Compost Mentis

From 2018 / 2019 we co-created a range of new composting systems at the Bethnal Green Nature Reserve, including a wormery, thermal compost pile and a much needed accessible compost toilet. These infrastructures are now alive! If you would like to find out more about how they work, or how to use them, please visit the site or write to hari@compost-mentis.com.

Alongside the design and build, we hosted a public programme of conversations and workshops to share practical skills and composting methods, as well as to explore urgent matters surrounding human-soil relations, compost politics and the future of shit. You can find more details about the programme below.

During the project we hosted a talk and poetry event with Maria Puig de la Bellacasa and Dimitris Papadopoulos, and were inspired by their philosophies about soil care and the power of composting:

“Justice needs to be fought on the level of matter and through close alliances between engaged groups of animals and plants, committed groups of humans and accessible material objects” (Dimitris Papadopoulos ‘Generation M. Matter, Makers, Microbiomes: Compost for Gaia’ 2014 p.42).

We also made a zine to document some of the creative writing that emerged from workshops and soil hacks, and set up a community microscope club so we could continue finding new ways to connect with and care for our soil. You can access the Earthlings zine here!

This project was delivered by Compost Mentis, a soil and alternative sanitation coop focused on bringing ecological and social justice into everyday urban spaces.  For more information about Compost Mentis and this project, see this recent essay which reflects on the politics and practicalities of caring for soil: MONSOON (p.55) or visit our Instagram page.

Co-designing the toilet

In order to capture and share some of the learning and design solutions that came out of our co-design sessions, we’ve produced an online archive, here.

This blog brings together written reports by different authors, photographs, designs and recordings from our three co-design sessions, which took place in May and June 2018. The Co-design archive is a way of documenting the process went through, as well as creating a resource for other groups hoping to do similar things.

 

Supported by Goldsmiths & Veolia.

Access ramp sponsored by Sail & Sons and Martha.

 

   

Enormous thanks to everyone who gave time and energy to this project in different ways, including: Michael Smythe, Margaret Cox, Olly Edmonds, Neil Winder, Ingrid Chen, Mohammed Raja, Fin Jordão, Sib Trigg, Eleanore Audi, Nissa Nishikawa, Shumaisa Khan, Ellie Doney, James Boult, Beth Stewart, Luc Sanciaume, Nayoung Jeong, Casey Sorenson, Melissa Thompson, Rokiah Yaman, Jennifer Gabrys, Maria Puig de la Bella Casa, Dimitris Papadopoulos, Linden Katherine McMahon, Ama Josephine Budge, Helena Hunter, Siobhan Forshaw, Yvonne, Min Tan, Albane Duvillier, Katalin Patonay, Beatrice Turo, Severio, Anna Wates, Declan Pleydell Pearce, Jack Harber, Ele Williams, Adiva Lawrence, Katy Lloyd Davidson, Andrew Rogers, Lance Legal, Neil Davidson, Michele Coele, Tse Hui Teh, Lena Ciric, Shaira Ariahs, Sophia Goard, Bonnie Camplin, Shivani, Joy Mulandi, Joseph Walsh, Zhi Holloway, Claire Chatelet, Lauren Sheerman, Mickey Downos, Ben Wright, Renata Cleaver Becky Minton, Hava Carvajal, Ben Smithies, Xenia Caball, Gail and Pip Burton, Eileen Quashie and everyone else, too many to list here, who attended workshops, events, volunteer sessions and offered support throughout the project.