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Cash in your wormy wrigglers

by Archives January 17, 2007

Sluggish or dying worms, smelly compost bins and hovering fruit flies are some of the factors that could turn people off vermicomposting. Aiming to educate people about how helpful this type of composting can be, R4 Concordia (Reduce, Reuse, Rethink and Recycle) set out to demystify the art of cultivating worms at a workshop last Friday.

Karin Baldunas, 60, and her husband were at the tutorial and said they picked up some tips and tricks they would have liked to have known the first time they attempted vermicomposting. “We had the worms before, but we put too much food in and on top of that I had too many fruit flies, so we put it outside and they died over the winter,” said Baldunas. “And I was going to start up again except the price was exorbitant to buy worms online. like $40.”

They saw the R4’s announcement and were impressed by Concordia’ s fair deals in the worm market. “I’m willing to pay $25 [for a pound of worms]. We’re trying again.” They bought one of the at-home vermicomposting kits.

“You can over-feed [the worms], which is what I think I was doing. I didn’t have the answer for the fruit flies, but I got that here today too,” continued Baldunas. “Cover the worms and cover the food, make sure air doesn’t get at it. And you can also put a cone outside of the tub to attract the fruit flies and capture them as they come out of the bin.”

The crowd watched a half-hour presentation by one of R4’s volunteers on how to take care of their worms. According to R4, worm composting is able to break down a greater amount of waste than regular composting systems thanks to the hard working Eisinia Foetida, or red wrigglers, who live in the rich earth and digest carbon and nitrogen rich foods.

Stephanie McCarrol volunteers as a Worm Composting Education Ambassador. She began helping out at the greenhouse because she wanted to make a difference in the environmental habits of students – something studying classical history did not allow her to do. “It’s kind of a moral thing,” said McCarrol.

Chelsea Lunan is trying out vermicomposting to make up for previous negligence towards the environment. “I’m in an environmental ethics course and we’re touching on. . . composting and things like that. I’m an environmentally-friendly person and I haven’t done enough composting,” said Lunan. “I’m somebody that wasn’t that interested in environmental stuff and over the past year or so it’s made me into a bit of an eco-freak.”

“I was a little bit unsure about [vermicomposting] at first. I had the misconceptions that it would be smelly and gross. . . but the more that I’ve gotten educated through Concordia I’ve realized that it’s pretty clean,” concluded Lunan.

R4 Concordia also launching the Worm Swap program, allowing students to sell back their worms to R4, earning $10 for half a pound worms and $20 for a pound of worms.

More info at http://R4.concordia.ca

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