The Other Side of Our Food System: The Use of Human Waste as an Agricultural Resource

When Feb 26, 2020
from 04:00 PM to 05:00 PM
Where Shumaker Research Building room 139
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Please join us for this talk by Dr. Nicholas Kawa, Department of Anthropology, Ohio State University, hosted by UofL's Department of Anthropology.

Prior to industrialization, human excrement was commonly employed as a resource for agricultural fertilization.

Following the advent of the hydraulic sanitation system, however, it became increasingly channeled into waterways rather than reincorporated into terrestrial agro-ecosystems.

To counter this trend, more and more cities in the US are looking to treated sanitation waste, or “biosolids,” as a sustainable source of agricultural fertilizer.

This presentation reports on a collaboration between Ohio State faculty and students in anthropology, architecture, and landscape architecture to design and implement a demonstration garden that makes legible the hidden processes by which human waste is transformed into an agricultural resource in the American Midwest.

Ultimately, this presentation considers both the limits and possibilities of challenging social taboos surrounding human waste and the implications it has for our food system.