Soil Garden Project
Soil Garden Project was a collaboration between Nance Khlem, Gaja Noemi Mount, and myself. Its goals were to experiment with the notion of local composting, to reduce the amount of organic waste going to landfills, and to teach people how to compost. This was done through a 3-day workshop in which participants composted organic waste that we had collected from a local green market in the Warsaw neighborhood of Ochota. Nance also led workshops on composting toilets and urban foraging. The project continued for a year in which I composted an estimated 20,000 liters of waste and ultimately spawned many composting projects including 2017’s Kompostowisko Na Ochocie.
About the project
The project began shortly after I’d acquired a działka (allotment garden) and could finally compost my organic waste. The idea was to collect waste from individual residents, businesses, organizations, and public institutions in large quantities and to eventually make the resulting compost available to local gardeners.
One day I was shopping in the green market where many farmers sell their produce. On the market grounds sat two gigantic dumpsters. I was shocked to see (after climbing up onto them) that it was full of organic waste generated from the market vendors. The market was 1 km from my allotment. It was obvious that this would be my source for organic waste.
I invited the amazing Nance Khlem to Warsaw. Over a 3-day period we collected more than 3,000 liters of organic waste, cardboard, straw and held composting workshops. One of the attendees worked for the city!
After the initial workshops, I continued to collect organic waste from the market. I also collected 5-liter buckets of waste from a few of my neighbors and even rode my bike 7 km (each way, I kid you not) to pick up 50 liters of waste from a bed-and-breakfast for nearly a year. My legs and lungs benefitted enormously. Although the compost was made, I didn’t find many takers and the primary beneficiary was the soil on which the garden sits. In early 2019, the city of Warsaw started composting organic waste.
Artists: Jodie Baltazar, Nance Khlem, Gaja Noemi Mount
Where: Warsaw, Poland
When: August 2012 – November 2013