Waste and Dirt: Notes on the Architecture of Compost

Eating is messy. It is a fact of life-and
even of not-quite-life- that every act of
consumption produces waste. Even the most thoroughgoingvegan
consuming raw food right from the plant can
only extract so much value from food and will later leave
a little pile of waste, somewhere. It is even messier when
we consider the parts of the plant that can not be eaten,
especially if it has to be harvested, and the messiness only
increases when we imagine the long chain of discarded
waste involved in transforming that raw plant into say,
a warm hamburger delivered in a wrapper through the
drive-in window while you sit idling in your car.

Eating is messy. It is a fact of life-and even of not-quite-life- that every act of consumption produces waste. Even the most thoroughgoingvegan

consuming raw food right from the plant can only extract so much value from food and will later leave a little pile of waste, somewhere. It is even messier when

we consider the parts of the plant that can not be eaten, especially if it has to be harvested, and the messiness only increases when we imagine the long chain of discarded

waste involved in transforming that raw plant into say, a warm hamburger delivered in a wrapper through the drive-in window while you sit idling in your car.

Excerpt from “Waste and Dirt: Notes on the Architecture of Compost,” VIA: Dirt (Philadelphia, 2011)