The RUNRES project: Establishing a nutrient loop to improve city region food system resilience


  • ChrisBuckley
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  • Chris Buckley is a chemical engineer and has been a member of the Pollution Research Group for over 40 years.
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The RUNRES project: Establishing a nutrient loop to improve city region food system resilience

RunRes is a project aiming for poverty alleviation through establishing nutrient loops to improve city region food system resilience.

It is based in Ethiopia, Rwanda, the DRC and South Africa. The project Leader is Prof Johan Six, Professor for Sustainable Agroecosystems, ETH Zürich. The funding is from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). It has recently been launched in Rwanda, DRC and South Africa.

For a short introduction to the project and the partners visit

Chris Buckley
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  • canaday
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Re: The RUNRES project: Establishing a nutrient loop to improve city region food system resilience

Dear Chris,

Thanks for sharing information with us about this very important project.

In addition to "making fertilizers" with urine and feces, I would like to suggest that much of the urine can be recycled unprocessed in urban agriculture, especially via exhuberant tropical plants, like banana plants. Based on G. Sridevi's application of 63 liters of human urine to each banana plant, I would propose linking the urinal for each person to a set of 6 banana plants, via a perforated hose buried 10 cm below the surface of the soil. One part of the puzzle could be the adaptation of banana plants to tubs made from old tires on the terrace of the roof.

Please let me know if I can be of any help on this.

Best wishes,
Chris Canaday

Comment by moderator: The discussion about unprocessed urine use as fertiliser continued here:
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Omaere Ethnobotanical Park
Puyo, Pastaza, Ecuador, South America
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  • hajo
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Re: The RUNRES project: Establishing a nutrient loop to improve city region food system resilience

Hello Chris Buckley and Johan,

thank you for putting this information on the forum. Here the forum really proves its value, otherwise we would never have learned that you work here in Rwanda on a similar approach of closing the loop between sanitation and agriculture/nutrition. I know this is not your only focus but it is the one where we can interlink.

Who is 'we'? We are WASAC (Water and Sanitation Corporation) responsible in Rwanda for water and sanitation services, and specifically the SPIU (Single Project Implementation Unit) which is currently implementing a donor funded (loan + grant) water & sanitation program in Kigali, in six satellite cities and in eight rural areas. As part of the program we are just discussing the piloting of vermi-culture as a way of making sanitation more sustainable by closing the loop between sanitation and agriculture bringing the processed solids and the treated effluent back onto the fields instead of flushing them into rivers and lakes (more untreated than treated).

Please have a look at the thread where we discuss operational and technical details of our endeavors. We had already a first meeting with reps of RUNRES at the WASAC office yesterday (04.10.19) and hope for more collaboration while we both implement our programs.

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  • Elisabeth
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Re: The RUNRES project: Establishing a nutrient loop to improve city region food system resilience

This is the website for the project that Chris Buckley introduced on the Forum:

Funny how such project websites are often light in detail on these important facts: Who is funding it, for how long and with how much. (or perhaps I just didn't look right).

I found this information here:

The Rural-Urban Nexus: Establishing a Nutrient Loop to Improve City Region Food System Resilience (RUNRES) project is funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation’s Global Programme Food Security for an eight-year period. Professor Johan Six of ETH Zürich leads the project, together with UKZN, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture in Bukavu in the DRC and Kigali in Rwanda, and Ethiopia’s Arba Minch University.

8 years! Nice!

I've also added it to the SuSanA project database:

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