Mulling mulch: Community discussion on Wednesday

Earlier this year, Sylvia Holmes was shlepping ground-cover for the Free-Food Garden in front of the Arroyo Food Co-op when her back went out. A certified permaculture designer and an activist for the transition movement, the Pasadena resident immediately began mulling all things mulch.

Her musings went something like this:

  • The need for mulch, which serves as a water-saving heat barrier in people's gardens, is greater than ever because of the drought.
  • Tree trimming companies produce mulch by the truckload and pay steep fees to dump it.
  • The City lets residents have its tree trimmings for free but doesn't deliver.
  • Many residents are still buying mulch from companies and writing checks to have it delivered — or they hurt themselves doing their own hauling.

"Something was wrong with the picture," Holmes said recently, "and it just hit me that I needed to do something about it."

The mastermind and driving force behind the Free-Food Garden as well as a mother of three, Holmes did not really need another job. But together with Transition Pasadena she created a new project, Mulch for the People.

On Wednesday evening the initiative will kick off with a community discussion titled State of the Mulch. The event will bring all those together who hold a stake in the matter. Gabriel Silva of Pasadena Public Works, Wendy DeLeon of Pasadena Water and Power and Marco Barrantes of La Loma Development will speak, and Blair Miller as the moderator will invite the public to contribute ideas and concerns. The goal of the forum? To create a program that will make mulch more freely available.

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What: State of the Mulch, a community discussion
When: Wednesday, October 8, 7-8:30 p.m.
Where: Wright Auditorium, Pasadena Central Library, 285 East Walnut Street