A Worm Place In The Sun

When you are trying to make a living by doing anything other than what you have trained to do, you need to be creative. You have to generate multiple small streams of income, and hope something works well enough such that its stream widens in time.

So we bought a house, and hopefully we will make a bit of money on that. But that is just the beginning. We need multiple prongs to fork up our financial haystack. Well, my friend and I were watching that Discovery Channel show, Dirtiest Jobs or whatever it’s called, and we saw a piece on worm farming. PRONG!

Worm ranching! Worm wranglin’! The romance is breathtaking. The worms are raised on organic matter–kitchen scraps or manure. They digest it and leave castings–basically worm excrement–that is extremely valuable as fertilizer. These can be harvested and used directly in gardens or brewed into a tea that can be sprayed on organic crops.

It seems organic food is increasing in popularity, so a market for organic fertilizer must exist. We decided to try it out on a small scale and see where it takes us. We ordered a half-pound of red wigglers from a worm farm in Pennsylvania, and they arrived yesterday by FedEx. All they need is shredded paper for bedding, a handful of dirt for grit, half their weight in organic matter per day, and a dark spot to work their magic. Here is a picture of our first container (warning: Highly Dramatic):


Ok, so pretty mundane looking, but vermiculture (worm farming) is pretty earthy stuff. Fancy ain’t got nothin’ to do with it. It seems great to do something hands-on and real. And I think any small contribution to slowing the ruination of the planet is a good place to spend one’s energy. The worms keep mountains of garbage out of landfills, improve the soil, and create a quality fertilizer to support organic farming. I love it. The only question is if it is commercially viable. Time will tell.

I went from being a doctor in Bolivia, to being a grad student in Edinburgh, to being a budding worm rancher in middle America. Hmm, yes. It is all going exactly according to plan. Hey, they called Noah crazy.

Published in: on January 24, 2007 at 2:14 pm  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. And I think any small contribution to slowing the ruination of the planet is a good place to spend one’s energy.
    Well said. I’ve never heard of worm farming before. The project has a nice holistic quality.

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