‘Easy fix for our waste’: DIY worm farming hits UK homes | Environment

Early birds used to catch the worm, but households, schools, and even prisons can now have invertebrates delivered to their doorstep for free – if they squirm.

A Nottingham-based initiative, the Urban Worm Community Interest Company (UWC), is on a mission to ‘deworm’ the UK by starting an urban worm breeding movement that can create high-quality fertilizer from hides. banana and old socks.

The social enterprise received a grant of £ 50,000 from the National Lottery to send 1,000 packages of compost worms – known as tiger worms because of their red skin – to anyone with a DIY worm farm ready to house a population of 100.

“The use of worms to manage organic household waste is happening on a large scale all over the world, except in the UK,” said Anna de la Vega, Managing Director of UWC. “The reality of climate change, depletion of natural resources and mass urbanization presents unprecedented threats to global food security and the survival of humanity. “

For natural waste managers and fertilizer producers, worms are incomparable: they can eat up to half of their body weight in organic waste per day and reduce the volume of this waste by 90% in two to six months. .

“The process lends itself particularly well to the urban environment with small-scale, low-tech, low-cost interior systems,” said De la Vega. “With 83% of the UK living in cities, an urban worm breeding movement is essential for future food security and provides simple solutions for our kitchen waste. “

The worm droppings – or worm manure – they produce are Grade A soil, rich in 14 nutrients plants need to thrive: just one tablespoon of worm manure per plant is sufficient for each growing season. .

For those who are still disgusted, De la Vega hastens to assure them that the worms do not smell – although the “pee” they produce, drained from the bottom of the worm farm, is so powerful that it should. be diluted before used to fertilize the garden.

A DIY worm farm can be done with anything that keeps light out: the UWC website has videos showing how to dig deep and transform a plastic box, dresser and even a bag for life. into a new earthy house.

Six year old James Guy with his worm farm. Photography: no credit

Worms don’t even need your food scraps: find a box, fill it with damp, shredded paper, cotton socks, an old woolen sweater and off you go. “The worms just want to eat and mate. If you give them enough food and space, they won’t try to escape, ”De la Vega said.

“If you don’t want them to multiply, don’t give them a lot of food. They’re really smart: they’re hermaphrodites, so they can all lay eggs. But they don’t lay eggs if there isn’t enough food and space to support an increase in their population.

De la Vega has already sent worms to 26 schools across the country and one prison. She is particularly happy with the prison. “The worms remove toxins from the soil and leave it completely clean and richer – helping plants to grow,” she said. “It’s a message of rebirth, regeneration and forgiveness that I think is nice to bring in a prison setting. “

De la Vega will help 1,000 lucky worm breeders raise their new pets: In addition to the videos on the UWC website, another video will be sent to them a few months after starting their worm farm to teach them to harvest their fresh fertilizer.

If the two-year program is successful, the National Lottery has said it will inject another tranche of funding into the program. “Of course, they want to continue funding the project,” De la Vega said. “It’s because they are worms; they are interesting. These are niches.

The benefits of the worm Agriculture

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