Translate this Page

Sep 182013

On Monday it was time to remove the Kompostowisko at the Copernicus Science Center. Hopefully soon the organizers will share some event photos.

Aug 272013

Kompostowisko KopernikaSome of us grow food. Some of us cook it. But all of us eat it! (and all of us waste it!)

Growing, cooking, and eating generates A LOT of organic waste. On September 8 at the Przemiany Festival there will be a Breakfast at the River picnic at The Copernicus Science Center in Warsaw, Poland. There you can learn how to deal with all of that waste — by composting it back into fertile soil!

Organic waste makes up more than 50% of all the waste in Warsaw’s wastestream. The vast majority of it is dumped in the landfill, where it has terrible environmental consequences through the production and release of methane gas (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere—two notorious global warming gases. What’s tragic is that organic waste can easily be turned into humus ( the living, organic part of soil). This humus can be used to grow food, feed plants, and heal damaged land – even land damaged by landfills.

This year Warsaw is implementing new waste disposal laws and fees, putting our waste and its dirty secrets into the spotlight. The new laws impose a 40% fee for not segregating waste (that is, recycling). However it appears there is little incentive to actually reduce the quantity of waste or indeed to do anything at all about organic waste.

At the we are going to do something about it! We are going to compost all of the organic waste generated at the Festiwal’s picnic and show how we could safely compost our own waste on a local level. From 11-15.30 we will be collecting and composting all of the organic waste from the picnic on site. Come and learn how to compost organic waste by actually doing it!

We will discuss composting basics and what you can do right now with your own waste at home. We will also prepare the bin to accept the waste.

We will make the first rounds to collect the waste from the picnic vendors and participants, take it back to the composting site and compost it. Through this activity you will learn how to build a compost pile.

We will make the last rounds to collect the waste from the picnic vendors and participants, take it back to the composting site and compost it. Through this activity you will learn how to build a compost pile.

Thorughout the event you will be able to see compost in various states of decomposition, and see what a vermicomposting bin looks like (worm composting!)

This project exposes the connection between consumption, eating, waste, and land not only by showing the consequences of waste, but also by demonstrating in a positive way that waste is really just fertility in disguise — and with a little bit of effort it can be recaptured and redirected, ultimately back into our own bodies.

Since 2011, Pixxe has been exploring and modifying public space and the use of land to create a more ecological, humane habitat for the life it supports. Activities include urban/community farming, community composting, foraging, eko-art projects, and DIY maker arts such as upcycling, crafting, citizen science, cooking and food preservation. See

Jodie is an American artist living in Warsaw since 2010. Her activities encompass numerous disciplines such as film and animation, craft, and social engagement. Her work explores how entities in an environment, living and otherwise, affect and control each other. At the heart of her concerns is the nature of Nature — our relation to it and place in it. She has been growing food organically since 1996 and composting waste since 2007. In 2011, in her Soil Garden Project, she composted over 20,000 liters of waste from the green market. She currently composts the waste of one hotel and about six families on her allotment garden in Rakowiec.

Nov 012012
Mikko and the Egg

Mikko and the Egg

Trashformers! …. More than meets the eye
Trashformers! …. Fixers in disguise
Trashformers wage the battle to destroy the evil forces of …. consumerism!

Yes, friends, that’s the best I could do. One doesn’t want to mess too much with genius television cartoon lyrics! A couple of months ago, back when it was warm, I went to a tiny spot in the former GDR, now simply called The Eastern Part of Germany, in a cool little place called Lausitzer Zeitreisen, and along with about 19 other awesome people made …. things …. out …. of …. TRASH! It was a meeting organized by Berlin’s fabulous TRIAL AND ERROR. THANKS!

Many others have posted links and photos about the gathering, so first I share:
ARTICLE: (Romanian /English)
ARTICLE: (Spanish)
ARTICLE: (English)

It was called TRASHFORMERS. I didn’t bring a camera (broken!) and so a very grateful thanks to TauMH of Trial & Error for taking and sharing these pictures.

