a boots-on-the-ground view of the change that's a-foot

By Tao Oliveto, Carrboro, NC

Here at our co-housing community, we’ve got people who willingly share their knowledge and skills, whether it is growing vegetables, managing outdoor compost piles, hosting honey bee colonies, tending butterflies or watching over chickens. So I wasn’t surprised when I was invited to attend a day of worm wrangling – learning how to house and feed your very own composting “wigglers”. All I needed was a tub with a lid and some compost scraps – redworms and snacks provided – gummy worms, of course. Here’s Susan rounding up a few.

Vermicomposting (using worms to decompose food waste offers many advantages – it turns kitchen waste into nutritious soil for plants, decreases waste collection. It’s surprising low maintenance and produces less odor than traditional composting. Each person produceds approximately 2 – 3 pounds of food scraps per week. One pound of worms will eat about 4 pounds of scraps per week. A 2 x 3-foot box is suitable for 4 – 6 people and they will live happily contained in any convenient space in your home, basement or garage.

Large scale worm farms, currently at work in Hong Kong, are part of a initiative to deal with the growing amount of waste and the equally growing shortage of landfill space in many areas throughout the world. You can watch the worms at work and hear from a worm “farmer” here. Or, find your way into the world of worm wrangling here.

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