Open Collective
Open Collective

Ben & bEartha: A Community's Compost Love Story (FUNDED!)

Part of: Happen Films
Fiscal Host: Gift Collective

A 40-minute documentary about a compost nerd, a group of compost heroes, and a machine that's about to revolutionise regional composting.


This film is now available to download from Vimeo! You can also purchase a screening licence and share it with your community. Find out more here.

About the film

Composting food scraps seems like such a small and simple act, but it’s one of many crucial solutions to addressing climate change, reducing waste, and creating a regenerative food system. In this film we get to know Ben – compost nerd, compost educator, instigator of his local Compost Club, and creator of bEartha, the machine that’s about to revolutionise regional composting.

Check out the official film trailer below.

Why this film? 

The enormous amounts of food waste being dumped in the world’s many many landfills day after day is a huge contributor to climate change – the methane generated from its anaerobic decomposition is a potent greenhouse gas.
Right now, governments are making decisions about the future of food waste. Generally the proposed solutions tend to be large-scale, centralised, and wasteful in themselves. We feel passionate about empowering communities to provide these solutions instead, in a way that values compost as a precious resource, creates and strengthens social connections, provides meaningful work, and operates within a circular economy model.

This film explores these solutions and highlight the wide-ranging benefits to communities, in order to contribute to the discussion on how we tackle food waste globally.

What's the story? 

“I don't want to see food waste go into the landfill when we can actually create soil from it.”
– Ben Bushell, Community Compost

The story follows the highs and lows for Ben and his team as they develop and install bEartha, a composting machine that they hope will provide a replicable model for communities. Woven throughout this journey is the story of the Compost Club, a small-scale, volunteer-based composting initiative, and the development of a small urban farm alongside.
We also explore: 
* what it's taken to set up a community composting space and a food waste collection scheme,
* the development from scratch, with lots of trial and error, of a large-scale composting machine, 
* the challenges in obtaining funding, 
* why community composting education and facilities are so important, 
* What makes Ben tick! Why he’s so passionate about this project, what drives him, and how he’s supported by family and community (spoiler alert: he’s the sweetest guy!).

Production & budget deets

Production details
Filming was undertake from June 2022 to May 2023 because we followed the process of bEartha's installation. We were editing from soon after filming began, so it was an unusual process for us in this case – we loved it!

Production – director, producer, writers, sound recordist: $26,358 NZD.
Post-production – transcription services, editor, colourist, royalty-free music, sound mixer, post-production management, poster art: $16,677 NZD.
Production overheads – travel, food, insurance, gear hire, contingency: $2,010 NZD.
Total: $45,145

Whakatū Nelson, Aotearoa New Zealand.

A premiere was held in Whakatū Nelson on 27 May. Since then the film has been available as a private download via Vimeo or for public screening with a license. In late 2023 it will be uploaded to the Happen Films YouTube channel and website for viewing free to all.


Become a financial contributor.

Financial Contributions


Make a one-time contribution of the amount of your choice to the production costs of this film. This option doesn't have a reward connected to it ... Read more

$45,144.23 NZD of $45,144.23 NZD raised (100%)

Latest activity by

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Ben & bEartha: A Community's Compost Love Story (FUNDED!) is all of us

Our contributors 152

Thank you for supporting Ben & bEartha: A Community's Compost Love Story (FUNDED!).

Happen Funds


$37,500 NZD

Eth Fish


$2,290 NZD

Quatro Trust


$1,000 NZD



$500 NZD

David Appleby


$500 NZD

Anna Urwin


$500 NZD



$500 NZD


Private Compost Club Consul...

$250 NZD


Private Compost Club Consul...

$250 NZD

Jessica Petersen


$200 NZD



$180 NZD

Lee Munnerley


$150 NZD


Transparent and open finances.

Contribution #739872
Contribution #667618
Contribution #654630
Today’s balance

--.-- NZD

Total raised

$47,535.91 NZD

Total disbursed

$47,535.91 NZD

Estimated annual budget

$8,459.17 NZD


Let’s get the ball rolling!

News from Ben & bEartha: A Community's Compost Love Story (FUNDED!)

Updates on our activities and progress.

Ben & bEartha (previously titled The Compost Solution)

Contribute to Ben & bEartha: A Community's Compost Love Story (FUNDED!) to see this Update
Published on April 17, 2023 by Happen Films Ltd