Vermicomposting Toronto (Finalist)
Cathy's Crawly Composters, Common Ground Co-operative Inc.
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.
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.
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.
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.