Guest Post: Vermicomposting at the GCUOF

Image: copyright Nora Camps http://www.duo.ca

A new vermicomposting initiative by the Guelph Worm Composting Network is a fresh example of the collaborative, hands-on  learning happening at the Guelph Centre for Urban Organic Farming this summer.

The Guelph Worm Composting Network is a local group looking to increase collective knowledge about vermicomposting through knowledge sharing and community research projects, and to remove barriers to vermicomposting.

Carolyn Chan, Ingrid Sorenson and Jesse Agar are running an experimental vermi-trench at the Guelph Centre for Urban Organic Farming this summer. Buckets of food scraps are collected from the UC Level 0 cafeteria and the McLaughlin Library Williams Coffee Pub once a week and carted to the on-campus organic farm, where they are fed to a trench full of red wiggler worms. Vermicomposting trenches are said to be low maintenance, low risk (of nuisances or worm deaths) and unobtrusive relative to other common designs. The group hopes to use the experiences gained this summer to help design and operate future systems. The high-quality compost will be used by the GCUOF to grow food, and the worms can be used to start new vermicomposting systems.

300 lbs of kitchen scraps have been diverted from the landfill so far (from May 1- July 3), but kitchen staff estimate that during the school year this quantity of compostable waste is generated and landfilled every day. GWCN is hoping to expand its pickups in the coming months with the help of new volunteers.

The group is also running a decentralized breeding project over the summer, where members start indoor systems with relatively small numbers of worms and measure the increase in population over time.

For more information on the Guelph Worm Composting Network contact guelphwormnetwork@gmail.com or visit  http://guelphwormnetwork.wordpress.com

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