Man Creates Mountains of Compost From Dublin's Waste—plus a Storyteller's Perspective on Immigration

Video screen capture. Perennial Plate

"Hidden behind the the cobbled streets of Dublin, through a gate and up a hill, lies a mountain... of compost. Enter the world of Tony Lowth.

That's how the film makers and storytellers of The Perennial Plate introduce us to episode 162. In it, we see the how Tony—a Dubliner who describes himself as formerly broken and destitute—has transformed an abandoned parking lot into an incredible urban garden.

But that's not his only gift to the city. Tony also makes regular rounds of the city's markets, stables, stores and coffee shops. On these missions he collects food waste, coffee grounds and horse manure which he builds into gigantic mountains (he is not exaggerating) of compost that feeds the garden.

"I'm only giving back what I got from people, and I enjoy doing it," he says. I am certain they are grateful.

For those not familiar with The Perennial Plate, Daniel and Mirra have been producing incredible films on the nexus between food, sustainability and human culture. I first came across them due to a beautiful video about eating roadkill in Minnesota, and I've been hooked ever since.

They're now turning their sights to a different element of sustainable food culture: how we relate to and think about the people who grow our food. Specifically, they're crowdfunding a documentary series on immigration stories, in which they'll introduce us to the family table of immigrant farm workers around the country. Obviously, this is a hot political topic at the moment—but the goal is not to perpetuate partisan divides, says Daniel. Instead, the project will use micro-targeting to present its stories to audiences who might not otherwise hear them.

Check it out, and support it if you can. If we're truly going to build a sustainable food movement, then seeing, understanding and empathizing with the people who grow our food is going to have to be a prerequisite. And I can think of no better filmmakers to help us do exactly that.