution that is killing the planet that keeps us alive.

Ryland Englehart, co-founder of Kiss the Ground, a non-profit in LA, shares that between carbon extraction via fossil fuels and our agriculture practices, “We’ve moved 880 giga-tons [880,000,000,000 tons] of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere which is heating up the planet and destabilizing our climate. Now, the oceans have absorbed a lot of this excess carbon which is resulting in ocean acidification and accelerating a mass extinction of sea life… Where do we put this excess carbon to get this cycle back into balance? The answer is literally… under our feet. It’s the soil.”

When plants photosynthesize, they pull carbon out of the air and turn it into sugars that go into their roots feeding bacterial colonies, mycorrhizal funghi, and aggregates. These creatures increase the root capacity by the thousands, turn the sugars into nutrients for the plant and create an environment that can store carbon for decades. “Plants pump it in and soil stores it. Nature’s living technology is amazing!”

Making our own compost and returning it to the land, pulls more carbon into the ground which helps heal climate change. (More info: watch this Kiss the Ground video.)

Also, putting the missing link back in the cycle by composting creates less landfill trash that would become methane gas.

When compost is added to an edible garden and the soil gets richer, the plants in the healthy, bacteria-rich soil don’t need pesticides or chemical fertilizers. They can be next to plants with disease and not get sick. It’s like our human immune systems: we need good bacteria (probiotics), nutrients and minerals for our organs to fight off disease. When our immune systems are strong, we’re less likely to catch something that would infect a less healthy person. Plants are the same way.

And the same way that we have to continuously eat nutrients to maintain our health, so do the plants. As we keep eating and creating food scraps, plants keep needing the scraps. Their need keeps landfills thinner and eventually, our bellies fuller. All while eliminating the need for hormone-disrupting, pollution-causing chemical pesticides and fertilizers.

Helping the plant’s immune system ends up helping ours too. The garden food ends up having more nutrients for us, tasting better, and ultimately providing healing and prevention for many of our chronic diseases.

Plus plants in healthy soil need less water, which saves water. And people composting on their own land also reduces their city’s need to collect yard waste, saving more resources.

Lastly, if you are able to turn a pile, studies show that being around soil bacteria reduces depression (It’s the probiotics in the soil). And I believe any nature calms us in some way, from being around a lush forest to being around one fruit from one tree, even putting its peel-scraps in a bucket in my kitchen.

Overall, all pieces of the cycle benefit people, soil, plants, animals and the planet.

These are just my reasons though, why do you compost if you do?

How What Where to Compost

Just Cause for Eviction Bill AB 1481

Please call your legislators this morning (Tuesday April 30) and ask them to support AB 1481 the Just Cause for Eviction Bill they vote on today!
From Yesenia Miranda Meza at the Alliance of California Community Empowerment:
“We passed a statewide rent cap out of the first committee! Last week, ACCE members staged a two day sit-in at the capitol in support of the Keep Families Home bill package…”
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Photo by TheWholeRuth
“Two of us, Mari Sanchez and myself [Yesenia], even stayed overnight inside the Governor’s office the night before the hearing.
For many of us, the #KeepFamiliesHome bill package is about actual survival. We did legislative visits, made countless calls, sent thousands of emails, voiced your concerns on social media, and tried every “appropriate” channel to urge our legislators to choose tenants over corporate landlords. And when all of those tools failed, we used the only tool we were left with: our bodies. We were forced to physically sit in and demand to be heard.
Our efforts made a big difference…
One of the key bills, AB 1482 to stop rent gouging statewide, passed out of the first housing committee with 6 to 1 votes in support! Unfortunately, AB 36 the bill to expand rent control was pulled off the committee agenda and is sitting back in rules committee.
One hurdle cleared, next up: we need to get statewide Just Cause for Eviction protections out of the assembly judiciary committee: Call 3 Key Legislators voting tomorrow to urge them to support AB 1481!”
Click here for help with a calling script from Housing Now.
Or simply call:
Maienschein, Brian
(858) 675-0077
Chau, Ed
(323) 264-4949
Petrie-Norris, Cottie
(949) 251-0074
“Tomorrow the Judiciary Committee votes on whether or not to support AB 1481 to prevent landlords from evicting families unfairly – requiring them to have a just cause for the eviction like failure to pay rent, vandalizing the property, etc.”
“Call Ed Chau, Brian Maienschein and Cottie Petri-Norris NOW to urge them to support AB 1481 – Just Cause for Evictions tomorrow!
Californians know that it is simply unfair for a tenant who has done nothing wrong to be evicted arbitrarily by a landlord for the sake of profit. With homelessness on the rise and displacement crisis deepening every day – we need eviction protection now more than ever.
Make 3 quick calls to key legislators on the Judiciary Committee to urge them to vote YES on AB 1481 tomorrow!
Last but not least, pressuring these legislators costs money. Money to send members from San Diego to Sacramento. Money to text voters to let them know whats happening. Money to run ads on facebook letting the public know this is happening. Please chip in what you can to help us push the #KeepFamiliesHome bills over the final hurdle!
In solidarity,
Yesenia”
Please share this ❤️
Last year, the opposition spent $70 million to convince California to vote against the rent control bill on the ballot. We have a chance to stand up for ourselves and for others by letting our voices be heard for free.
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Read AB 1481
Read AB 1482 (the one that passed out of the first committee!)
Instead of the 10-200% increases currently happening, AB 1482 would make it so that each year, rent can only be raised by 5% plus the percentage change in the cost of living, which was 2.4% in this past year.
Read Consumer Price Index where the change in cost of living is calculated yearly
Read The Sac Bee for bit of info about the bills being proposed
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Photo by TheWholeRuth