Saturday, December 29, 2012


Trey Smith

As a vegetarian, it should surprise no one that I like and eat a lot of vegetables. After reading an article at Scientific American (a snippet is below), I may be a bit wary of any vegetables from Nepal!
A two-day’s walk from the nearest road, over the hills and valleys below Mount Everest, farmer Budhiman Tamang loads a basket of cabbages to take to the weekly market. His cabbages are double the average local size, and since cabbages are sold by the kilo, they double his profit, too.

Two years ago, Tamang couldn’t even grow enough cabbages to sell. But since then, he’s learned the magic of human urine.

“This is not a cabbage! This is Budhiman!” he declares, lifting a heroically-sized round to the skies.

The Dzi Foundation, a Colorado-based non-profit, along with a local non-governmental organization, started a project last year to build over 1,000 toilets for the nearly 6,500 residents of Sotang, a village in Nepal’s northeastern district of Solukhumbu. Each family was offered the choice between a regular squatting pan and a dual-hole pan that collects urine in a separate basin, called an ‘ecological sanitation,’ or ecosan, toilet. Not given to shying away from new things, Tamang was one of the daring few to opt for the latter: collecting urine to use as fertilizer.
I suppose urine-fed vegetables aren't as bad as those fertilized with sewage sludge -- something the EPA allows in this country -- but it still doesn't exactly excite my taste buds.

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