dinsdag 30 oktober 2018

City Composting in a Worm Hotel.

Vermicompost harvested from the Worm Hotel of Restaurant As.

Compost on the menu.

One year ago we organised a succesfull crowdfunding campaign to start placing worm hotels at restaurants in the city. It had been a wish for us to build worm hotels for restaurants and the money we raised in the crowdfunding made it possible to build and place the first worm hotels at restaurants in the Amsterdam area (The Netherlands). 

Finishing all the worm hotels and the rewards for the backers of the crowdfuding has been a challenge, but now all - but one - are up and running and producing beautiful vermicompost to feed the gardens of the restaurants.

Crowdfunding Film of our succesful campaign.

Chef Rick (Restaurant As) feeds the garden with
self-made compost.

Circular Restaurants and Circular Office Buildings.

One of the proud users of a Le Compostier worm hotel is Rudolf Brands from the restaurant of Circl on the Zuidas. And also the restaurant of the Tropenhotel is composting their green waste to feed the vegetable gardens at the offices of KIT (Royal Institute of the Tropics). 

Its great to see that more and more restaurants and also offices are requesting worm hotels to start composting their own organic waste. 

Worm Hotel at KIT
Oosterpark - Amsterdam.

Worm Hotel at Circl
Zuidas - Amsterdam.

Worm Hotel at restaurant Bret.
Sloterdijk - Amsterdam

Harvesting the Vermicompost.

Last week we assisted the chefs of Restaurant As to harvest their own vermicompost. We harvested three wheelbarrows full of nicely screened compost. It continues to be a miracle to see how much material the worm hotels are digesting and transforming into the black gold vermicompost. The compost was than used by Rick and Cityplot members Helder and Susanne in the garden of Restaurant As. 

Cityplotmembers Helder and Susanne use the
Vermicompost to feed the soil of the garden at
Restaurant As.

Grow food in the City.

Cityplot is taking care of Restaurant As' garden for some years now and the kitchen uses the produce from this garden to make their dishes. The restaurant is using produce from local farmers next to the herbs and veggies that come from their own garden. 

Growing food locally in the city might become more and more important in the near future and to compost locally to feed the soils will help make this possible. 

Organisations like Cityplot organise workshops on how to grow food in the city, in communal gardens, on your balcony or even on your rooftop. 

It is also possible to grow food together in organised structures such as CSA's (Community Supported Agriculture). Amsterdam has now a few running CSA's that you can join to grow and buy your locally grown food. Cityplot runs Pluk! at the FruittuinvanWest. Another nice initiative is the Groente Amsterdammer from Kasper Hoex.

If you want to grow your own food on your balcony or in a community garden it would be great to make your own vermicompost. To do so you can make a Wormbucket, build a wooden DIY Worm Hotel or start a Community Composting project with your neighbours in your street.

Local Wood - Global Wood.

Wood from StadsHout.
The Le Compostier worm hotels are made out of FSC certified wood. But sometimes we get our wood from the city. Trees that are cut due to illness or restructuring of neighbourhoods are given to the foundation StadsHout (CityWood). StadsHout cuts the trees into boards and sells those to designers and manifacturers of furnitures. 

We are very happy to be able to use such a fine material as wood for our composting furnitures, and to be able to inspire lot's of people to start composting and to take care of the soil. But we also need to make sure we continue to grow back our forrests. 

That is why Le Compostier is now supporting Trees For All and will donate two trees for each new worm hotel that we build. One tree will be planted in the Netherlands and the other tree will be given to a treeplanting project in Bolivia. 

dinsdag 28 augustus 2018

Composting at the office.

Composting at Circl, at the feet of the headquarters of the
ABN AMRO bank in Amsterdam


The Office & the Worm Hotel.

Not too long ago it was common in the Netherlands to prepare your lunch at home and take some bread with slices of cheese to your office for your lunch break. 

Nowadays corporate buildings are housing professional kitchens with dedicated staff to offer fresh & healthy lunches, preferably using organic & local produce. 

It is also becoming more common to create green spaces near the office where people can sit and relax, have meetings outdoor, and even do some gardening to grow the lettuce and tomato's for their own lunches. 

These type of offices are now starting to discover the worm hotels as tools to make their company's kitchen a circular kitchen and use organic waste in a circular way.

Easy, clean and circular! 

Also in the middle of busy places like the financial district of Amsterdam at the Zuidas it is possible to compost organic waste. 

Urban Composter at Circl.
That is demonstrated by the Worm Hotel that Le Compostier build for Circl and that is in use by Circl's restaurant. The worm hotel is placed alongside the Gustav Mahlerplein and is covered with plants at the front and on top. A watergarden gives space to a lush green bouquet of waterplants.

People passing by hardly notice that inside the furniture millions of organisms are at work to make the finest compost available: vermicompost. Only when you open the windows on the sides of the composting furniture you discover what is happening inside; organic waste is turned into a valuable resource for Urban Greening.

The chef of Circl, Rudolf Brand, is taking great care of the workers in the worm hotel. He is showing great pride in the fact that the organic waste of the kitchen is not ending in the trash bin any longer and will be used to feed the herb garden of the restaurant.

Composting is not difficult, it actually is very easy! It does not smell and to be able to use the compost in the garden is very satisfying.

In this single Worm Hotel at
the Sloterdijk business area there
are more organism at work then there are 
people in all the office buildings
in the area together.

Huge workforce at work to make our City a Circular City! 

Did you know that in a teaspoon of healthy & alive compost there are more organisms then there are people living on the earth? Pretty impressive isn't?
And vermicompost is the most alive compost of all. 

