For a “dirty, earthy” Nightlife at The California Academy of Sciences April 26, 2012, I teamed up with Homespun Bikes in Oakland to create The U.S. Compostal Service, a mobile compost and food vending system that illustrates the cycle of life on a bicycle, trailing a kitchen garden.
For the project, we served up bites of fresh wild nettle and kale frittata inside empty eggshells (a byproduct of frittata-making) from the front basket of the bike. After finishing their snacks, we invited museum participants to add their empty eggshells to the bike-mounted worm compost system built on the back of the bike, in cute wooden panniers we built ourselves.
In one wooden pannier, people added fresh food scraps to living Red Wrigglers (our worms), and in the other pannier was dark, rich, earth-smelling finished worm compost, ready for the garden.
Behind the bike, nestled inside a hand-made bike trailer made from modified bike parts and reclaimed wood, was a living garden that included kale – the very vegetable needed to make more fritattas.
We hoped to show how food scraps – used creatively, with worms and time – build good soil, and grow more food.
Part of the reason we chose to build a mobile food vending and compost bike was to illustrate how transportation, waste, and consumption can be re-envisioned to become more sustainable in ways that fit together and complement eachother.
We also wanted to show how something educational and useful could be made beautiful, delightful, and entertaining, requiring the active participation of a community.
The U.S. Compostal Service was on display at The California Academy of Science April 26, 6-10 PM at, 55 Music Concourse Drive, in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco.