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Yanet Lopez

Yanet Lopez


Fleet Science Center

Thriving Earth Exchange Fellowship

Yanet Lopez is the Community Engagement Manager at the Fleet Science Center. Yanet has experience in Federal grant management and building authentic community engagement and partnerships through her work in the Barrio Logan community in San Diego.

Yanet’s life experiences inform her work: she was born in Mexico but raised in San Diego and considers her bilingual and bicultural identity as an asset to help build bridges between theory and practice.

Community Partner

Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center inspires youth and adults to be healthy and active citizens through organic gardening, environmental stewardship, and nutrition education.

Olivewood Gardens is actively involved in improving the health outcomes of National City residents, a predominantly Latino community, as they cope with health concerns like diabetes by offering fresh fruits and vegetables along with education for children and adults.

Project Description

This project focused on increasing the participation of the National City community in the implementation of California legislation that aims to address overall waste diversion and greenhouse gas emission reduction goals.

The partners worked closely with a focus group of Kitchenistas™—graduates from the Cooking for Salud™ program at Olivewood Gardens—to design a pilot education and outreach program that will create connections between the goals of the new food waste law and culturally relevant hands-on experiences.

Kitchenistas™ informed the design process and received culturally relevant science communication that demonstrates the intersections between food justice, environmental justice, waste diversion, policy, and other community priorities in National City.

The waste diversion and composting curriculum was developed in collaboration with community leaders—those most well-versed in the realities of the broader community—and yields strong messaging through its culturally relevant science communication, intersectional understanding, and hands-on activities.

The project focused on achieving greater participation and investment from the community in composting mandates in National City. Additionally, this community project provides promising practices and lessons learned for other cities.