Vermicomposting Toronto (Finalist)

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Community Rating

7.72131
Rating: 
7.72131

Vermicomposting Toronto is a plan to install environmentally sustainable vermicomposting systems for processing pre-consumer organic waste produced in community organizations. Vermicomposters and organic collection services will be maintained by organization's clients. This will provide a beneficial and stimulating activity for clients as well as providing a revenue-stream for the organization.

Contestant organization: 
Green Connections
Venture partners: 

Cathy's Crawly Composters, Common Ground Co-operative Inc.

Describe your venture: 

Vermicomposting Toronto is a plan to install environmentally sustainable vermicomposting systems for processing pre-consumer organic waste produced in community organizations. Vermicomposters and organic collection services will be maintained by organization's clients. This will provide a beneficial and stimulating activity for clients as well as providing a revenue-stream for the organization.

Insulated vermicomposting (worm composting) systems can digest tonnes of organic waste and turn it into nutrient rich Worm Casting compost. The finished product (Worm Castings) has a high commercial and environmental value and can constitute a new profit stream by the participating community organizations.

This system has already been successfully installed in one local community organization (Coffee Shed – Surrey Place, Toronto: see video link below) and we would like to expand it across the GTA.

The insulated design of the Vermicomposter means the system will continue to operate outdoors, year round. This is a proven design that will expand as needs grow. Similar units have been in operation for a number of years in Toronto, Nova Scotia and Michigan. The vermicomposter will be able to process most of the pre-consumer food scraps produced in the kitchen, cafeteria or coffee stations. This system will also be expandable. When more organics are produced, the number of worms will increase to match the increased food source.

The system is an above ground, wooden structure measuring 12’x4’x3’ (Please see sample pictures below). This unit will has an area of 48 square feet and would accommodate up to 50,000 Red Wiggler worms. The worm bin would be insulated in the walls and lid with Styrofoam insulation allowing the worm bin to stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

The final product in the vermicomposting process is worm castings (castings is the polite term for worm poo). These castings are nutrient rich and are one of nature's finest soil additives. Valued by gardeners and farmers alike for its incredible effect on plant growth and health.

Worm Castings can be screened and sold in bulk or formed into “Poo Balls” and sold by the dozen. Worm Castings are an environmentally friendly choice for fund-raising programs. A product that is not only environmentally friendly but continually reproducing at no extra cost.

Emissions reduction potential: 

Red Wiggler worms eat approximately half their weight in food scraps daily. Because of their incredible appetite Red Wigglers are valued for their ability to convert vast amounts of organic waste into a nutrient rich organic soil amendment. A worm bin with 50,000 Red Wigglers will process 25 pounds of organic waste daily. That's over 9,000 pounds of organic waste that doesn't have to be shipped across the province each year! Instead of rotting in the landfill, off-gassing methane and other greenhouse gases,  the organics are processed at source responsibly.

On-site management of organics reduces the number of trucks collecting organic waste on Toronto streets.

The team: 

Cathy Nesbitt: Chair of Green Connections, Worm Advocate and founder of Cathy's Crawly Composters.

Cathy's Crawly Composters (est. 2002) is an environmental business specializing in Vermicomposting and organic diversion. Through inspirational story telling and an incredible sense of humour, Cathy has raised the level of awareness about sustainable living. Cathy has been acknowledged with several environmental and business awards, and is recognized as one of the country’s foremost vermicomposting experts.

 

Rick Nesbitt: Head Worm Technician – Cathy's Crawly Composters.

With several years experience growing and cultivating worms in GTA, Rick has designed and built vermicomposting systems that will survive a Canadian winter.

 

Seeking collaborators: 
Yes
Potential collaborators should contact : 
Cathy Nesbitt cathy@cathyscomposters.com 1-888-775-9495
How will you ensure your project is self supporting within five years?: 

Once the initial construction and setup of the Vermicomposting system is established there is very little cost to maintaining the system. Sales of the finished product (Worm Castings) will even provide some income moving forward. There is also income potential from tipping fees from collecting organic matter from surrounding facilities.

Staff and clients from the proposed organizations will be trained to care for and maintain the Vermicomposters. Cathy's Crawly Composters will provide support and the “Worm Hot-Line” will be available for assistance and trouble-shooting.

Video: 
How did you hear about ClimateSpark?: 
Received an email to participate

Comments

joanneburgess's picture

Just think of the amount of garbage we would divert from landfill! The avg Canadian produces a tonne of waste each year.  The impact would be huge and in return, the worm produces such a beautiful nitrogen rich fertilizer that could be used by so many residential/commercial organizations.  

The fact that this is already working makes this proposal a no-brainer. VOTE 10!!! Good for you Cathy!

Wormfan's picture

The initial investment in Vermicomposting reaps multiple benefits: the diversion of food waste from landfills lengthens the viable usable life of those landfills so fewer new sites need to be established, allows fewer trucks on the road for transportation of waste poducts, thereby reducing emissions of greenhouse gasses from truck exhaust and the reduction of fossil fuel consumption by those trucks. Also the vermicomposting itself produces valuable compost material--fantastic, effective natural fertilizer, which can be marketed and sold to generate revenue. There is also intrinsic value in providing a means for people to "do their part" for the environment by diverting their compostable food waste from the landfill stream. This is especially true in situations, like office workplaces, where they formerly probably did not have control over how their waste was handled. Finally, as the vermicomposting sites continue to function and thrive, they will produce even more worms which could be used to establish more facilities near to the initial site, or again, could be maketed and sold as a valuable "green" comodity.

 

How could this proposal be improved?: 

Make it bigger! The more sites that are established; the more the above benefits can be realized.

080808's picture

This can be implement on a citywide scale

How could this proposal be improved?: 

A system like the "blue box" could be set up through the municipalities.

ebrian's picture

What are the initial fees on getting / building one of these boxes?

WormGirl's picture

Regarding initial fees for building one of the Vermicomposters please see the reply to mpickering below.

jackofallshades's picture

Cathy, congratulations on such a wonderful idea and implementation strategy.  I know you will make a world of difference in TO!!

Rebl's picture

We all need to take stock of where our waste is going and protect our planet. This is an important step forward in reducing our trash. Let's get the votes in for this composting project!!!

 

 

YUF CSA's picture

We are huge fans of worm composting and believe it to be a great way to create organic matter to add to urban gardens. I'm curious to hear what your payback period is for these units is. I'm thinking that if you can shorten the payback period, your clients can reinvest the savings into building additional bins and thus multiplying the emissions reduction potential. 

YUF CSA's picture

I think the biggest strength and value of the proposal is the experience and expertise Cathy brings to the project. There are lots of existing worm composter designs and systems in place and even several DIY kits and templates available online.

Perhaps a training video, ongoing support, and worm bin checksups could be used as complimentary and/or value added services to ensure the project is self supporting (if it isn't already).  

MRBTravels's picture

It's wonderful that you've been selected as a finalist.  The education that you will be providing will expand and benefit so many that are currently unaware of the benefits.

mpickering's picture

Hi Cathy - congrats on being in the top 20! Now we need to get more "down and dirty" regarding how this project will make money and save carbon. Could you please provide more info on:

Business Case: What are the upfront costs for your worm systems per unit and who pays? Are there any periodic maintenance costs? What is the going rate for "poo balls" and what is the expected sales income annually? How would these profits be allocated between your venture group (for expansion costs) and the community group? How would the product be marketed and distributed? Doyou have a list of community groups already keen to participate?

Regulatory: Are their any rules and regs that will impact where you can and can't set up your processors? Any real or perceived issues regarding smell and attracting vermin?

Carbon: what specific waste streams are you thinking of capturing - for these, is the waste you plan to divert now going into landfill, or being collected by the city's green bin program? Have you done any research on how many units of eC02 these organics will produce? If so, please share - this will be a critical evaluation component. Also remember to consider what carbon you may be consuming by transporting and distributing the final worm castings product to end users.

rmacrae's picture

At what level of scaling up might this actually have an impact on the number of trucks on the road picking up organics?  On the regulatory side, I'm not sure you're able to bring in organic waste from offsite to add to the supply for the worms.

WormGirl's picture

Our plan, for now, is to deal with the organic waste produced onsite. I agree, trucking the waste offsite would open up a whole new can of worms on the regulatory side.

WormGirl's picture

Hi Mary,

Sorry for the delay in responding to your questions.

First of all, this is a social endeavour. Our goal is to promote social responsibility and environmental awareness. Although there is a potential for revenue generation, the main goal is to encourage community organizations to be aware of and take responsibility for their waste. A secondary goal is to provide a valuable, self-supporting activity for clients at different community organizations.

 

The upfront costs for this project depend on the size of vermicomposting system and the amount of worms required. For example: 4'x8'x3' (LxWxH) insulated bin would cost approximately $470 in materials and around $800 construction/assembly costs. This size bin could house up to 30 lbs. of worms (1 pound of worms per sq. foot of surface area).  A 4'x12'x3' bin (48 sq. ft) would cost approximately $600 in materials and about the same for construction/assembly.

 

The worms we use are Red Wiggler worms. The going rate for Red Wigglers is $45/lb. in Ontario. The bulk rate is $33.25/lb.

 

Total cost for worms:

            30 pounds (30,000 worms)            $997.50

            48 pounds (48,000 worms)            $1,596.00

 

Costs and Specifications:

 

Red Wiggler Worms             30 pounds                                      $ 997.50

 

Worm Bin Dimensions:            4’x8’x3’

Worm Bin Costs:                     Materials:                                 $ 470

                                            Construction:                             $ 800                                      

Grinder/Processor:*                                                                $ 500 - 750

Instructions/Setup                                                                  $ 200

Setup/Maintenance Visits                                                         $ 400  

Harvest**                                                                                $ 200      

Total:                                                                                 $3,567.50       

 

* To prepare food scraps to feed to the worms, the smaller the pieces, the faster it breaks down, the more the worms can eat is the basic formula. The best method is to grind or chop up the food waste with a grinder or food processor. If an appropriate appliance is already available at the facility to process the food, or if the staff/clients would be willing to process the food manually (with a knife or shovel) then a grinder/processor will not be required.

 

** We suggest weekly maintenance visits for the first month of operation to ensure the vermicomposting system is operating at peak efficiency, monthly inspections as required. In addition, we would recommend training and setup/maintenance visits for the first year and at least one harvest. The harvest entails separating the worms from the castings, placing the worms in new bedding and preparing the castings for sale. After initial training the clients of the partner facilities would take over operations and running of the worm bins, however, Cathy's Crawly Composters would always be available for trouble shooting as well as ongoing advice and support.

 

The total cost for setting up one unit, including training and support would be under $4,000. Once the unit is operational, there should be no further costs.

 

Poo Balls and Packaging

 

At the Surrey Place harvest parties around 500 poo balls were produced and they sold for $2/ball or $30/flat. Additional worm castings were screened and sold in bulk at $2/litre. All of the money from sales of the Poo Balls and castings went to The Coffee Shed at Surrey Place and a portion was used to construct a second worm bin on the premises. We expect all proceeds from the sales of castings and poo balls to go to the host community group. In the past, the packaging for the balls is simply egg cartons. This makes it easy to sell by the dozen/flat. One of our strategies is to use as little packaging as possible. Rather than create more waste with excess packaging, we reduce and reuse whenever possible. Castings are packaged in recycled feedbags (bulk orders) or 2 litre milk and juice cartons.

 

Community Groups

 

In addition to The Coffee Shed, who are looking into expanding their vermicomposting program into different locations, Girls Inc. and the Women’s Centre of York Region have confirmed that they want to support this endeavour. We also have a few other community groups that have expressed interest. We are waiting final confirmation. A number of schools have installed smaller worm bins inside classrooms. We will be approaching schools to see if they would like to expand their Vermicomposting programs. We will also look forward to talking with Climate Spark experts to get input.

 

Regulatory

 

Most of the regulations we are aware of are concerned with the collection and transportation of organics to waste facilities. Since the organics collected will be from the same facility, there will be not be an issue with transportation. We still need to look into this in more depth and are hoping to get some advice and input from the Climate Spark experts.

 

As with any outdoor composting set up attracting vermin is always a consideration. One of the key components of this vermicomposting system is a 1/4” wire mesh across the base of the unit. This will prevent vermin (especially moles which have a great appetite for worms) from burrowing into the composter. An important component for deterring vermin is keeping meat, bones and fat out of the composter.

 

Vermicomposting is ideally done indoors. This would eliminate the potential rodent problem. A worm bin placed in a climate controlled location also takes about the need for an insulated system. We are also seeking organization with indoor space. This would save on materials and remove the weather element from the equation.

 

Vermicomposting is an aerobic process meaning with oxygen. It should never smell like rotting food. If it smells like rotting food, it is rotting food and not composting. This is easily remedied by removing some of the rotting food and aerating the bedding to increase airflow and return conditions to aerobic.

 

Carbon:

Although some facilities are tapped into the green bin program, most business, multi-residential and schools do not have access to the green bin program. The waste from these locations currently goes to landfill. Vermicomposting on-site reduces the need for transportation of materials to a processing plant. Sale of the finished material would likely be on-site.

Rich Whate's picture

Hi Cathy,

I love this idea, and obviously all our Climate Sparkers did too - let's see if we can get you closer to some funding, shall we?

Mary's questions are important ones to answer. Please post them on this page ASAP and we can get our hands dirty with some feedback.  Every detail will help us evaluate proposals.

I have one additional question for now: What's your plan for attracting/engaging users?  Are community and social service agencies a target, or City of Toronto facilities, or anyone with 48 sq ft and enthusiasm? How about schools - any school board partners on board or in your sights?

 

Zell's picture

As a farmer I love finding big worms in the soil. 

It is great that you are working to education kids and communities on how to save waste into wonderful nutrients for worms.

It would be great if EVERY School had a worm composter.

 

How could this proposal be improved?: 

How can you take the terra cycle business model and work to expand that with your product line?

WormGirl's picture

Hi Rich,

Since starting our business, we have made connections with many organizations. We would start with those that we know and move out from there. As for schools, we have installed worm bins in 100s of schools across southern Ontario. Over 50,000 students have been inspired by our vermicomposting presentation "Organic Magic with Worms". Definitely anyone with interest in doing vermicomposting would be a welcome participant. We distribute a tower composter, made in Ontario, called the Worm Chalet. The City of Barrie has 8 of them in various municipal buildings as a demonstration for staff and visitors to show what can be done with organic matter on a small scale.

Chris Allen's picture

I recommend engaging churches, as they are likely to meet your practical criteria of available indoor space + available food scraps + volunteer labour.  They would also be, to varying degrees, open to your green message.  I would begin by enlisting any friends & neighbours who happen to belong to a religious congregation, and have them approach the organization at a regional or national level.  As a proposal partner, Churches have one huge strength: when they believe in something, THEY SPREAD THE WORD.

Great project.  Good luck!

ikaur14's picture

It is really a good idea to use the waste and by vermicompoting it will become an organic to use. It should be adopted by all the society so that every house can utilize their waste for the fertility of the land.

How could this proposal be improved?: 

This process should be followed by all the citizens and moreover there should be small compaigns in schools and colleges  on vermicomposting so that all the students can learn about it and follow the process.

slyder's picture

Composting definitely needs a boost in communities, this is a great idea.

How could this proposal be improved?: 

This proposal has a lot of information on the processes, but hasn't really developed a strategy for implementation. What orgs will sign on? How will you recruit new orgs? etc

mjanes's picture

This project sounds really positive, sounds like any organization with a bit of space and a green stream of organic waste could start raising Red Wigglers!  Great idea!

How could this proposal be improved?: 

I would like to hear more about the specific requirements for keeping a vermicomposter, you mentioned the worms being able to process as much as 25 lb (12 kg) of organic waste daily, what is the low end of the range that is required / ideal? Does the vermicomposter need sun/shade to operate?  Similar to Rich and Mary, I am interested to know more of the specifics of how this program will be delivered and implemented.  I agree that every school should have a vermicomposter - how are you going to get them one?!

WormGirl's picture

One of the biggest challenges with vermicomposting is the worms. There are many misconceptions about worm composting. Ideally, worm composting is done inside (see worm chalet - manufactured in Ontario). This removes the weather element. A worm bin in every class is a wonderful idea, however, if the principal is afraid of worms or is unaware of the benefits, putting worms in that school will be difficult. A worm bin outside is best placed in the shade to reduce the possibility of heating up the bin too much.

http://www.cathyscomposters.com/images/Worm%20chalet%20sml.jpg

bluebird4643's picture

I've had Cathy in my classroom to enthuse my students about the benefits of vermicomposters.  Start with the kids.  They love seeing what happens to the lunch left-overs - 'You mean that's really what's left of my lunch 3 months ago?"

realsobersky's picture

Love that it's very low maintenance and the worms really do feed themselves!

Weakness: Would be difficult to get the municipal government involved.

How could this proposal be improved?: 

To get everyone involved, this proposal would require a change in local bylaws similar to the introduction of the green/blue and black bins.

kthurnau's picture

Very convincing, simple, low tech solution. Could it also be done on an even more local, smaller (possibly household?) level, in which case even more locations/ organisations in the GTA, and even downtown might be interested to get involved (Evergreen Brickworks? Dufferin Grove? Kortright Centre? High Park Nature Centre?).

How could this proposal be improved?: 

Not quite sure if I understood the worm food collecting process. I assume the food for the worms has to meet certain requirements; they cannot simply be fed the regular organic waste. I can image some challenges with quality control.

WormGirl's picture

Worm composting is a solution for everywhere. It is ideally done indoors. No special equipment is required (except for the worms). The worm food consists of pre-consumer food so food preparation rather than plate scrappings. It is all the fruit, vegetables, cooked pasta/rice, bread, beans, grains, paper, etc. It is quite astonishing what the worms will consume. What stays out: no meat, no dairy, no sauce/grease.

What goes in and what stays out is just a matter of education and proper signage/training.

Please visit our website for more information about the Wonder of Worms amd watch Vermicomposting 101 in the top right corner. http://www.cathyscomposters.com/

karencv's picture

This is such a simple, practical way to deal with organic waste issues that just makes so much sense especially since a cold weather home for the worms is part of this proposal. Perfect for our climate and our needs.

WormGirl's picture

Of course vermicomposting can be done on a large scale. There are people/organizations currently working on technology to systematize vermicomposting. We are advocating for small scale on-site management of organic matter. (Whatever that is for an organization or residence) - eg. food scraps, shredded paper, yard waste (grass clipping, leaves), manure, wood shavings, etc.

 

ourgreendirectory's picture

Vermicomposting can be done inside or outside. It is done in silence. When was the last time you had to tell a worm to be quiet?

Congratulations Cathy. Keep up the great work and we will vote for you in the next stage.

 

How could this proposal be improved?: 

Just make it bigger in scale as possible. Lets eat all that garbage one worm bite at a time. :-)

WormGirl's picture

Thanks Terry! That's true, worms quietly work away cleaning our environment.

Appreciate your support!

Flyingk9's picture

This is a no brainer, Wormgirl this is the future.  I hope everyone in Canada gets with the program.

 

WormGirl's picture

Thanks Gary. Worms have been around for a long, long time. This is a simple solution. Hopefully it will catch on.

countrygirl's picture

I love the double aspect of this project: reducing/managing waste AND producing a natural rich fertilizer to improve food production (naturally).

How could this proposal be improved?: 

Could the worm chalet and insulated bin model be merged? Who would design it? Benefit would be faster, efficient harvesting without the need to separate the worms manually.

My understanding is that in the chalet the worms are always on the move to digest/process new organic material, and leave the rich castings to be harvested on the previous level. Harvesting is simplified, and may appeal to a wider range of potential clients, such as companies/businesses with on-site cafeterias and lunch counters.

hart's picture

I'm curious about whether any odours are present with the box and how long the process takes. Is there any way to calculate the minimum and maximum kevels of waste required to sustain the boxes.

