Scott Kellogg is back this week to discuss an emerging hub of revolutionary action–a thing of resistance and resilience, where the dead and the living meet: the compost heap. We consider composting from past to future, and delve deep into the intricate process that converts food waste to garden gold.
Then once you and composting have gotten to know each other more intimately, or as intimately as possible without actually plunging your hands into that warm, wet, steaming stuff–we’ll shift sideways to consider where this relationship might go. How can composting help us rethink our multispecies relationships? Rediscover the edible companions we interact with every day?
When we think about nature, we often think of something bright green, something cozy, maybe something cute. We do this to move past the rhetoric of domination and superiority that has long proven so harmful. But either way—whether we want a cozy nature or a distant nature, we’re still the ones conjuring that image, still placing ourselves in the center. To quote Sebastian Abrahamsson and Filippo Bertoni:
“Dealing with composting, it becomes clear that relations with the environment are never so neat and clean. What are the ‘dirty’ sides of the ‘green’?” We are continually “wasting, eating, rotting, consuming, transforming and becoming-with…”
These all come together in the compost bin. What goes on in the bin, what goes on beyond the walls of the compost bin, all of these things are part of something greater than our selves, part of a more-than-human world. This is the compost thought. Thinking the compost thought helps us to bring the “greens” of environmentalism and the “browns” we tend to overlook together in the same image. The compost thought is a new thought, a more deeply intimate tangle of co-existence.
So take that thought and munch on it a little. Swallow it, digest it if you feel so inclined. Then take whatever’s left and put it out with the leaves and banana peels. Compost these ideas, give them a good churn or two, spread them in your garden with the seeds….with the seeds and worms and grubs and moles. And see what new thing grows.