A friend of mine just informed me of a local herb farm that uses human manure fertilizer. The farm/farmer has a composting toilet that they harvest the manure from.
My friend was upset when she learned of this because the farm doesn't advertise they uses of human manure fertilizer on their herbs and vegetables. At first I didn't understand her concern until she pointed out the fact that the folks who supply the "poo" may be on antibiotics, birth control and other proscription drugs.
I would love to hear your feedback on this practice.
When using human waste for compost, or sludge (human waste) from an urban waste treatment center, it is very important to test for heavy metals. I regret to say that some heavy metals are coming into our food supplies, and they become concentrated in human waste.
We have a very small bit of info on humanure in this blog post on composting, but this specifies that certain crops, such as mushrooms, are necessary in order to remove the pathogens from the waste, even after it has been processed by a composting toilet. I'm not sure what other crops do the same. Anyone? Or is humanure from a composting toilet safe for a wide range of veggies?
Lizz, how did your friend find out about the farm's practice? Did s/he ask? If so, good for her/him. It's mostly a separate issue, but the question of whether or not the farm should disclose its use of humanure calls to mind all of the other things some farms use, from GMOs to pesticides, that we don't always know about. That's why it's so important to ask, since, once we know, we can make informed choices and vote with our dollars and stomachs.