Where mama nature gets your soil back in a form she can actually use!

The Great Giveback was the last and final phase of Humble Pile Chicago, a collective human nutrient recycling project.

Two years ago I invited 35 households to compost their poop using the simple 5-gallon bucket dry toilet and composting pile system. Twenty-two people accepted the invitation and for three months I delivered toilets, storage barrels and sawdust to them, picking up their full bins as needed, taking them to a secret location to compost their contents.

After two years the humanure had transformed into lovely nutrient-rich soil. (Samples taken to an environmental lab tested free of all coliforms.)

The original bucket-pooping participants received handsewn yellow-and-brown canvas sacks of their transformed nite soil. Each sack is silkscreened with THE GREAT GIVEBACK, a drawing of the digestive system (esophagus to rectum) and a turd.

Deliveries were made by bicycle. The remainder of the collective pile is being used to enrich disturbed city soils.

* * *


$20 including shipping while supplies last! All t-shirts were obtained from thrift stores. A few dago-tees exist, the rest are short-sleeved. Some are yellow, but most are brown. Illustrations were done by the delightfully thoughtful Edie Fake.

You can pay via PAYPAL from my project site –

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Please send me an e-mail with your US t-shirt size and hopefully I can accommodate you.

thanks folks,

Categories: "Weedeater" column by Nance Klehm | Tags: | Leave a comment

About Jay Babcock

I am an independent writer and editor based in Tucson, Arizona. In 2023: I publish an email newsletter called LANDLINE = Previously: I co-founded and edited Arthur Magazine (2002-2008, 2012-13) and curated the three Arthur music festival events (Arthurfest, ArthurBall, and Arthur Nights) (2005-6). Prior to that I was a district office staffer for Congressman Henry A. Waxman, a DJ at Silver Lake pirate radio station KBLT, a copy editor at Larry Flynt Publications, an editor at Mean magazine, and a freelance journalist contributing work to LAWeekly, Mojo, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Vibe, Rap Pages, Grand Royal and many other print and online outlets. An extended piece I wrote on Fela Kuti was selected for the Da Capo Best Music Writing 2000 anthology. In 2006, I was somehow listed in the Music section of Los Angeles Magazine's annual "Power" issue. In 2007-8, I produced a blog called "Nature Trumps," about the L.A. River. From 2010 to 2021, I lived in rural wilderness in Joshua Tree, Ca.

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