Nothing but the poop
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Well, actually this chapter is titled “The Poop, the whole poop and nothing but the poop”! 🙂

It’s all about nature feeding the soil, right?

For those of you who have read this chapter, let’s talk about Joel’s list of 5 things that could be done.

1. A national commitment to quit landfilling any biomass. If it will decompose, it should not go in a landfill. It should rot where it can be returned to the soil.

2. All manure must be leveraged to greatest advantage. Quit burning it for electricity. Quit putting it in lagoons.

3. Crank up the chippers (see Leanna’s post yesterday) and begin converting diseased, crooked, and junk trees and other biomass into compostable pieces. Begin systematically growing and harvesting biomass interstate medians, along expressway ramps, and other public right-of-way.

4. Quit feeding herbivores grain. Period. That alone would so fundamentally change fertility cycles that we can’t imagine all the perennial prairie polycultures managed with electric fence instead of lightning and predators. Poop would fall on biomass in real time, without any energy required for transportation.

5. Begin dismantling water-based  human sewage and move to methane digestors, composting, and red wriggler decomposition.

We must quit throwing away manure – it’s the secret of fertility.

What would you add to this list?

What real life examples can you give that would prove that this would work or not work?

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About Sheri Salatin

Sheri is married to Daniel Salatin. She is the marketing director at Polyface Farm and stay-at-home mom of three children. Sheri is passionate about clean food and is enjoying working the land along side her husband. When not farming, Sheri can be found reading, writing, sewing, baking and serving in her church family.
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20 Responses to Nothing but the poop

  1. Susan Parent says:

    Stop making Parking lots of solid concrete and asphalt and start making them all permeable the water runnoff from even a small rain is causing havoc in our streams and rivers – use that water where it falls!

  2. Annie Carlson says:

    This reminds me of a question I often get regarding our produce. People ask if we compost our garden waste. Nope, we feed it to the chickens and turkeys and then we compost them! 🙂

    Until the value of natural fertilizer is re-understood, this will be an uphill battle. It’s much “cleaner” to open a bag or a tank of chemicals than it is to get our hands dirty with compost. How far we’ve fallen…

  3. Our pot bellied pig Petunia takes care of nearly all of our kitchen waste, while turning the soil in our garden and fertilizing as she goes. Our trips to the landfill are nearly half the load they used to be, due to her help. Thanks Petunia!

  4. Linda Moore says:

    Folks in SW Calgary, AB Canada currently dealing with the results of a landfill fire on the Tsuu Tina Nation.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/story/2012/02/10/calgary-fire-reserve-smoke-air.html

    All organics produced in my household go directly into my garden. If local by laws permitted, I would have chickens in my garden.

  5. Joe Bergfeld says:

    I think this is very doable. Our community has a community compost yard. The street department grinds tree branches and storm litter at the back section of several parks in our area. Citizens are encouraged to take the compost and spread it on their yards and gardens. This isn’t in a rural area either. It just takes a city to buy in and make it work.
    When we buy our farm one day my whole program will mimic what y’all are doing at Polyface centered around compost. Y’all are making a difference. The message just like the Gospel needs to be spread through out the US and the World. Great Post Sheri.

  6. I recently asked a couple at our church who have a pet rabbit if they would mind giving us their droppings. You should have seen the looks on their faces. I don’t think it is a question many people get. Then they were joking that we should get our own rabbits and sell the compost and rabbit meat. Again I think I shocked them when I said we were seriously thinking about it.

  7. Shawna Barr says:

    We are so stingy with our poop here, our friends actually give us a bad time about it! We live just 1 mile from our nearby village, and many of the village-dwellers contact us about getting manure for their gardens. My husband always tells them no! LOL! People can’t believe that we could actually need the all the manure from 2 dairy cows, 9 goats, 120 pastured poultry, and a varying number of hogs. But what they don’t understand is that at least half of that manure goes directly back on the pasture, and we use 100% of the composted remainder in order to keep our soil gardens, orchards, berries patches, etc., productive.

    People still see manure as a “waste product” that farmers should be happy to have someone haul away. They are always surprised when we refuse to let go of our precious poo!

