Back before Christmas 2006 I contacted Ray Cooper and Gerrie Baker, owners of “The Worm Factory”, to inquire about the possibility of doing some sort of interview with them. I have ordered red wiggler worms from them in the past and was interested to learn a little more about their business, and thought it might make for an interesting blog post.
Both of them were very friendly, and seemed more than happy to take part – In fact I DID manage to conduct the interview with Gerrie via email a short time thereafter. Unfortunately I proceeded to let things fall by the wayside from there.
I figured with the launch of this new worm composting site, what better time to publish the interview? Gerrie kindly took the time to answer all my questions, so the least I can do was share it with our readers!
Without further ado:
BC – How did you first get into the worm farming business and for how long have you been involved?
GB – We have been at it for a number of years and as necessity is the mother of invention we decided to make our own soil with the help of the worms to become completely sustainable.
BC – Is The Worm Factory a full-time business? How many employees (if any) do you have?
GB – It is a full time mom and pop shop with wwoofers (willing workers on organic farms) lending a hand when they visit our farm.
BC – What do you enjoy most about the business? What are some negatives?
GB – We enjoy the knowledge, rewards and the joy of teaching this wisdom to others. The only negative is that it is quite time consuming with little financial rewards and there are always so many jobs requiring our hands on an organic farm.
BC – What kind of worms do you breed/sell? Do you sell compost as well? (what do you do with it if not)
GB – We breed eisenia foetida or red wrigglers and full indoor mini worm factory kits. We keep the castings for our own growing purposes in the greenhouse and the market gardens.
BC – If you had to ‘guesstimate’, approximately how many worms would you say you have on the farm these days?
GB – There are millions of worms in various stages in many beds inside and outdoors.
BC – What do you feed your current worm herd? (and where do you get it?)
GB – We feed what they love best, animal manure and green garbage. We generate it from our own animals and also get some from a neighbour who has an organic dairy.
BC – Do you have indoor facilities for your worms during the winter months, or have you perfected the secret of outdoor winter vermicomposting?
GB – We let the outdoor beds go natural in winter and keep a good stock over the
winter inside the greenhouse.
BC – Would you say there is an increased public interest/awareness re: worm composting than say 10 years ago? Any ideas why?
GB – There is definitely an increase due to the growing concern for the environment in particular the extensive abuse of agricultural land with chemical fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides and fungicides all which kill worms.
BC – Is there anything new and exciting you’d like to mention about your business? Anything else you’d like to share?
GB – Everyone can easily and responsibly compost all their own green garbage and never have to purchase potting soil or fertilizer again! This is one of the kindest things you can do for the environment giving all this good nutrient back
to the plants and at the same time saving millions of dollars in waste disposal as I have heard that as much as 78% of garbage is organic compostable material.
Thanks very much to Gerrie for taking the time to answer my questions!
The Worm Factory, located in Westport Ontario, sells full vermicomposting kits, red wiggler composting (and bait) worms, along with a wide assortment of worm-related books.
Also be sure to check out Ray and Gerrie’s Herbs and Berries, where you can learn more about their organic farm.
[UPDATE 2018: Links in this post were no longer working so they were removed. Last contact I had with Gerrie was in 2013 – it sounded as though she was looking for people to take over the business since it was getting too much for her to manage.]