Tag Archives: humanure

There’s no such thing as waste, only stuff in the wrong place…

1309 humanure cleanout - 1

Well composted humanure is one of the most excellent tree planting  resources you can have, on a site like ours.

So much so that, when we clear out the Humanure Hacienda once a year, it’s compost is reserved specifically for helping new and precious trees to grow…  Continue reading

Humanure Cumquat Harvest


Last Spring Nick gave a Tedx talk about stewarding our most available nutrients to grow food for our communities in a closed-loop system. Yes, he was talking about humanure. And during said talk, Nick had a healthy, humanure-grown cumquat tree on stage with him.

During the talk, some of the cumquats from this tree were passed around the audience and munched on, to illustrate the point that when processed safely in a biological system, humanure can contribute hugely to the fertility of the soil that grows great fruit trees. Continue reading

Caga Tió, please don’t poo sardines this Christmas


It’s a Catalan Christmas at Milkwood Farm this year. Which means that, in pride of place, sits Caga Tió. Caga Tió is a happy ‘uncle’ who is actually a log. You feed him fruit for 2 weeks leading up to Christmas and, on the appointed day, he poos out presents of nougat. And you sing to him and ask him not to produce sardines instead.

Now tell me this is not the ultimate Christmas tradition. I’ve felt pretty mild about Christmas these last few years but Caga Tió has changed everything. Continue reading

Urine, Peak Phosphorous and on-farm Nutrient Cycling

So it turns out that when we go to the toilet, each of us ‘produces’ nearly 80% of the nutrients we need to grow our food. That’s quite something. If you take hold of that concept, it really does make you ask questions about why the heck we manufacture chemicals (with all the detrimental side-effects of that production) to grow food…

Recently Nick did an interview with Ollie Lavender of Sustainable Solutions Radio about this very subject, following on from his TedX Canberra talk with a similar drift. Have a listen:

Or to summarize the above podcast, fortunately there’s a lot of straight-forward, completely safe and highly doable ways that you can re-cycle your family’s nutrients back though food producing systems. With very little ick factor, even. Starting with the simple act of collecting your wee. Continue reading

Humanure Artists with Grunt: Cloacina

Portland Composting System © Cloacina

As Nick found out when researching for his TEDx Canberra talk on how to save the world with humanure, it’s hard to find good pictures of poo. You may not believe it, but not many folks draw poo very well. Nor the nutrient cycles they interface with. Enter arts collective Cloacina!

Am I the only one who gets excited about beautiful posters of composting toilet systems? Surely not. But then, I get excited about any regenerative system that’s described really well in an evocative way. Particularly in a visual way. With watercolours.

Continue reading

Wheelie Bin Trailers for Humanure…

Perhaps you can tell at a glance why I am so excited by this photo? I’ll tell you. We have a humanure compost toilet system built on wheelie bins. We love it. But the place we want to use the finished, composted humanure is over the hill from the toilet block.

At the moment, we’re loading full wheelie bins of humanure onto the back of the Milkwood truck and shipping it over the hill. It works as a system, but it isn’t ideal. Maybe these wheelie bin trailers will hold the answer! Continue reading

Nick Ritar’s TEDx Canberra Talk: Two things you can do Every Day to save the world

Recently Nick gave a talk at TEDx Canberra. He talked about stewarding nutrients, how we can solve the problem of peak phosphorous, and about how to grow the best cumquats ever.

Yes, Nick was talking about why taking responsibility for our poo and our wee, our most basic waste streams, is so crucial to our future. For a long time, a mark of superiority in some cultures has been how far you can get your shit away from you. But now, we need it back. Continue reading

Compost toilet specifics: the bins

Wendell Berry once said if you eat, you’re involved. He was talking about agriculture, but if you ask me, he really meant humanure. Getting your outputs sorted is a big and necessary task. For us, that meant designing and implementing a composting toilet system based on wheelie bins.

I thought I’d better give out the details of our compost toilet bin system, as we’re receiving many emails asking for the specifics of how the system fits together. It’s a simple design, but one that we’re very happy with. Here’s how the bins work: Continue reading

The most lovable loo in the west

Our new, idyllic Compost Loo

Now tell me this is not the prettiest compost toilet block you have ever seen. Go on. I dare you.

The issue of poo at Milkwood has been a long-standing source of discussion. We know that when poo is processed into humanure it contains valuable nutrients that would greatly help establish aspects of our farm. We know it can be processed effectively and safely by simple means, especially on a small scale. And we’ve been doing just that, ever since we arrived.

But what do you do once you’ve got 120 people descending on your farm for 2 days for a workshop with Joel Salatin? There was no way our  small domestic humanure system was going to be able to cope! Continue reading


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