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Rich Earth Institute gets USDA grant for urine reclamation project

Tours may be arranged by calling Nace at 802-579-1857. For more information, visit www.richearthinstitute.org or visit their Facebook page.

BRATTLEBORO—The Rich Earth Institute (REI) has received a $15,000 grant from the USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program to conduct a second season of field trials with Jay and Janet Bailey of Fairwinds Farm on Upper Dummerston Road.

The Rich Earth Institute is a nonprofit research and demonstration organization founded in 2011 by Abe Noe-Hays and Kim Nace. Dedicated to closing the food nutrient cycle, the mission of REI is to advance and promote human manure as a resource.

In 2012, REI’s Urine Nutrient Reclamation Project recycled 600 gallons of human urine by collecting, transporting, sanitizing, and applying it as fertilizer to a hay field.

The project will expand this summer to 3,000 gallons of urine. All aspects of the research will be replicated, refined, and fully documented.

Urine contains vast quantities of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium — elements required for healthy soils.

Instead of collecting nutrients for reuse as REI proposes, our current system mixes human waste with potable water and transports it to a wastewater treatment plant. Treatment plants use an energy-intensive and relatively inefficient process to extract these same elements in an attempt to lessen water pollution. They then discharge non-potable water back into rivers.

Similar to the evolution of solid waste management systems, where planners started with extracting glass bottles and then paper, metals and plastics from our landfills, extracting nutrient-laden urine from our wastewater stream could greatly reduce potable water consumption as well as alleviate pollution to our waterways. It will simultaneously create a source of local, inexpensive, and abundant fertilizer.

“There is a heightened awareness now of the need to close the food nutrient cycle and to create infrastructure based on a sustainable flow of nutrients in our environment,” said Nace.

REI is collaborating nationally with engineers in the sanitation industry, water quality advocates, soil scientists, and microbiologists at the EPA.

Additionally, REI is working with the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation for permitting and regulatory purposes.

Urine is being collected for REI through informal donations from local volunteers. To participate, write info@richearthinstitute.org.

Urine also can be collected formally via waterless urinals and new source separating toilets, which are gaining popularity, especially in Europe. A demonstration model is installed at the REI office in Brattleboro.

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Tamara Stenn
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Tamara Stenn (Brattleboro, Vermont, US) says...

Thanks for writing this Elayne. I was thinking the same thing myself. The silence we received from the hospital is quite deafening. Unfortunately we\'ve had to continue working with the hospital as other (minor) heath issues come up.

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Judith Skillman
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Judith Skillman (Newcastle, US) says...

Excellent and informative writing about the media and about the state of our nation. We must support the press speak truth to power, now more than ever before.

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Ruby Bode
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Ruby Bode (Westminster, Vermont, US) says...

We are also obliged to criticize the press when they merely echo the lies of the powerful. In this case, much of the press has taken a side, not just against the policies of the President, but against the election itself on behalf of the parties of war and Wall St. Just as the US has in the past agitated in other countries for coups against democratic outcomes they don’t like, much of the press, including this editorial, is now agitating for a coup here at home.

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Peter Ford
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Peter Ford (Dallas) says...

Nailed it - Thank you.

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TB Smith
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Aug 2018
TB Smith (Ba, Oklahoma, US) says...

The divisiveness brought on by this shamefully poor excuse for a president has been once again, borne out by this article, and the responses to it .. his most devoted followers are the most gullible and easily swayed sheeple since the \"Kool-Aid party in Jonestown\" ... those who stand up the most fervently to this dictator \"wanabe\", will , inthe end, see him and the fellow purveyors of his garbage rhetoric like FOX News, Alex Jones, Breitbart, etc., crumble and be dumped like stale crackers (pardon the pun) .. we must impeach this tyrant before too much damage is done, either from within or outside our borders.

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Ruby Bode
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Ruby Bode (Westminster, Vermont, US) says...

So it’s OK that access to outlets that simply recognize Trump as President is indeed being shut down? But isn’t that exactly what this editorial is against? Should outlets that cheered on Obama’s wars and love of Wall St have likewise been shut down? Only John Birch Society–inspired screeds against Trump indicate the “legitimate” press?

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Ruby Bode
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Ruby Bode (Westminster, Vermont, US) says...

TB Smith’s comment in apparent support of the us-vs-them tone of this editorial illustrates why so many people distrust so much of the press (although, again, it appears to be only pro-Trump and anti-imperialist outlets that are actually being shut down): They are promulgating hysterical claims about fascism, Russians, and “crackers” not in the interest of the people, but wholly on behalf of the neoliberal/neoconservative program of Reagan, Clinton, Bush, and Obama to deny Trump the Presidency and even remove him from office – not democratically, but by coup if necessary. That makes the press rather anti-democratic and, indeed, against the people.

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Amelia Stone
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Amelia Stone (E Dummerston, Vermont, US) says...

Kudos to the Boston Globe for encouraging newspapers across the country to remind us all of the value of a free press, and to the Commons for hearing that call. The NYTimes article, A Free Press Needs You, concludes with the following: \"If you haven’t already, please subscribe to your local papers. Praise them when you think they’ve done a good job and criticize them when you think they could do better. We’re all in this together.\" Today I plan to subscribe.

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