- Nuts: chestnuts, hazelnuts
- Vegetables: sweet corn
- Additional Plants: trees
- Crop Production: fertigation, fertilizers, nurseries, nutrient cycling, nutrient management
- Education and Training: participatory research
- Soil Management: composting
Developments in research and technology are improving the scalability of urine fertilization in the Northeast, creating opportunities for new farms to implement urine fertilization as a sustainable agricultural practice. Demonstrating the effect of urine fertilizer and appropriate application methods for a variety of crops will enable more farmers to adopt this practice.
Our objectives are to:
- Scale up and streamline fertilization and application methods for several new crops by conducting side-by-side experiments comparing urine-derived fertilizer to typically-used fertilizer for each crop and documenting farmer experiences and plant responses, including soil and crop analyses as requested by farmers.
- Understand the perspectives of potential wholesale buyers and consumers of crops grown using urine fertilizer to inform educational and marketing strategies.
- Develop a guide for farm application, including documentation and key findings from Objectives 1 and 2.
To accomplish this, we will conduct drip fertigation trials as well as collaborative field trials on sweet corn and nursery trees; conduct interviews and facilitate dialogue groups with wholesale buyers and consumers; and collaborate with farmers to create an application guide, featuring information about urine nutrient content, application methods for different crops, legal sanitation methods, buyer and consumer perspectives, and case profiles of Rich Earth farm partners.
Outreach will include a farm field day to facilitate farmer-to-farmer knowledge exchange and introduce the application guide. We will further disseminate the guide through Rich Earth’s newsletter and social media networks, regional farmer networks, distributing print copies to farmers, creating accompanying digital media, and presenting at regional conferences.
Project objectives from proposal:
This project seeks to demonstrate the effect of urine-derived fertilizer on a variety of crops, while further honing application methods and fertilizer formulations chosen to meet plant needs while minimizing harmful nutrient migration into the wider environment.
Objective 1: Scale up and refine fertilization and application methods for several new crops, including urine-derived fertilizer type and application methods. Conduct side-by-side demonstrations, comparing urine-derived fertilizer to typically-used fertilizer for each crop. Document farmer experiences and plant response, including soil and crop analyses as requested by farmers.
Objective 2: Understand perspectives of potential wholesale buyers and consumers of produce grown using urine-derived fertilizer, to inform educational and marketing strategies for farmers.
Objective 3: Develop a guide for farm application, including key findings from Objectives 1 and 2 as well as past field trials and social research.
Documenting the impact of urine fertilizer and effective application methods for a variety of crops will enable more farmers to become familiar with and adopt this practice. Farmers will benefit from an increased ability to effectively utilize a low-cost and sustainable source of nitrogen fertilizer. Farmers will also better understand concerns of wholesale buyers and direct market customers, which will inform educational and marketing strategies.