“Healthy Soils for Healthy Communities” Initiative

Background

Soil is the foundation of life. It has great potential to mitigate current and future climate impacts by sequestering carbon, improving water supply and water quality, supporting plant growth, enhancing food production, and maintaining healthy communities, especially in urban and peri-urban areas where more than 80% of Americans live, work, and play.

About the Initiative

The objectives of the “Healthy Soils for Healthy Communities Initiative” include:

  1. Elevating healthy soils as the “brown” in green infrastructure policy, planning, management, and investments in both the built and natural environments;
  2. Increasing public and policy-maker awareness of the importance and potential of healthy soils in building climate resilience, sustaining urban ecosystem functions, and enhancing public health;
  3. Conducting cutting-edge science and research that gets used to fill the information gaps;
  4. Facilitating policy changes to promote and support healthy urban soil projects; and
  5. Empowering communities with science-based information, best management practices, and practical tools.

About Phase One

As the first phase of the initiative, we are conducting a needs assessment aiming to: 1) determine the current status of Los Angeles’s urban soil health; 2) identify the most pressing urban soil issues and community needs through community consultation and outreach; and 3) provide a framework for future work regarding urban soil research, policy, public education and community engagement in the region.

Los Angeles Urban Soil Symposium

TreePeople hosted an online Los Angeles Urban Soil Symposium on June 26, 2020 which was attended by over 150 people. It is part of the “Healthy Soils for Healthy Communities Initiative Phase One: Needs Assessment” project, funded by Accelerate Resilience L.A., a sponsored project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. The symposium discussed general concepts, issues, and potential solutions related to urban soils, Los Angeles’s soils, a case study from New York City as well as TreePeople’s new “Healthy Soils for Healthy Communities” Initiative. Participants also had opportunities to share their insights about L.A.’s soil needs, challenges, and potential solutions and to interact with others from the region and beyond during the breakout group discussions.

Morning Session

  • Opening Remarks (video)
    Cindy Monta?ez | Chief Executive Officer, TreePeople
  • Keynote Address
    Ben Allen | California State Senator, 26th District (video)
    Dr. Rita Kampalath | Sustainability Program Director, Los Angeles County Chief Sustainability Office (video)
    Dominique Hargreaves | Deputy Chief Sustainability Officer, Office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (video)
  • Project Overview: “Healthy Soils for Healthy Communities Initiative” Phase One: Needs Assessment (video | presentation)
    Dr. Yujuan Chen | Senior Manager of Urban Forestry Policy, TreePeople
    Dr. Richard Pouyat | Emeritus Scientist, U.S. Forest Service
  • Urban Soils: The Brown Infrastructure of Cities and Towns (video | presentation)
    Dr. Richard Pouyat | Emeritus Scientist, U.S. Forest Service
  • Emerging Technology for Urban Soil Characterization (video | presentation)
    Dr. Daniel Hirmas | Associate Professor, University of California Riverside
  • Urban Soil Survey in Greater Los Angeles (video | presentation)
    Randy Riddle | MLRA Soil Survey Office Leader and Soil Scientist, USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • NYC’S MODEL: Soils for All and All for Soils (video | presentation)
    Tatiana Morin | Director, NYC Urban Soils Institute

Keynote Address over Lunch

  • Hallowed Ground: Healing the Essential Bond Between Trees, People, and Soil (video | presentation)
    Andy Lipkis | Project Executive, Accelerate Resilience L.A.
  • The “F” Factor (video | presentation)
    Irma R. Mu?oz | Founder/President, Mujeres de la Tierra

Afternoon Session

  • Community Lead: Community Engagement and Legacy Soil Pollution (video | presentation)
    Dr. Kirsten Schwarz | Associate Professor, UCLA
  • Getting Back Healthy Soils In the City – An Asset Management Problem? (video | presentation)
    Dr. Susan Day | Professor and Program Director, University of British Columbia
  • Talk About A Match Made in Heaven: Compost and Urban Agriculture? (video | presentation)
    Dr. Sally Brown | Research Associate Professor, University of Washington

Our Team

  • Project Team
    • Stephen Salazar Ceasar | TreePeople
    • Dr. Yujuan Chen | TreePeople
    • Dr. Susan D. Day | University of British Columbia
    • Jaime Del Rio | TreePeople
    • Edith B. de Guzman | TreePeople and ?University of California, Los Angeles
    • Kenny Derieg | TreePeople
    • Alejandro Fabian | TreePeople
    • Kevin Gaston | TreePeople Land Trust
    • Manny Gonez | TreePeople
    • Christyne Imhoff | TreePeople
    • Selena Mao | TreePeople and ?University of California, Los Angeles
    • Bryan Medina | TreePeople
    • Cindy Monta?ez | TreePeople
    • Dr. Richard V. Pouyat | Chesapeake Bay ? Career Consulting
    • Dr. Gordon L. Rees | California Polytechnic ? State University
    • Dr. Kirsten Schwarz | University of California, ? Los Angeles
    • Miguel Vargas | TreePeople
    • Ariel Lew Ai Le Whitson | TreePeople
    • Dr. Erica L. Wohldmann | California State University, Northridge
  • Steering Committee
    • Dr. Yujuan Chen | TreePeople
    • Dr. Susan D. Day | University of British Columbia
    • Lynn Fang | LA Compost
    • Dr. Daniel Hirmas | University of California, Riverside
    • Ansu John | Community Healing Garden
    • Nicole Landers | Nicole Landers Consulting
    • Finian Makepeace | Kiss the Ground
    • Rachel Malarich | City of Los Angeles
    • Dr. Stephanie Pincetl | University of California, ?Los Angeles
    • Dr. Richard V. Pouyat | Chesapeake Bay Career Consulting
    • Randy Riddle | USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service
    • Dr. Michele Romolini | Loyola Marymount University
    • Dr. Kirsten Schwarz | University of California, ?Los Angeles
    • Dr. Eric G. Strauss | Loyola Marymount University

Funding Agency

Accelerate Resilience L.A., a sponsored project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisor