Here is the final installation of the interview with Jack Chambers. I just want to take the opportunity to once again thank Jack for taking so much time out of his busy schedule to bring us all these great answers! I highly recommend that you visit his site (and bookmark it while you are at it) and keep tabs on what he is doing this year. Sounds like he has some exciting plans.
What sort of advice might you offer someone thinking about getting
into the worm farming / vermicomposting business?
JC – A couple of things come to mind. First, I would ‘encourage them
greatly’. Anyone that has an interest in worms should follow where
the trail leads; even if the trail comes to a fork in the road – take
it. I believe, more than ever, that worms and what they do are
important. From a small worm bin, to larger systems like we have;
worms do good things. I have seen with my own eyes the powerful
growth effects of worm castings. Gardens, vines, roses, houseplants
all grow better with worm castings, or vermicompost. In the past five
years I have also watched great things happen by using vermicompost
tea. Our vineyard has been fertigated and sprayed with vermicompost
tea. The results have been excellent.
I think the vermicompost world right now is sort of like the computer
industry was 30 years ago. I remember walking into a computer store
in 1978 and seeing an Apple computer and going ‘wow’. Think of what
an Apple II computer could do then, and compare that to what
computers do now.
I think we will see developments of a similar vein with the use of
vermicompost and vermicompost teas. One example would be in the
vineyard world. We could use vermicompost tea instead of sulpher on
vines to control powdery mildew. You can enhance the microbial world
on the grape leaves, instead of blowing a cloud of sulpher at the
problem. You will find vermicompost being added to soil blends, in
very small amounts, and seeing large increases in plant growth, plant
yields, and flower production. As an added benefit, you will see
improved soils, better water holding capacity, less erosion.
It is an idea who’s time has come. Now all we need is some capitol to
make it a larger reality. Just as the computer industry grew, the
vermicomposting world will grow.
Are you involved in any interesting exciting projects/studies these
days? (anything new and exciting on the business front in general?)
JC – Yes we are! The metal for our 4th reactor has just arrived, and we
will be setting that up this next month. We are adding an automated
feeder to help us increase our efficiency. I have just finished our
website, www.sonomavalleyworms.com. I will be adding a pod cast to
the website soon and will also be adding an internet store. I really
think this will be a break out year for us.
Over the past several years I have felt that the worm business really
needs to grow. I have a model that I think would translate into a
much bigger size. We know how to make world class vermicompost on a
small scale. What we have done with 3 reactors could be expanded to
30, or 300; it is just a matter of scale. I would like to be a part
of something like that. It has been a very interesting journey up to
now. I am excited and positive about what the future holds for me and
our little worm farm. I am even more excited for the future of the
worm industry as a whole.
Once again, be sure to check out Sonoma Valley Worm Farm to learn more about Jack’s vermicomposting operation.
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