A worm-friend recently referred me to a website called “Nature’s Little Recyclers” (NLR), the online platform for a Chicago-based business of the same name.
NLR was started by Ed Hubbard in 2012. In a “Chicago Now” article (written by Hubbard), he described his initial motivation in the following way:
“I was burned out and a wreck, after serving as a tech entrepreneur, priest and religious educator as my core profession for the last 22 years. While rewarding, allowing me to meet great and unique people, to share information on a global basis, it did not meet my inner need to create a something organically meaningful.” … “For me, working in growing things and creating soil was the best thing I could do to renew myself.”
Here is a link to the original article (from last fall): “How Nature’s Little Recyclers came to The Plant and gave Birth to Green Tech Chicago”
There are quite a few intriguing aspects of the NLR story, but what I wanted to talk about today is Ed’s hilarious “Will They Eat It?” project. The idea is simple – basically “let’s see what Red Worms will and won’t eat”. As you might guess, Ed kinda takes this to the extreme.
But the results are pretty surprising!
I’ve included 3 of his before/after videos below (ALL examples of foods the worms did in fact eat). The full series can be accessed from the NLR Video Page.
Among the other strange things successfully vermicomposted: cheese puffs, hardboiled eggs, sandwiches, and fortune cookies!
Interestingly enough, Ed’s worms DIDN’T seem interested in wrapping paper!
Obviously (or perhaps not so obviously), the “take away” msg here should NOT be – “dump loads of salty, greasy, starchy (etc) wastes into your worm bins!”, but rather the idea that we don’t always need to obsess about the “rules” of vermicomposting so much. Yes, erring on the side of caution is not a bad idea when just starting out, but don’t let that limit your exploration of vermicomposting once you become a bit more experienced!
As Ed Hubbard clearly demonstrates, vermicomposting should be experimental and FUN!