If you look at those pictures, you’ll see all the wonderful things we made: rabbit cages, silk screens, puppet theaters, puppets, paper, books, chairs, loungers, rocket stoves, sauna/sweat lodge, art, plus we learned a lot about group decision making and collaboration.

I got very  inspired with all the amazing metal objects lying around the place and made something I haven’t made for a very long time —  A DRUM KIT OUT OF JUNK! I built it right into the ground, as an addition to the kids playground that was already on the spot. The old washing drum had such a sweet sound! Ahh…. Here’s some pics (all taken by Tau).

Radu and I having a good scream!
Screaming Drummers

Sasha and Mark jamming!
Sasha and Mark jamming

Dingers from old washing machines!
Dingers from old washing machines

Detail of the lashing!
Lashing and wooden supports

My favorite part: a high hat made out of birch blocks!
Birch Block High Hat

Drumsticks out of cotton batting and sticks!
Cotton batting and sticks for Drumsticks

Making the sticks!
Making Drumsticks

Jodie the Semi-Conductor!
Jodie the Semi-Conductor

Aug 112012
Banacha waste is pretty and good!

Banacha waste is pretty and good!

Today I did a test drive to see how it would work to take Banacha’s organic waste next week. At 7AM, I took a 120 liter (about 45 gallons) container to the amazing, beautiful woman who handles the garbage there. She told me she could fill it in an hour. She also told me that we could to the test today, but that the Security wants me to have permission from the market administration to continue next week. She gave me their number. I have to call on Monday. I’m scared. In my experience so far with Polish officials, “Permission” is another word for “No.” But she also said that they were nice people, so I can hope.

At 8AM, I returned and the container was full. We tried to put it in my bike cart. My bike fell over. Too heavy. So we put it into two huge garbage bags. That worked. The ride back was slow but smooth. The bearings in the wheels of the cart made a sound, however, that tells me they won’t be working long… I returned four times and collected about 800 liters or so.

With two bikes we could easily collect twice that much.

What’s great about fresh vegetable waste is that it is so beautiful and smells good! However, I can’t process it until tomorrow, when it might not be so pretty. Thank goodness the weather is cool…..

Aug 052012

Szukamy dawców odpadów

This is one phrase that definitely sounds better in Polish and one that most of us non-natives can actually pronounce: Dawców Odpadów [DAHV-tsoo ohd-PAH-doov].

SOIL GARDEN PROJECT to cultivate soil from waste

We want your (organic) waste

What is it:
Using bikes we will collect organic waste from residents, business, organiczations, and public institutions in Rakowiec and Szczęśliwice and turn it into soil. Currently we are looking for Waste Donors.

How it works:
First we determine what kind and how much waste you generate. We agree on how often, where, and when we can collect your waste. Next we provide you a container and start. If you live in the pick-up zone and produce 20 liters of waste per week, then you’re the right person. Don’t have enough waste? Combine yours with a neighbor!

When it will happen:
We can start with some pickups now, but the big effort will be from Friday August 17 to Tuesday August 22. We plan to continue the project  so if you are interested in participating, please let us know.

May 212011

On May 21st three brave people on bikes took off to find the mysterious Waste Mountain in Kępa Zawadzka 15km south, on the fringes of Warsaw. On the way we explored the landscapes and flora of the wild Vistula bank. We also had a horseradish eating competition, did embroideries, found a secret motorcycle racetrack, listened to genuine country music performed at the local market, admired a sea of sand next to an ocean of dandelions, drank water with stickyweed to become radiative. Finally we reached the ghastly grey mountain hidden in an artificial valley and surrounded by lovely green hills and a natural reserve. The grey powder is waste produced during the burning process at the Siekierki power plant visible in the distance:

Photo documentation of the Quest for the Waste Mountain

Participants: Wojtek Mejor, Vahida Ramujkic, Aviv Kruglanski

Plants we found and ate:

  • Tasznik pospolity, Capsella bursa pastoris, Capsella / Shepard’s purse
  • Przytulia czepna, Galium aparine, Cleavers / Stickyweed
  • Chrzan pospolity, Armoracia rusticana, Horseradish
  • Czosnaczek pospolity, Alliaria petiolata, Mustard Garlic
  • Rumianek pospolity, Matricaria chamomilla, Wild chamomile
Mar 122011

Some people put their garbage in a bag and take it out to the bin. Others put it in a bag and take it to an abandoned lot and bury it, or if they’re in a hurry, just toss it over the fence. Thanks to these people I get to see what the inside of a garbage bag full of garbage looks like after 15 years.

