Ladies of Manure: Calendar girls get down and dirty for charity
Month by month, scantily clad women pose in and around piles of poop to highlight the benefits of composting in a calendar being sold to benefit the Fertile Earth Foundation.
01/23/2013 4:32 PM
01/23/2013 8:49 PM
Ms. April is a smiling blonde with slender legs that end in three-inch heels.
A typical calendar girl, except for one thing: She is covered in poop.
Fish poop, to be exact.
The coquettish model is just one of the 12 “Ladies of Manure” — barely clad local gals willing to pose in and around the most unlikely of plops . . . er, props.
But it’s a calendar with a cause, a scatological celebration of the environmental benefits of composting.
“The whole point of this is to make it less disgusting. If this hot chick doesn’t mind smearing fish poop all over her, maybe it’s not that bad,” said Lanette Sobel, who started the Fertile Earth Foundation, the South Beach-based nonprofit organization behind the calendar. “It’s a resource; it’s not waste.”
Sobel, 34, dreamed up the project to get other people to think about organic waste as much as she does.
The result is a pictorial calendar that’s meant to encourage urbanites to start composting their waste — veggie peels, fruit rinds and even feces (animal and human) — into fertile, black soil.
For $25 online — or a $20 donation at a fundraiser Friday at Cafeina Wynwood Lounge — you can own a 12-month calendar that features the semi-naked manure babes.
The pictorials are equal parts bombshell glam and bathroom humor.
In the calendar, a long-haired brunette poses on a commode with pink lace panties stretched across her booted ankles. Another lies on grass, cupping her breasts while worms crawl through a patch of inky dirt piled over her nether regions. Still another crouches near a banana tree, her outstretched arms covering her bare chest as she lifts rotting fruit peels.
Each photo is accompanied by a brief biography of the featured girl. All of the models were chosen because of their work on environmental issues.
The photos were snapped around Miami-Dade County: at the outdoor composting latrine at Earth-N-Us Farm in Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood; at Fertile Earth’s Homestead-area farm, where the organization is growing veggies and medicinal herbs fertilized by worm poop and compost; and at a South Miami-Dade fish farm.
Before she was a Lady of Manure, Sobel was better known as the Lady of Earthworms. She sells red wigglers (and the excrement they produce) through an online store and out of her South Beach apartment to people who use them to compost waste.
She also travels to schools around the county to teach kids about how worms turn organic garbage into dirt, hosts workshops about how to use the creatures for composting, and runs the South Miami-Dade earthworm farm.
“Worm poop is awesome,” said Julia Poliadis, 28, of North Bay Village, who posed for the calendar Lady Godiva-like atop a pooping horse, wearing nothing but a yellow flower tucked behind her ear.
Fertile Earth is funded mostly through its worm sales, with a few out-of-the ordinary fundraisers — like the poop calendar. The group’s last fundraiser was a cook-off to bring attention to invasive, non-native species in South Florida. The winning dish consisted of python chili, wild boar sliders and snakehead fish slaw.
“What I like about Fertile Earth is that it’s about awareness and education . . . and the other part is actually doing something about it,” said 28-year-old Priscilla Carolyn, who lives in Miami Beach’s North Beach. “It’s like, ‘Invasive species are an issue, so let’s cook them!’ ”
Sobel was inspired to start the nonprofit agency four years ago after dumpster diving in Miami Beach’s hotel garbage bins. She suited up and dove in for a project she worked on as a visiting researcher at Florida Atlantic University.
“We were doing waste audits from the hotels, and we saw a massive of organic waste coming out of these hotels,” Sobel said.
The garbage bins were full of food-preparation waste from hotel restaurants, grass clippings from landscape work, day-old bagels and croissants, and even a like-new pineapple, she remembered.
“When we looked into what to do with organics, there were no options in the county except landfills. And then, when I started looking into it, realized how detrimental landfills are,” Sobel said.
That’s when she turned to composting and created Fertile Earth, which she runs out of her apartment and now has a faithful core of about eight members.
“Our objective is not to reach the fellow tree huggers. Our objective is to reach the masses,” Sobel said.
Carolyn — who works as a massage therapist at a swanky Beach hotel — hopes to encourage people to take a more-natural approach, even in a city known more for glitz than muck.
“We’re 2013, poop-loving hippies who live in Miami Beach, the capital of fake boobs,” she said.
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