Werking Worms was born out of a desire to reduce environmental footprints. With plant-based eating on the rise and composting infrastructure lagging, most kitchen food waste ends up in landfills. It is estimated that 40% of all food produced in Canada ends up as waste1. Composting is a solution to divert food waste from landfills, however, composting as a city service it is not accessible to everyone. Vermicomposting can serve as a personalized compost system and thus brings the reality of our own waste closer to home. There is a kind of symbiosis that is created by exploiting the natural functions of earth worms (Eisenia fetida), which makes apparent the reality of our own environmental footprint. The mantra of Werking Worms is to divert food waste from landfills by using vermicomposting as a proxy to upcycle food waste into a valuable material- worm compost. Vermicomposting is highly supported by published literature and is often used industrially for organic agriculture. Werking Worms offers upcycled worm compost to the average consumer as a means of fertilizing house plants and gardens. Our worms werk hard so our green growing friends can have the nutrients they need to thrive.
Creation of Werking Worms:
As a young adult, learning about the climate crisis initiated a hyper-awareness of my surroundings, specifically my environmental footprint. This early life moment triggered a series of lifestyle changes such as adopting a sustainable diet and engaging in environmental activism. I transferred to the University of Ottawa in 2015 to pursue a Bachelors of Science. In 2019 I graduated with Honors in Environmental Science, and since have been working in a professional capacity at the University of Ottawa's Advanced Research Complex and spreading science exposure as a Let’s Talk Science volunteer.
While eating mainly a plant-based diet I quickly noticed how much food scraps I was putting into the garbage on a daily basis. Coupled with my education I knew that organic matter such as my food scraps anaerobically breakdown in landfills creating greenhouse gasses2. The perfect solution to that problem was composting food waste so it can be diverted from landfills. However, it became increasingly frustrating that many apartment buildings in the city of Ottawa do not interlock with the city's composting infrastructure -as is the case in many other cities. Therefore, I sought out my own compost solution in the fall of 2019- enter vermicomposting! Composting using earth worms was a new experience that implored me to use my education, passion and desire for change all of which fostered the creation of Werking Worms.
1. University, York. “Food Waste General Data.” Food Waste General Data | Food Policy for Canada, York University, foodpolicyforcanada.info.yorku.ca/goals/goal-5/food-waste/general-data/.
2. Behera, Shishir Kumar et al. “Methane Production from Food Waste Leachate in Laboratory-Scale Simulated Landfill.” Waste Management 30.8-9 (2010): 1502–1508. Web.