Eco-action Update May
By Justin Browne
With the official arrival of spring, the EcoAction project is back in motion! Gord Baird arrived with the worm bin for Freya’s house, and the team took the opportunity to review the status of various components of OUR systems that are in place and to make minor updates and confirmations of the plan as we move forward. We have been reviewing each step of the plan, because improvements are sometimes identified as the systems are laid in place, and occasionally we need to respond to unexpected discoveries.
For those looking for details about composting toilets, Gord has published his book since the beginning of our project, entitled Essential Composting Toilets: A Guide to Options, Design, Installation, and Use. The composting toilets at the housing cluster will be emptied into Sanitation Stations located nearby. The toilets and sanitation stations take care of the sewage and save a lot of water while helping us build soil.
We have also sited the worm bins. Worm bins are designed to deal with sink, bath and shower water, so must be able to handle detergents (only approved, environmentally friendly ones, of course!) and kitchen scraps. These are sized specifically for the size of house and number of occupants, calculated by volume of water that can be expected per person.
After being naturally processed by the worm bins, the water makes its way into mulch basins and can be expected to filter through to the soil. At this point, mother nature becomes an active participant in our system: the food forest that takes the water must be planned to be able to absorb the amount of water that the homes produce after filtration. We look for food producing trees that enjoy drinking, but can be resistant to drought, with current recommendations that include hazelnuts, pear trees, apple trees and figs. This is how we can conserve and reuse water to grow delicious food!