What I see is always the same: dirt with chunks of metal, glass, and plastic in between. The metal looks the most natural–it’s often mistaken for a root or a worm. Glass maintains its integrity, its form, unless some joker smashed it first, not an uncommon occurrence. It’s the plastic that drives me nuts. Little shards, smaller than my fingernail, calling attention to themselves with their bright colors pink green and blue. The only way to get it out is to pick it up between two fingers. I’ll be picking up these little useless pieces for years.

In the last week I removed about 150 bags of garbage and recycling. Fortunately there’s a garbage bin and recycling bins very close. Inventory: 3 cigarette butts, 1 condom and 1 needle, both used, 100 aluminum beer cans, 50 plastic bottles (juice, soda), 5000 beer bottles. I’ll let you draw conclusions about what this might reveal about my neighborhood.

Purple Lady

She: What are you doing, lady?

On my bicycle, I can carry two bags of garbage at a time. The neighbors must think I’m crazy, but so far only one person has said anything. She was in her 50s, dark purple hair, dog. This is how it went. I think. (My Polish isn’t very good.)

She: What are you doing?
Me: Cleaning.
She: In the garden?
Me: Yes. It’s very dirty.
She: [Satisfied? Says nothing.]
Me: [Keep walking.]

Anyway, the garbage is of the dumped variety; that is to say it didn’t accumulate gradually, but rather was dumped here in bursts. Digging through it I start to reflect on the devastation and destruction of materiality. Everything ripped to shreds. Japan was just hit by an earthquake and tsunami and I’m thinking: all of Japan looks like this działka. Obviously the destruction of human beings is devastating, but I keep thinking about all the non-living matter that has been reformed and reorganized so carefully and purposefully, and then ends up as so many useless little bits. It’s amazing to me that it’s the living things that end up as useful bits; that is to say, as soil.

I put all the big useless bits, the ones that are heavy and awkward, and set them aside. I don’t when I’ll have the strength to move them.

The leftover leftovers

The leftover leftovers



Mar 072011

A hearty man was perched up in a tree in early March, trimming his tree. On account of this I could see him. The first time I’ve seen a human being in this patch of gardens! I’m with a Polish speaker today and so doubly lucky. We inquire about the działki in the area. How do you find out who owns them? Tree-Trimmer tells us that he bought his działka four years ago for 100 złotych — about 30 dollars. From who was unclear. He says these działki will be paved over in three or four years to make room for a highway. They are Pracowniczych Ogród Działkowy or Worker’s Garden Allotments, given to railroad employees years ago. They don’t have water pumped in. Most of the workers are long gone or getting there. The działka I have my eye on is nearby. We ask Tree-Trimmer if he thinks it would be O.K. if we just starting digging there. He seems to think it’d be O.K. That’s all the encouragement I need.

Here is what the działka looked like before I started:

Dzialka Day 1

Besides the debris that is littered all over the place there are three awful piles of garbage. Garbage Pile One is hard to see. It is a simple lump covered with blackberry canes. Under the canes are bags of garbage. In the bags of garbage are glass bottles and plastic bottles. In between the bags all manner of curious things are lodged: television casings, television screens, styrofoam blocks, a chair, weird foam tubes, carpets, crumpled wires:

Garbage Pile One: The lump

Garbage Pile One: The lump

Garbage Pile Number Two was a simple little matter of dozens of beer bottles. This was the best pile because it was the smallest:

Garbage Pile Two: only a few dozens of beer bottles

Garbage Pile Two: only a few dozens of beer bottles

Garbage Pile Three is a terrible site. It seems to go on forever and ever. There are dozens of concrete bricks, a rusted barrel, more bottles, a thousand shards of pink, blue, and green plastic, broken glass, pipes:

Garbage Pile Three: The forever pile

Garbage Pile Three: The forever pile