Compost Mentis is a soil and alternative sanitation co-op working for ecological and social justice in everyday urban spaces.

Our projects include:

  • Community compost toilet building & maintenance
  • Soil care and composting
  • Food growing support
  • Waste/ resource management
  • Creative nature connection
  • Collaborative arts
  • Community organising

We like to explore these things on the ground and solve problems collaboratively through co-design, making stuff, building relationships & networks, doing research, running workshops, and programming events. For more information about our work, check out our b(l)og, publications, projects & events.

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Below is a manifesto that we've been working on together alongside participating in Navigate's Living Systems for Thriving Groups course. It is still a work in progress, and will be updated next in May 2021.

"we want the soil back!"

A Manifesto (in Progress)

Humans are part of the soil food web: with our fellow earthlings we have the capacity to shred, turn, ingest, digest, build, make, destroy, break down, terraform and care for soil and organic matter. Together we are soil, we are matter passing.

We build compost piles, accessible toilets and infrastructures which activate social and material change in the microcosms in which we work. We believe that through shifting the intentions & practices around how we manage and relate to our “waste”, we can (in small ways) interrupt, inoculate and shift flows of power and resources; increase cooperation; and build alternatives together. We are radical/ radicle plumbers, making connections which, grow, decompose, redirect, transfrom and create openings.

We take inspiration from compost, applying it as a method, structure, material and resource for collaborating as humans, and across species with others in the ecosystems we are part of. Some of these inspirations include:

Slowness - the long, hot ferment of a compost pile, breaking down matter over weeks or months to become something new

Interdependence and skillsharing - the underground fungal networks that live in symbiosis with trees, each providing what the other cannot

Co-design and cooperation - understanding that no part of the soil can exist alone

Embracing complexity and multiplicity - the teeming multitudes that make up the soil food web. A ton of bacteria per acre!

Nurturing diverse life - seeing the wonder in the wildly different composting beings

Working intersectionally - paying attention to the ways they interact, rebalancing when the pile become too wet or dry, acidic or alkaline

Breaking things down - seeing the parts within a whole, understanding that they can be remade by communal effort

Alchemy - taking part in unpredictable processes with unpredictable outcomes

Finding joyful practices - jumping into a pile of woodchip and feeling the heat rising from it

Valuing care work, getting nourishment from our work - watching the way everything is greener where compost goes; understanding that we care for the soil and are cared for by it

Grounding what we do in a desire for deep change, transformative politics and justice - the compost pile takes what no longer serves us and thoroughly, fundamentally changes it into something which has the potential to nourish.

In practice this means creating multiple entry points and connections to this work in everyday ways through poetry, ecology, microbiology, art, building, cleaning, carpentry, caretaking, food growing, herbal medicine, dancing, and conversation. It also means properly resourcing our labour, and the labour we support others to do. It means practicing care, accountability and justice as we go about our work and lives together.

Grounded in the present, we are fighting for the future of shit.