Tara Kolla said she was doing a good thing for her Silver Lake Farms business while doing the right thing for the planet by filling a garbage can each week with produce scraps from a nearby restaurant and dumping them into her compost.

A neighbor did not see it that way and complained about the compost, which Kolla has in two wood boxes covered with black plastic.

To compost without a solid waste facility permit, you must meet certain requirements, including that the composting material must be generated onsite unless it is placed in a vessel that controls airborne emissions. That means a person who takes a neighbor's apple peels or wilted spinach and drops them on a compost pile, or into a homemade bin, could be cited.

In August, Kolla received a letter from the Los Angeles Local Enforcement Agency telling her to "cease and desist" composting food waste that was not generated at her home.

"I didn't put it here to offend anyone. I put it here because it's a work area," Kolla said one morning as she showed a visitor her half-acre urban farm, where she grows flowers as well as some other crops to sell at farmers markets in Echo Park, Hollywood and Silver Lake.


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