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Natural Awakenings Chicago

Worms Ate My Garbage and Keep on Eating!

Mar 26, 2012 11:29AM

Urban Worm Girl, L3C, was established in 2008 by Stephanie Davies and Amber Gribben as an educational resource for those interested in embarking on an environmental stewardship in worm composting. The founders believe if people were educated about the ease and cleanliness of this form of indoor composting, many people would surely choose to participate. Urban Worm Girl has installed hundreds of residential worm bins in the greater Chicagoland area, as well as large-scale corporate installations.

Here’s an excerpt from a new book by Davies, Composting Inside and Out: 14 Methods to Fit your Lifestyle.

"Like that fresh green leafy vegetable on the dinner plate helps to feed our bodies, composting enables us to put nutrients and organic matter back into nutrient-deprived, dry soil. This addition not only feeds the soil, it alters its composition. There is no more direct way to do this than by recruiting hard working worms. Worms are the natural experts in this area. Composting with worms, or vermicomposting, within the home mimics the role that worms naturally play in recycling nutrients and building healthy soil particles in nature. This simple and odorless form of composting can be done almost anywhere once you recruit the worms. A worm bin is especially well suited for smaller homes, condos and apartments because it requires little space. Created within such a small space, the product, known as vermicompost, packs a big punch. The benefits of adding vermicompost to the soil are tremendous. And don’t be fooled, a little goes a long way.

Aristotle referred to worms as the intestines of the earth. What a perfect description of these spineless creatures who wriggle, writhe, burrow, aerate, chew, digest, process, till, transform and eventually excrete organic matter across the surface of the planet. How can such small spineless creatures do such heavy work? They are actually built for the job. Worms exist in almost all regions of the earth. There are over 4,000 species identified and many more still unfamiliar to us. The diversity among these species is amazing and yet most of us may just assume a worm is a worm, some big, some small. Worms are found in lakes, streams, mountains and plains, gardens and forests. Soil dwelling worms, earthworms, are the most well known due to their home of choice. Yet earthworms are not all the same either, far from it. Yet all of the terrestrial earth-bound worms provide assistance to the soil. Each has varied characteristics that suit them for their particular climate and environment. A worm is not just a worm!"

Though all worms will eat organic matter, some species will not be happy or remain healthy in an enclosed environment necessary for worm bin composting. Therefore it's not recommended that you go out back after reading this and dig up some of your native worms to get your worm bin started. Get the right worm for the job and you will have much greater success with your efforts!

For more information, call 773-355-4804, email [email protected] or visit