Published by City Farmer, Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture



Solid Waste/Composting and Urban Agriculture

Using EM Bokashi in Composting on Saltspring Island
"Personally, I'm not sure how much better bokashi compost is for your garden than plain-old compost, but I can say that stuff does break down very fast in the soil, and that when I dig in the area a month or two later it is absolutely WRITHING with earthworms. Huge masses of them." Posted February 6, 2004

E-Conference: Agricultural Use Of Untreated Urban Wastewater In Low Income Countries: 24 June - 5 July 2002
"The use of the urban wastewater in agriculture is a widely established practice, particularly so in urban and peri-urban areas of arid and seasonally arid zones. Wastewater is used as a source of irrigation water as well as a source of plant nutrients (such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium) and trace elements (K, Na, etc) allowing farmers to reduce or even eliminate the purchase of chemical fertilizer and of organic matter that serves as a soil conditioner and humus replenisher Lunven (1992) estimated that one tenth or more of the world's population currently eats food produced on wastewater (but not always in a safe way)." Posted May 23, 2002

Evaluating Voluntary Stormwater Management Initiatives in Urban Residential Areas
"In recent decades, stormwater runoff has emerged as an issue of major concern to water resource managers. Stormwater affects local waterways both in terms of the volume of runoff that is generated, and the nature of the pollutants that may be conveyed. Allowing stormwater to infiltrate in urban residential areas is one way of managing runoff at-source, and by doing so, preventing a wide variety of down-stream effects." (40,000 word Master's Thesis in PDF format) Posted March 29, 2002

Urban Waste And Rural Farmers: Enabling Low-Cost Organic Waste Reuse In Developing Countries
"Farmers and animal husbanders in poor countries have acquired and continue to access urban organic wastes and to process and use them in various ways. Green wastes obtained from fruit and vegetable markets are used for animal fodder; food wastes from hotels, canteens and food processing industries are fed to pigs and goats; slaughterhouse wastes are processed for poultry feed"
Posted March 20, 2002

Vancouver Landfill Gas Heats Greenhouses
"The Landfill Gas Utilization Project would involve burning landfill gas from the site to generate electricity and heat at an existing greenhouse in Delta. The project is unique in Canada because it will recover heat in addition to generating electricity, which increases the environmental benefits by more than 50 per cent. "
Posted February 16, 2002

Solid Waste Reuse And Urban Agriculture--Dilemmas In Developing Countries: The Bad News And The Good News
"Urban waste reduction and reuse involves, among other things, composting of urban organic wastes (especially in cities of developing countries where the organic fraction of municipal solid waste (MSW) is high) and the feeding of kitchen and food wastes to domestic animals and livestock. Discussions of urban agriculture (UA) frequently point out that city farming often absorbs urban solid waste, thus reducing the volume of waste and the need to collect and transport wastes to distant dumps. In practice, urban farmers in many cities acquire municipal wastes as resources." Posted January 15, 2001

Anaerobic Digestion in Rural China
"Since the 1970s, China has been promoting the use of underground, individual household scale, anaerobic digesters to process rural organic wastes. There are approximately 5,000,000 households using anaerobic digesters in China. The digesters produce biogas that is used as an energy source by the households, and produce fertilizer that is used in agricultural production. " Posted January 15, 2001

Shit Happens at a Compost Garden
The Rat Race: Life at the Compost Hotline runs smoothly enough. But when unexpected dignitaries turn up, everything turns to sh!*t. Posted September 7, 2000

Municipal Organic Waste Recycling for Urban and Peri-urban Agriculture in Africa and Asia
"Regarding the high price of industrial fertilizers, organic waste stream products generated in the urban and peri-urban areas are considered as valuable nutrient sources for crop production, especially for high-value crops (e.g. vegetables, ornamental plants) and for urban gardens and recreation areas."Posted August 12, 2000

Recycling Of Solid Wastes In The East Of Mexico City By Livestock And Agricultural Production Systems
"In this study, milk production systems in the East of Mexico City utilize a large quantity of organic refuse for feed from the Central de Abastos, which includes fruit and vegetables. Dairy stables produce manure and straw, which are delivered in a fresh form to the agricultural zones of the Southwest of the city." Posted May 17, 2000

This Urban Fringe Farm Is Worth Adapting
"The Laredo Demonstration Farm, an urban farm in Texas, teaches students about the successful integration of farming systems with waste management. Exciting features include: Worms for fish and poultry food. Insect and insect larvae production for fish food. Harvesting of wind energy. Production of biofuels, such as methane. Fish production. Agroforestry combining fruit trees with vegetable growing. Solar refrigeration. Food processing." Posted February 12, 2000

