American Flatbread founder George Schenk seldom stops thinking about how he can reduce his footprint on the earth and that extends to his business as well.

This week, Schenk built an experimental composting urinal at the Lareau Farm and American Flatbread that he is calling the BIO-P composting urinal. It is located near the Revolution trailhead. 



Per Schenk, it consists of a pile of sawdust blended with finished Lareau Farm and Forest compost (used to inoculate the sawdust with beneficial soil biota) surrounded by hay rounds for privacy. This composting urinal is available for all guests and Schenk will manage the experiment.

His goals are clear:

-To provide guests (admittedly primarily male guests -- it’s a start) with a more ecologically responsible bathroom experience;

-To explore how his businesses can help guests using less water;

-And to conserve the nutrient value of urine (it is high in nitrogen and other essential nutrients) to enrich the soils at the farm (the compost will be applied to hay fields to minimize the possibility of disease transmission).


This is the kind of forward-thinking we have come to expect of Schenk and it is refreshing. He makes a point to note that his experiment may conflict with existing state/local health and other codes, but he also makes clear that what he is doing is his own act of civil disobedience.

“I make this act because I have come to think that the existing rules and regulations governing these matters -- rules that require inordinate amounts of fresh water and energy intensive infrastructure -- have deeply failed to protect the environment and the intrinsic value of nature,” Schenk wrote.

Recall that Schenk pushed local legislators to change the state regulations that prevented him from purchasing chicken for American Flatbread and the Lareau Farm Inn from his neighbor and farmer, Hadley Gaylord. (And the chicken could cross the road!)


Change happens when people push the envelope and Schenk is pushing it again. Many of our existing regulations are based on old think -- when water and wastewater were not considered part of our footprint on the land. Some were developed years ago before the full impact of how we use our resources was known. Sch