David Lee Hoffman has spent 50 years building a composting compound where waste – whether from the toilet or kitchen – is cleaned by worms and reused in the garden. Water flows through moats and even a boat (which hides a 30-foot column that taps into groundwater), and everything is powered by solar.
source/image: Kirsten Dirksen
Most of Hoffman’s system isn’t legal, according to his local county (Marin, California), and Hoffman has spent decades fighting the local government.
For Hoffman, “water is life,” not just because he wants clean water to grow his own food but also to create the teas (the Phoenix collection of rare, artisanal teas) that help support his lifestyle (he opens up his property every Saturday for tea tasting). He doesn’t believe in waste “until it’s wasted” and lives by the principles: “Water is precious, soil is sacred, shit is a resource.”
His bedroom is a shack the size of a bed built from wood salvaged from a pencil factory. He has plans to place it directly on top of a tea fermentation room to capture the waste heat via piping to warm up his bedroom./Kirsten Dirksen