Wasted Agriculture: The Use Of Compost In Urban Agriculture
This Working Document (1996) by D.'t Hart, J. Pluijmers, from UWEP (Urban Waste Expertise Programme), WASTE. Posted May 8, 1999

Urban Organic Wastes, Urban Health And Sustainable Urban And Peri-Urban Agriculture - Linking Urban And Rural By Composting
This paper was presented at the Workshop "Rural-Urban Linkages" sponsored by UNDP and the Government of the State of Paraná, Brazil, in March, 1998. Posted May 5, 1999

Urban Organic Wastes, Urban Health And Sustainable Urban And Peri-Urban Agriculture - Linking Urban And Rural By Composting
This paper was presented at the Workshop "Rural-Urban Linkages" sponsored by UNDP and the Government of the State of Paraná, Brazil, in March, 1998. Posted May 5, 1999

Waste Management in Nairobi, Kenya
"Organic wastes are also important to the urban agriculture sector as all sorts of livestock, including goats, chickens and the occasional cow, feed on top of waste heaps." 15,000 word report written by Kim Peters. Posted March 5, 1999

Israel's Compost Program
"With over 400 tons of organic matter going to landfills every day from Jerusalem, the need to compost is urgent." said Naomi Tzur, head of SPNI Jerusalem branch. ... From Zevel to Zahav (Garbage to Gold) - The Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committee (PARC) is pioneering a compost program in the Bethlehem area with regional outreach. Posted June 9, 1998

The Utilisation of Urban Waste by Near-urban Farmers in the Hubli-Dharwad City-region of Karnataka, India
"The report outlines the current situation regarding the management and use of urban waste, composting practices currently employed, a review of the use of urban waste in other city-regions of South Asia, and a review of relevant soil fertility issues..." Posted May 30, 1998

America's First Composter
"As evidence of George Washington's devotion to composting, he erected a highly unusual building specifically designed to compost "manure" and to facilitate its "curing" into usable fertilizer."

Composting in Vancouver: 10 Years of Progress
"Vancouver has expanded its screened compost sales from 4,000 cubic metres in 1996 to 25,000 cubic metres in 1999. Net revenue (after delivery costs) is expected to exceed $150,000 in 1999." Posted October 17, 1999

We Have a Compost Toilet!
"But how do we use it", the staff wanted to know? "There's no water in the bowl, no handle for flushing. What can we throw in it, how do we keep track of how much human waste goes in, and what words should we use to describe our waste?" Posted November 12, 1998

Composting Toilets
In Vancouver, British Columbia, a 30,000 sq. ft. office complex, utilizes composting toilets and urinals for human waste disposal. City Farmer has links to toilet manufacturers from around the world. Updated March 11, 1999

Diary of a Compost Hotline Operator
"We've had people attacking the signs, running over the wood curbs, digging up the wood blocks in the pathway. And we've even spotted a few locals drinking out of our rainbarrels." Updated September 28, 1998

Urban Home Composting, City Farmer Style
If all our urban organic waste was turned back into crop nourishing humus, think how fertile the ground would become.

Dealing With a Rat in a Compost Bin
An individual who calls the Compost Hotline is usually quite shocked that he has a rat on his property.

City Farmer/City Of Vancouver Wormshop Program
"Half a pound of writhing red wiggler worms are included in each worm "kit". The bin will accommodate up to 1500, so participants are encouraged to make up a second bin for themselves or a friend (they make excellent wedding gifts, shower gifts and Christmas presents!)."

Worms: The New "Bug" For The New Millenium
"The worm movement began in the 70's with a woman named Mary Appelhof, a biologist from Kalamazoo, Michigan. She wrote the industry bible, Worms Eat My Garbage in 1982. Now a highly sought after speaker at science and environmental conferences, Mary has spread the worm word around the world, touring Australia, the Philippines, England, France, Ireland and recently Russia." Posted September 23, 1999

Worm Suppliers
The world's largest list of worm sellers. Updated April 16, 2000

More about the City's Distribution of Worm Bins!
Newsweek magazine, Feb. 12, 1996, reports "Entire cities are getting into the act. Vancouver sells worm bins, wrigglers included at half price." (Kitchen Help: Wrigglers Under the Sink, page 76)

Composting With Red Wiggler Worms
The great advantage of worm composting is that this can be done indoors and outdoors, thus allowing year round composting. It also provides apartment dwellers with a means of composting.

Jerry Seinfeld's Worm Bin
"What's The Deal With Worm Composting?"
Kramer's friend, a kooky zoology Professor at a New York museum, is leading a secret expedition into the sewers of New York to search for a new species of worm that will speed up the process of decomposition in the bin.

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Revised February 6, 2004

Published by City Farmer
Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture