None of this, by the way, had anything to do with an herb farmer turning a half of century, but rather the celebration of selling 35,000 copies of the host’s book, The Humanure Handbook by Joseph C. Jenkins. This self-published guide to composting human manure is available in fifty countries and has received many awards including the “Outstanding Book of 2000” and “Most Likely to Save the Planet.”
His book has donned our bookshelf since 1995, thanks to Claire’s Dad giving us a copy. It fell apart due to many students reading it here at the farm and in Claire’s seventh grade classroom at Brookville Junior High. Currently, it has been replaced with the second edition explaining how Americans take flush toilets for granted.
We are a culture that defecates in a large bowl of drinking water and then flush it downstream. The book thoroughly examines many composting disposal systems addressing pathogens, hookworms, and disease.
Jenkins’s simple solution to humanure is to use a two bucket system. One bucket is full of sawdust or shredded junk mail to cover any deposits made in the other bucket -- an odorless, waterless, environmentally-friendly toilet. Some folks may consider this repulsive, but Joe’s book humorously calms the fears of any “fecophobic.”
Many cultures find Joe’s composting concept both life saving and economical. South Korea, for example, sent a film crew to create a documentary on the subject. Not having a word to translate Humanure (now recognized by Wikopedia); the Koreans are using their equivalent for our poop word. Historically this is the first time ever the Korean media has allowed the word to be broadcast.
Joe, a true environmental steward, has generously granted translation and publishing rights to any international organization for free. The book is available on the Internet, but really worth the investment by ordering a copy at WWW.JENKINSPUBLISHING.COM. His talents exceed sawdust toilets, as portrayed by his beautiful self-built home using recycled lumber and slate, and his gardens and orchards boasting with organic produce. In his extra time, he restores stone roofs and updates The Slate Roof Bible, another one of his comprehensive publications.
We congratulate Joe Jenkins and his many achievements and wish him continued success greening up the planet.