Compost Residency @ Bethnal Green Nature Reserve/ Phytology


During our residency at Bethnal Green Nature Reserve from 2018 - 2019, we co-designed and built a new accessible all-gender compost toilet, creating humanure and liquid fertilisers to support soil care on the site and in the local area.

Alongside this we built four different connected composting systems including a wormery, leaf mould pile, and three-bay system. To help build interest, conversation and connection to these living systems (which need humans as well as a myriad of other creatures to make them work!), we ran a programme of talks, workshops, and making sessions for the public; learning together about plumbing, soil science, fermentation, irrigation, accessibility and the art and science of composting!

To find out more about our co-design process, click here.

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Deepest gratitude to everyone who gave time and energy to this project in different ways, including: Michael Smythe, Margaret Cox, Olly Edmonds, Hari Byles, 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 Begum, 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.

A small wooden cladded building surrounded by trees with door slightly ajar
someone with bare feet and tattoos planes a plank of wood on a red table in a wooded setting
a piece of wood clamped to a table with wood shavings surrounding it. A smartphone is also visible along with feet and hands in motion
forearms and hands shaping large round clay dish on red table
large pot of red / orange kimchi held lovingly by Nayoung Jeong, 2 people are standing in the background
woodland area with black shed, billboard and two small red/pink structures (a wormery and compost bays)
to heads with black hair bowed over clay pot that they are burying in the ground
3 people hold a long plant of wood on a carpentry table in woodland setting, whilst 1 person holds a saw
raised open wooden structure under-construction in dappled light in woodland setting. Under the structure is a chamber
red/pink stack of rectangular boxes with black roof with the word 'Worms' written in tape. The boxes have compartments with handles (windows), and a tap is visible at the bottom.
raised open wooden structure under construction in wooded setting with autumn leaves on the ground, a clear polycarbonate roof is being attached, and a ladder is standing on the floor. Under the structure are two brick chambers with a low brick wall separating them, and a blackboard which reads "compost toilet jobs" followed by a list
interior of compost toilet shows pink toilet box, basin, rainwater collection tank, shelves with books and pots on and an orangey vessel which is an all-gender urinal / 'liquid loo'
3 pink/ red compost bays with lids, tucked behind a billboard, black water butt to the side
a person digs with a spade, white pipe appears under the ground surrounded by gravel, open empty compost toilet chambers in the background with a 'caution' building cone to the side
interior of compost toilet, shows pink toilet box with grey lid. On top of the lid is a terracotta vase with colourful flowers in it. The toilet has metal hand rails on either side and a black board reads: "You can help keep our toilet beautiful and accessible by:" followed by a list. On the right is toilet roll attached to a pink box and the edge of a white basin