How could this proposal be improved?: 

I'm also curious about the revenue. How much can be generated per box and how and where would one sell the end product?

wcyr's picture

Very strong - simple and effective. Low cost and low tech. Easily understood by people of all ages.

How could this proposal be improved?: 

Great concept which just makes so much sense. Hope this program helps build awareness that vermicomposting can be done anywhere, anytime.

 

CleanandGreen's picture

Way to go Cathy....I hope that this moves forward.  To think how beneficial it would be if all commecial restaurants brought the practice of worm composting to their businesses.  If I had to choose I would choose a worm composting restaurant over one that was not.  Plus they are so cool to kids (and older kids)

How could this proposal be improved?: 

Go global baby!

hcruicks's picture

Vermicomposting is a wonderfully efficient and relatively low-labour method of managing waste on-site. Cathy's expertise in implementing and supporting the ongoing maintainance of local vermicomposting systems will be invaluable.

How could this proposal be improved?: 

Provide suggestions on how local businesses (i.e. restaurants, cafés) could market their participation in this venture to eco-minded customers to expand their customer support while spreading awareness of waste management issues and vermicomposting.

Doug Leitch's picture

Cathy - delighted to see you are a finalist!

More often than note the simple ideas are the best.  This can be done by any household with very little up front cost and make a huge difference in aggregate!   

countrygirl's picture

Cathy is a real mastermind in the area of waste reduction in a sensible way. She is passionate about her mission and has expanded her own business in vermicomposting. She is a media-savvy business person, and adept at networking. In addition, she has created strong relationships with schools, teachers and students. Involving the 'next' generation, our youth and children is critical to developing a new paradigm around social and environmental responsibility. These are key skills and strengths to support the sustainability of her vermicomposting initiatives.

How could this proposal be improved?: 

Go bigger - you are ready for it! Form an advisory council, if you haven't already done so. Include major decision-makers and policy-makers, i.e. MP's, MPP's, CEO's, Directors of Education. Work at the next level, and the vermicomposting projects will multiply exponentially - just like the little red wigglers! This is so do-able! Go for it, Cathy.

jackofallshades's picture

Cathy, I can't tell you enough how wonderful your energy is.  But more than that you are providing us with such great information! Many thanks a good luck with your fabulour endevour

 

Dan Ruby's picture

Worm composting is a great way to turn food scraps & paper into great soil to grow more food!

This project offers an opportunity for beneficial activities while saving the landfill.  Cathy is a doer, not a talker.  Let’s give her support people!

Patty's picture

Great Proposal Cathy! Not only are you reducing waste, Vermicomposting produces an organic fertilizer. What a great way to move away from commercial fertilizers. A step in the right direction at a time when the cost & quality & future of our food is in question. This is a green business that everyone should support.

Good Luck,

Patty

WormyMaria's picture

Congratulations Cathy on such a rich proposal. Our world needs to pay attention to the wealth that can come from waste. I believe your sustainable vermicomposters are the way to go and are a perfect tool to engage a community and promote positive social and environmental change. ¡Congratulations and lets win! This proposal can enlighten our work in Guatemala with women living in slum and rural areas with no access to waste management systems and with the need to develop a sustainable livelihood. 

WormGirl's picture

Thank you Maria! Worm composting is a simple solution to one of today's biggest problems - 'garbage'.

The worms convert 'garbage' into 'black gold' for gardening.

tstoate's picture

People who know me well know that I believe that this business concept should create a win, win win scenario. Employees that do not talk back, like being in the dark, expand through procreation, generate revenue from eating and create a tremendous benefit to society through the redcution of waste that is tunred into a very high yileding fertilzer that is organic.  I invested in a company called Forterra 8 years ago which due to management mistakes has not been succesful. 

If you can show me a business plan with recurring revenue streams with a high ROI then this buisness is a 10 out of 10 - a winner.    - those worms are preious - nurture them.

