April 23, 2024 | From City of New Orleans

City of New Orleans, Partners Awarded Federal Grant to Reduce Food Waste and Expand Composting Services

NEW ORLEANS — The City of New Orleans was recently awarded $398,500 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Compost and Food Waste Reduction Program (CFWR) to increase the capacity of local composting organizations that will make it more accessible for residents. Local organizations working on food waste reduction and composting programs partnered on the proposal with the City, including Sprout NOLA, Schmelly’s Dirt Farm, REALCYCLE, Compost NOW and Taproot Earth. 

"Organic material makes up roughly half of what is sent to landfills from our residential waste pickup program," said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. "The Composting grant from the USDA will help New Orleans greatly increase our rate of waste diversion. This grant will also support our local community groups who have been boots on the ground, leading the efforts to promote composting and urban agriculture. I want to thank the USDA for continuing to invest in our city, as well as the Office of Resilience and Sustainability for your commitment to making New Orleans a greener and cleaner community.” 

“I’m proud to announce this grant which will help New Orleans implement practical compost and food waste reduction plans, benefiting agriculture and improving soil quality,” said Congressman Troy A. Carter, Sr. (LA-02). “The program's emphasis on innovation in waste management demonstrates its crucial role in reducing and diverting food waste from landfills.” 

New Orleans has an economic and cultural focus on food, a 12-month growing season and a robust gardening and farming community. Unfortunately, New Orleans currently lacks the infrastructure to support large-scale composting, which would reduce the amount of food waste sent to landfills. By increasing community participation in composting and decreasing the amount of waste headed to landfills, this funding will improve sustainability and create greater awareness of organic waste diversion practices.  

Working with local partners, the City plans to utilize this funding to:  

  • Increase the number of community compost drop-off sites, especially in underserved areas 
  • Provide low-income residents with home composting supplies 
  • Install a compost demonstration site on the Lafitte Greenway to provide education about sustainable practices and give visibility to program 
  • Increase awareness of food waste reduction strategies and composting  
  • Grow capacity of our local composting businesses 

"The urban agriculture community in New Orleans is an amazing group of growers and advocates who have been working for decades to help their communities,” said Sprout NOLA Community Food Director Mina Seck. “Being able to expand composting in the city and offer it to even more families and homes, along with education about it, is monumental. We're lucky to be a part of this incredible moment.” 

The CFWR program is run by the USDA to assist local governments with projects that develop and test strategies for planning and implementing municipal compost plans and food waste reduction plans. The award for the City of New Orleans was one of the 38 awards made across the U.S. For more information on these awards, click here

Mayor Cantrell’s Federal Infrastructure Task Force crafted the City’s proposal. The City created this multi-departmental Federal Infrastructure Task Force in January 2022 to analyze infrastructure needs within the City and secure funding from new federal infrastructure and climate funding programs. So far, the Task Force has been successful on 13 grant applications for the City, totaling over $78 million. The Task Force has partnered on or supported another approximately two dozen successful applications from organizations and government agencies in the city, region and state, with awards totaling hundreds of millions of dollars. 


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