StopWaste Environmental Educator Training
The StopWaste Environmental Educator Training (SWEET) is a peer-to-peer, experiential course, community engagement and certification program that is by invitation only. The goal of this course is to support the people who manage on-site compost systems at urban farms and/or providing public education at compost hubs, as well as building community connections within the local compost/farm/food growing network. SWEET participants will learn how to instill in others the skills and confidence to make and use compost to grow food, garden sustainably and contribute to a healthier community food system. Participants will learn how to develop implementation plans for compost education programs and/or on-site system maintenance.
The hybrid course consists of:
- 3 in-person and 3 virtual classes weekly between September 7 – October 19
- 1 final class/graduation on January 18
- 6 month follow up event in early May to continue community building within the SWEET cohort
The first part of SWEET will include instruction and activities on soil health and compost science, specifically identifying soil types and needs, composting systems, feedstocks, application/use, quality and contamination. The second part will focus on best practices for educating fellow farm staff and/or the general public on how to make and use compost.
This course will also address the connection between compost and food growing, donation, recovery, including local agriculture and current activities around building a healthy community-based food system.
Classes will take place in a way that keeps all participants safe and builds community – a mix of virtual and outdoor classes. Because attendance at each class is required, along with homework, StopWaste will provide a $500 stipend for each participant.
The objectives of the SWEET Program are:
To train volunteers as StopWaste Educators by providing:
- Exposure to best practices in adult environmental education strategies
- Methods for organizing and presenting workshops
- Strategies for effective community engagement and promotions
- Guidance and support for the successful completion of an individual outreach project
- Build expertise in soil and compost science knowledge and strategies by providing participants with:
- Deeper knowledge on soil health and compost science
- Hands-on experience with compost systems, application and uses
- Knowledge of local efforts around compost (including commercial, farm, and municipal*).
- An understanding of how on-site compost systems and compost hubs support the county’s larger goal to keep organics out of the landfill.
- To understand the current food system – who grows it, how it’s distributed, who has access, how quality differs, direct connections to waste and impacts on natural resources.
- To increase county-wide waste diversion through a cost-effective program
- To teach compost production and application techniques to diverse communities throughout Alameda County.
- To make the connection between composting and building healthy soil as a cornerstone of environmentally conscious practices.
- To connect with local groups working to build a healthy community food system and develop ongoing networking and communication.
- To serve as a national model for community engagement peer to peer experiential programs.
*By law, cities are required to procure compost annually. StopWaste is working with cities and local groups to make more compost available and ensure quality.