 

How could this proposal be improved?: 

Landlord should pay tenants by the pound to bring the organics to a drop spot - that will lower  a Landlord's disposal costs and incent tenants to participate - not sure that was mentionned 

 

WormGirl's picture

Unlike Forterra which was attempting to do vermicomposting on a very large scale, we are advocating for a smaller scale approach. Instead of trucks hauling material around, this is an on-site solution for anywhere. If there is no space inside, then outside. Everyone being responsible and managing their own organics. Talk about sustainable!

SK's picture

I always liked the idea of worm composting. I wonder if there is already a network in place to collect worm casting or the fertilizer.

AJ's picture

Worm composting is sadly an underused method of processing food waste, and food waste makes up so much of our total waste! This is a really neat proposal.

How could this proposal be improved?: 

When you expand, will you still be able to handle the maintenance/training/troubleshooting... considering it's unlikely that there are vermicomposting experts at each site? With staff turnover at the organizations, what's the plan for training new staff, and would you have the resources to stay on top of that (while still expanding, hopefully).

Mary E Fenuta's picture

Applying 'experts' to do the job is always the best way to solve a problem.  The worms are definitely the experts to the composting problem and Cathy is the utmost expert in worms that I have ever come across.  Her dedication, innovation, and passion revolve around helping and sustaining the earth by helping the worms do what they do best!  Financing this passion will help Cathy continue her hard work on this planet.   I believe in you Cathy!!

How could this proposal be improved?: 

The proposal is straight forward and continuous improvements can be made as the project is implemented in a larger scale. 

i love my worms's picture

I support the vermicompost proposal first because worms are the ploughshares of our earth, and they present a user-friendly, interesting, and fun management of our basic food waste that everyone can understand. Indeed, vermicomposting is a basic starting place to learn about waste, and improve everyone's responsibility toward our collective stewardship of the earth across our country. Cathy's proposal offers an essential starting point for all people to get involved in their relationship to the environment. Thank you Cathy for all your dynamic initiatives.

Slyfox's picture

This proposal is so practical, I can't help but love it. I don't see a lot of barriers to adoption regulatory or behaviour wise. You guys are going to have to ramp up fast.

How could this proposal be improved?: 

If the other finalists are any indication, you need to develop your 'awareness raising', 'movement development', and 'inspiration' -- just kidding! keep it practical, down and dirty and you'll hit pay-dirt

Zell's picture

It is great to see you in the top 5 Cathy, Congrats!It would be great to see the use of more worm boxes in condos and offices. Imagine how great they would be on roof top systems.

How could this proposal be improved?: 

How many boxes could you build in one week, one month?

How are you going to scale up the growth when you get more demand?

karencv's picture

Cathy, I keep seeing more reasons where and why this should be used and can be part of our regular waste management. Thanks for posting the business case and the carbon calculations so people can really appreciate the merits of the business case. It's great that you can offer this as a solution for commercial establishments where so much organic material is wasted!

GreenHeroes's picture

GreenHeroes can imagine hundred's and thousands of composters like these associated with condos, co-ops and other multi-dwelling establishments that have gardens on the roof and elsewhere. Figuring the best way to get these units into the hands of communities and to train people - and to promote it their use is one part of the challenge here. So is winter.  Profit in theory could be made in production of the composters and the acual purchases could be encouraged with help from civic governments.

How could this proposal be improved?: 

An infographic that actually explains the nature of composting.

Gwillite52's picture

Strengths:  nature-oriented, at-source solutions such as this are usually superior all-around; subject material is clear and easy to understand; very compatible with citizen/community thinking and thier ability to help

Weaknesses:  Requires the advancement of the cultural change recognizing far too much has been sacrificed for "conveience" and that we must now be more willing to contribute to the solutions (IE. take a moment to behave responsibly).

How could this proposal be improved?: 

More. And also, more.

Squirrel's picture

The world needs more worms! 

How do the worms survive outside during our cold winters?

How could this proposal be improved?: 

I think this would be a great compliment to the Garden Share project- you could send the finished product to community gardens!

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