My father told me a story when I was a kid of how prisoners in the WWII POW camp where my grandfather was held captive (Oflag II B, Arnswalde) used to grow their own veggies. Human urine was used as fertilizer to ensure a bumper tomato crop. In a way, these prisoners depended on pee to feed them as the diet provided by their captors was less than optimal.
I remember screwing up my nose and thinking how gross the concept was back then; but through my work on Green Living Tips, I’ve certainly changed my views on pee and poo!
In my article, “Taking your pee outside“, it mentions the value of urine as a replacement for fossil fuel based fertilizers. Urine is rich is nitrogen and phosphorous; a resource that is rapidly dwindling.
The value of human urine in food production has recently been backed by a study from the Department of Environmental Science, University of Kuopio, Finland
The study evaluated the use of human urine and wood ash as fertilizers for tomato cultivation in a greenhouse. A comparison of tomatoes with mineral fertilizer, urine + ash, urine only, and no fertilization applied were monitored. The urine fertilized plants produced equal amounts of tomatoes as mineral fertilized plants and 4 times more tomatoes than non-fertilized plants.
That’s a pretty amazing result and certainly confirms our pee is precious. We really need to re-evaluate our attitudes towards human waste – the future of food production may greatly depend on us doing so.