Thanks for the steady stream of support

BRATTLEBORO — Thank you to more than 170 community members who are contributing their urine to the Rich Earth Institute's research project.

We have already collected about 2,000 gallons out of our 3,000-gallon goal for 2013. On behalf of our board of directors, we offer our heartfelt appreciation to this diverse group of early adopters. You have overcome any initial squeamishness and accepted the challenge to treat your urine as a rich fertilizer resource instead of as a waste to be flushed away.

When dropping off containers of liquid gold, you have shared amazing conversations with us about your experience. It is a pleasure to see how empowered you are by this process and how committed you are to closing the food nutrient cycle.

At the farm, we are taking the precaution of sanitizing all the collected urine, using methods that include solar pasteurization. We will then use the urine as fertilizer on two hay fields in field trials funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program.

Last year, we established that urine is a very effective fertilizer for hay. This year's trials continue to measure yield and also investigate ways to streamline the process for farmers.

Special thanks to Best Septic of Westminster for donating toilets and hauling services for our unique urine-collecting portable toilets that debuted at the Strolling of the Heifers Expo on June 8. Seth, Jeff, and Brenda, the Best Septic staff, are committed to urine recycling and will be collecting urine in a similar manner at other events this summer.

We are most grateful to our partnering farmers, Jay and Janet Bailey at Fairwinds Farm, for their collaboration and enthusiasm. They understand the potential for this abundant local source of fertilizer to not only grow hay for their horses, but to eventually support all the farmers in the region who stand to benefit from this research.

To readers new to this project, visit richearthinstitute.org or come to Brooks Memorial Library on Tuesday, July 30, from 7 to 9 p.m., where we will be presenting “Fertilizer from Urine: Clean Rivers and Sustainable Farms.”

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