Soil Ecologies Workshop, Part 1 & 2

August 4th 2018, Phytology, Bethnal Green Nature Reserve

During this hands on workshop we will explore different ways of relating to, understanding and taking care of soil. Did you know that there is more life in a teaspoon of soil than there are human beings on the planet?! And furthermore we are losing 2.2 million tonnes of topsoil in the UK each year. Understanding the life and complex communities that inhabit our soil is essential to securing its future, and our own.

Join us for this two part workshop in which we will dig deep into the biology, chemistry, politics and poetry of our local soil.

Part 1: DIY soil testing with Olly Edmonds, 11-1pm

Olly will introduce us to some of the different soils that can be found around Bethnal Green Nature Reserve, and attendees will have the opportunity to gather soil samples from across the site. Using a range of simple tools and methods we will compare soil structure and life, test nutrients and take a closer look at the soil food web under the microscope.

Part 2: Writing Soil with Katherine Mcmahon, 2-4pm

Use your new-found soil knowledge in a guided creative writing workshop with Katherine, where we will explore soil further through imagination and words. We will do some writing exercises based the morning session – though if you would like to just come for the afternoon, we’ll leave some of the experiments set up so you can join in. We’ll be thinking about how humans are connected to the soil and how we might have conversations with it: What would you like to say to it and what might it say back? Suitable for writers of all levels of experience and none. Please bring a pen and notebook!

There will be a free shared lunch from 1-2pm, which all are welcome to join for.

Tickets – Book a place here!

If you have any access needs which you would like us to accommodate during the workshop, please write to



This event has been organised by Compost Mentis with support from the Goldsmiths Innovation Award