The Fertile Earth Foundation has released what is possibly the strangest calendar of 2013: called "Ladies of Manure," it features models clad mostly in various forms of poop. The goal: to demystify defecation, encourage composting, and tell a story about manure and its importance.
Lanette Sobel, executive director of Fertile Earth, says the models — most of whom were already volunteers with the organization — were surprisingly chill about the whole thing. "I never thought it would be so easy to get girls naked and then so easy to get them covered in poop," she said.
One model (above) was initially concerned about smearing her nearly naked body with fish poop. But when she saw that it was odorless and looked more like mud than feces, she got right in it.
The other major form of manure featured in the calendar was worm poop. The model above is wearing a piece of Saran Wrap on her crotch to protect her from unwanted intrusions, says Sobel.
The idea for the calendar came about during a Fertile Earth workshop, where Sobel drew a simple picture of a pile of manure on top of a toilet and proclaimed, "I love poop." Another attendee chimed in, "I wish more people could say, 'I love poop.'" She ended up on the cover of the calendar.
Pooping is "something we do every single day," says Sobel, "and the way we treat it and process it ends up being really harmful. What we should do is use it. [...] The poop is fertilizer."
She's aware that some people may be put off by the images, but she's unconcerned. "The whole idea is to get people to think," she says. "Whether they're disgusted or supportive, it's fine either way."
And while men have been excited about the calendar (one male commenter apparently opined on Fertile Earth's Facebook page, "fish poop doesn't look so bad anymore"), some of its biggest supporters have been women. A big chunk of the money for the project — funded via Kickstarter — came from a woman in Texas.
Each page in the calendar, which officially comes out January 18, also has an explanation of the image and the type of manure used. "We want to be a gateway," says Sobel, "a gateway to open people's minds."