Vermicompost Project Coming to Better Farm this March!

Vermicompost photo from IU Kelley School of Business.
We'll be joined in March by Matt Smith, a clean air advocate and leading member of's New Jersey coalition. He's been making headlines for his work building opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline and fracking legislation, and pushing for sustainability and cleaner energy policies. When he moves to Better Farm next month, he'll be launching a vermicompost project that will incorporate community involvement, sustainability initiatives, and lots and lots of worms. Our interns will be playing a big part in getting this operation up and running; and their involvement will educate them so they can initiate similar projects back home after leaving Better Farm. Here are some excerpts from Matt's project outline.

Vermicompost Project Proposal for Better Farm
Mission: Design, construct and operate a scalable vermicomposting system to be located at Better Farm for the following purposes.

  • Develop a low-cost vermicomposting system that is scalable for municipal and commercial use.
  • Test which combinations of organic materials demonstrate the quickest decomposition times.
  • Test which combination of organic materials offers the highest composted nutrient yields.
  • Test which environment(s) including temperature, aeration frequency, moisture content etc. provide the quickest decomposition times.
  • Develop a low cost, scalable system for converting worm casings (poop) from composting into liquefied organic fertilizer.
Project Scope: Conduct research and field Studies of existing vermicomposting operations in New York State and surrounding areas to identify a system design that meets the project goals. Construct the vermicomposting system (will need project support to complete this step). Acquire Red (Earth) Worms for vermicomposting. Partner with local households, farms, food stores etc. to haul away their organic waste for vermicomposting on Better Farm. Partnerships will be designed to benefit all parties involved, with a dual goal of promoting Better Farm's existing outreach and community engagement efforts. Operate and maintain vermicomposting system on Farm for duration of project.

Additional Information: If the amount of organic soil and or liquefied fertilizer exceeds practical use on the farm, soil and/or fertilizer will be sold. All activities related to the construction of a vermicomposting system, including partnering with individuals and other organizations in the community, will adhere to the mission of Better Farm and principles of the Better Theory.

Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.