Reflections of a composter

Melinda Jane.

In this week’s Compost Conversation, the team from YIMBY (Yes In My Back Yard) bid farewell to their very first YIMBY composter.

Melinda Jane took a leap of faith and joined YIMBY at the beginning of 2021. During this time, 2834 kgs of food scraps were processed in her backyard. She collected 919 buckets from her neighbours over this time!

We asked Melinda Jane to reflect on her experience as a YIMBY composter:

“I will really miss the compost; it’s been a significant part of building a reasonable scale food garden in my backyard. I will miss creating soil and the reciprocity of it all. It was a lot of physical work, but I loved the making, the observing, the spreading in the garden, the deep, earthy smells of the plants being nourished.

It’s not just me in the garden. When I’ve put all the compost layers together…there’s all the other beings doing their stuff, breaking it down, creating the heat, making magic happen – it blows my mind!

One of the things that YIMBY gave me was to become a significant part of the cycle of my garden. I enjoyed the rhythm of making compost, which then has become the rich, living soil of my garden.

The wonder of the compost making process is incredible, it’s been such a privilege to be part of this ‘world’, this was my impetus for being part of YIMBY, and it’s the bit I have enjoyed the most. It’s become a significant part of my relationship to my own garden and to the natural world; deepening my connection to the cycles of life, it’s fed my creativity and nurtured my wellbeing.

I also love being purposeful in this way. Most people have been so grateful, to have somewhere useful to put their food scraps; to feel part of something in our town. I’m very glad I could help out; to contribute to the community by taking action in this way.

YIMBY has given me an opportunity to do something against the ‘norm’, not everyone is in a position to do it, it’s felt very empowering to be doing something that is actually quite simple, but in effect radical, it’s backyard activism and it feels good.

It’s amazing to feel like you’re a part of the cycles of the earth. I’ve felt a growing intimacy with the natural exchanges and relationships in my garden, it really has had a psychological impact on the way I am in the world. Sure, it can be smelly and messy, but that’s just for a moment, it’s all part of the richness and complexity of companioning the earth and all the life it supports.”

– Melinda Jane is a visual artist and creative arts therapist and was YIMBY’s very first composter from August 2021 to Jan 2024 when she handed the baton over to Sarah due to temporary physical incapacity. She remains part of the YIMBY community.