humble pile (ongoing, 2008)

Humble Pile - Nance Klehm

our massive small-scale urban nutrient recovery project

(original invitation to Humble Pile)
greetings citizen!

we want to tell you about humble pile, a nutrient recovery project happening
in chicago.
we are working together to transform

  • waste into fertility
  • pollution into resource
  • isolation into connection.

we want you to help us.

our massive small-scale urban nutrient recovery project, humblepile, is underway.
you’ve probably been wondering what you can possibly do to help prevent total
systems collapse.

here is your answer: a poetically and practically perfect activity that will feed
your feeling of joy, alleviate alienation, connect you to nature. yeah, we can actually
save fuel, eradicate certain forms of pollution, save hundreds of thousands of
gallons of water and create rich fertile soil rather than parched earth.

compost your shit and piss.
hear us out.
sawdust toilets don’t smell.
they are no more dangerous than wiping.
close the nutrient loop.
operate differently.
billions of humans suck nutrients and don’t give back to the dirt.
change that now.
stop wasting live water.
stop sewage spills by composting your crap.

it’s fun. joyful. sensible.

Humble Pile - Nance Klehm phase one – COLLECTION

(this phase is now finished)
Collection was conducted for over three months April – July 2008. 1,000 gallons
of human nutrient was collected. Two participants continued to add to the end
of 2009 for a total of 1,500 gallons total.

A Pie Potluck held at Mess Hall marked the end of the collection phase and served
as a forum for the curious public.

In 2010, I will be the sole contributor to the pile.



Aerated bins of nutrient composted in an undisclosed location July 2008 – July 2009

Humble Pile - Nance Klehm

phase three – GUT REHAB #1 & #2

Bin contents are emptied and reconstituted into a collective open-air pile.

#1 (roughly 1/3 of bins) = July 2009.

#2 (roughly the rest of bins) = September 2009.

Humble Pile - Nance Klehm phase 4, the last and final phase – THE GREAT GIVEBACK

Hand-sewn, screen printed sacks of the two year composted nite soil were returned
to original participants via bicycle.

The humanure tested negative for all coliforms, the rest of the collective pile is being used to enrich disturbed city soils.

Humble Pile - Nance KlehmHumble Pile - Nance Klehm THE GREAT GIVEBACK t-shirts $20 while supplies last!

All t-shirts were obtained from thrift stores. A few dago-tees exist, the rest are short
sleeved. Some are yellow, but most are brown.

You can purchase them through our shop page.