  8. Stephanie says:

    I have a related, but somewhat off track question that I do not know any com posters in real life to answer:
    Does compost attract bugs? I mean, the big scary ones like we get here in Florida. I SO want to compost, but am thinking of doing it only in the winter when the bugs are underground. I have a major phobia of big black bugs (not green ones or moderately sized ones or lady bigs, or grasshoppers, or snakes or lizards, or…..anything else! Just the big ones that I cannot even bring myself to name). If anyone can answer my question I would be SO grateful!

    • Joe B says:

      Stephanie,
      I can only speak from personal experience. I live in Missouri. As long as you keep your green material (grass, food items (don’t put in meat or dairy products. Meat creats maggots which turn into pesky flies. Dairy doesn’t break down well and if you add earth worms they don’t like it). You will have fruit flies and usual small bugs. I doubt you will attact other bugs besides the ones I mentioned. good luck! good book to get on this topic is “Let it Rott”

      • Joe B says:

        I meant to say… keep your green material covered by brown material (dried leaves, wood chips, and dried grass, et). You shouldn’t have an issue. Make sure your ration is 80% brown material to 20% green. Make sure you keep it moist but now soaked. This will will creat the best and fastest break down into lush compost. Good Luck!

        • PeterPansDad says:

          Joe B,
          I live in Illinois and would like to share my own anecdotal experience. I don’t have any trouble with meat and dairy in my compost pile. My pile is a minimum of 5x5x4 and we keep it hot, hot, hot with chicken manure and chicken innards. When I have a dead bird, it goes in the pile (raw meat). Again, the pile is a hot, steaming, living mass. Open it, even on a hot July day, and you can feel the warmth radiating out. This living, biological smorgasbord is a great place for bacteria but not so good for earthworms, sowbugs, beetles or mice.

          Once the pile cools, however, secondary decomposers move in. The meat and dairy won’t exist as such at this point. You should see earthworms, soldier fly larvae, sowbugs, etc. This increased activity, and the warmth generated by the pile will make a nice home for your neighbors. I usually have a skink or two hanging on the South side of my compost pile in the full sun. I don’t know what a big, black Florida bug is. I do know that a compost pile, in its cool, wet secondary composting phase, will attract a variety of life. That, I think, is a good thing.

          One final suggestion: if you’re putting dairy in a compost pile you should try to pre-compost it through a pig. You can pre-compost a lot of things through a pig. Then you can make and pre-compost bacon.

          • Joe Bergfeld says:

            Sheri,
            I saw a post back from July/August talking about Joel recording, “Folks this Ain’t Normal” on tape. Is this available on Tape in addition to CD? My ol’ truck only has a tape player and that’s the only time I get to listen to Books on Tape. If you know I would appreciate it. Thanks!

            PeterPanDad, Great post! I am far from the expert on Composting. All I know is what I do to keep bugs away. I agree with your comments completely! thanks

            • Sheri Salatin says:

              Hi Joe,
              No, just CD’s. We bought a CD Converter for our old truck. It’s a tape attached to a cord that runs to a CD player. I can’t remember where we got it. It’s been almost 10 years ago now. Maybe they don’t make such a thing anymore, but it might be worth a try to check it out.

          • Sheri Salatin says:

            We here at Polyface compost everything – meat, bones, kitchen scraps, dairy, dead animals…everything.

  9. Stephanie says:

    Ok, thanks so much for your input! The bugs we get here are epic. I get goosebumps and shiver just thinking about them. I know some bugs are good, and I think I am ok with most of them. It’s the ones I described originally that would not be an option for me. I’ll do some more looking with your info as a jumping off point.

  10. I like that picture of the dollar bill on the Meadow Muffin or Prairie Pizza.

    It’s really what it’s all about, recycling.

    Kevin

  11. Jim Rendek says:

    I love the book. It’s a real eye opener. I was raised on a semi-farm and had friends from the city that initially weren’t familiar with the origin of much of their food. I remember thinking how strange it was. I thought it was all common knowledge. Even so I learn something from every page of Joel’s book.

  12. Isaac Hoppe says:

    My favorite composting method remains the undersink hot water cycling bucket. Instead of heating water with the compost, the technique uses a hot water coil around the bin to manage temperature and keep the composting microbes warm and happy. I can’t find the plans anymore, though. 🙁

  13. Natalia says:

    LOVE your picture! This also moves me to study more about Biomass