The Sojourner Cafe, established in 1978 and one of the longest surviving restaurants in Santa Barbara, has now become the very first to start composting all of its food-preparation scraps, chicken bones and all. Manager Brad Sherman confirmed the rumors, saying that the restaurant became part of an unheralded pilot program undertaken several weeks ago by the City of Santa Barbara, which is also seeking a second restaurant to participate. Selected largely due to the employees’ enthusiasm for the project, the Sojourner joins Santa Barbara City College and Cottage Hospital, who have been at it for weeks, their compost picked up five days a week by BFI, which is contributing its hauling services for free, trucking the compost to a location near Santa Maria. The program will likely continue beyond the year-long, city-funded, $24,000 pilot, said Stephen MacIntosh, the city’s environmental services supervisor, and may be expanded. Santa Barbara is now in the same ballpark with other California cities including Oakland, San Francisco, Portland, and Napa, which pick up everybody’s compost along with their green waste, but Santa Barbara hasn’t located a site where it might deliver that much organic matter, much less conducted the environmental impact reports that would entail. Those who are wondering about the methane that the composting process emits may be comforted by the fact that Santa Barbara is keeping track: It was the first Southern California city to certify its greenhouse gas emissions inventory with the California Climate Action Registry.


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