When we would choose to invest in using our organic waste in a sustainable way we could do magic! There are so many places in our cities that could be producing food and give us the necessary green environment for healthy urban living, if only we would choose to start using our organic waste in a sustainable way and feed the soil! 

Luckily there a more and more places that choose to start composting the organic waste that they are producing. Offices and restaurants make compost in their own Worm Hotel and use the compost to feed the soil of their gardens.

Worm Hotel at café - restaurant Bret at
the business centre of Sloterdijk - Amsterdam.

Investing in a healthy future.

Right now things are up in our economies and it seems like the sky is the limit. Big building projects are realised and green spots in our cities are under pressure. The value of m2's are sky rocketing, but what is the value of a tree in the city? 

Cities like London are investing in their urban green and seem to understand that a city without enough green is doomed to suffer from health & social issues that are way more costly then reserving some space for trees & plants. 

The same counts for the way we treat organic waste. It seems cheap to discard it and burn or burry it in landfills. But if we do not start valuing it now we might end up paying a huge price: the loss of fertility of the soil.

If we wish to live abundant lives we need to understand we owe our wealth to the soil. 

Let's meet in the Garden!

At the KIT (Royal Institute for the Tropics) in Amsterdam many small and big companies are sharing the monumental building as an office space. Many of these companies are working on sustainability issues and each has its own niche focus.

Just a while ago, on initiative of De Gezonde Stad (one of the organisations that is housing at KIT) a vegetable garden was realised at the location. People of different organisations are taking care of their own part of the garden and grow some food while relaxing AND meet each other. In that way these companies can meet each other, grow stronger networks and have a bigger impact together.  

To make the location more circular Le Compostier was asked to build a big Worm Hotel to turn the food waste of the Tropen Hotel into a rich compost and to be used to feed the garden soil. 

Watergarden on top of the Worm Hotel at
the headquarters of Insurance company
Zorg & Zekerheid

Make your Office a Circular Office! 

Do you wish to start composting at your office building? We make it possible! 

You don't need to have a lot of space available. We design custom made solutions for your location & help make the transition to a circular use of organic waste. 

If you wish to get more information about Le Compostier and the Worm Hotels or get a free quote for your office please send us an email

Worms at Work! 

donderdag 28 juni 2018

Composting at the heart of the financial district of Amsterdam

Soil is precious. 

Fully circular at Circl: composting in a worm hotel & making healthy soil for the city.

Worms are the bankers of the soil, they turn green waste into gold: Black Gold. 

You would not expect it in a place like the Gustof Mahlerplein at the heart of the financial district of Amsterdam; a furniture in which composting worms live and turn green waste into rich vermicompost. But since last Thursday the restaurant of Circl is using a worm hotel to make compost out of their organic waste. In between huge concrete buildings and tiled squares there is now a small wooden furniture that is turning green waste into rich soil. And that is great, because we need a lot more healthy soil if we want to be able to keep growing food to feed the growing population of cities. 

Wormenhotel for Circl in construction at
my workshop.

Green spots in a concrete world.

Cities are growing. All over the world you see mega cities appearing and more than half of the human population is choosing to live in an unnatural environment: cities. Cities are great for the things they offer to us humans: fun, work, networks for careers, etc. But they are not offering a lot of nature. 

Academic studies are showing that it is important for human wellbeing to be close to nature. When humans are able to spend time in nature and in connection with green they feel better, are happier and more healthy. It seems very wise then to appreciate the green spots we have in the city and preserve them well. Why spend millions on old paintings and not do the same to keep some nature close at hand?

All to often nature is sacrificed in urban settings to allow for more real estate development and short term profits. But there is a growing awareness that we need to keep the green we have & invest in more green in the city. It is great that a bank like the ABN AMRO is investing in a circular economy & shows to value nature in such a way. By building their circular pavilion the bank is giving circular thinking a platform. Nature is our greatest teacher in circularity. Nothing in nature is considered to be waste. The waste of one organism is the food/ building material/ home/ etc, for the next. 

Living systems.

Opening of a worm hotel in a neighbourhood of Amstelveen.
Green makes a city livable. Green offers relaxation. Green offers a place to calm down. Green offers a place where to breath. But most of all green is alive! In between concrete and cement we humans need to be able to connect to that part of us that has allowed us to have a body: planet earth. 

Cities are complex systems and it takes a lot of thought to plan them and to plan the life within them. Nature has its own ways to plan and inviting nature in our cities could offer solutions for mental health and social cohesion problems some of the cities are suffering from. 

Even though some people like to think so, we are not apart from nature, but are a part of it. And so it would be wise to honor nature and keep her close at hand. 

A worm hotel is an example of a complex living system. By implementing worm hotels in our cities we are not only generating healthy soil, but also allowing the users of the worm hotels to reconnect with nature and build social cohesion in neighbourhoods. 

Green for Living and for Research: The Green Living Lab.

Just a few hundred meters away from the location of the Worm Hotel at Circl is the The Green Living Lab. This unique green oasis is an initiative of Aveen Colgan and Arthur de Smidt. Together they have spend the last 4 years showing the value of nature within the city to university students, businesses and local residents. The Green Living Lab is located on one of the last spots of pure soil that is within the Amsterdam borders. It is one of the last spots where soil has not been poisoned or build upon. If Rembrand would have painted it The Green Living Lab would be a museum. I personally think it deserves to be just that: a museum for soil and natural systems within urban development. 

Soil is prescious. 

The value of a building, a piece of property, stuff... it all is expressed in currency. I hope we humans will start valuing living soil more then dead currencies before its gone. And keep and nurture the last bits of living soil we have in the places where we live so the generations after us can thank us for making a wise choice.

Dirt is alive!