The Worms Have Arrived!

Ten thousand worms arrived this morning via Priority Mail from Uncle Jim's Worm Farm and The Worm Ladies of Charlestown. Their function? To do all the dirtiest work in Better Farm's new compost initiative, which takes food waste from local grocers and turns it into fertile potting soil.

Our on-site composter extraordinaire, Matt Smith, was like a little kid on Christmas morning. Here he is, about to open the first box of worms:

Worm Advisory!
We went out to the bins Matt and Nick built two weeks ago to get them ready for their new residents. First step? To shred cardboard and newspaper so the worms have a nice, cozy bedding setup (thanks to Redwood's own Knorr's Grocery and Felder's Service Station for giving us their scrap cardboard and newspaper):

Then Matt watered the bedding so it was damp, like a wrung-out rag:

Onto the bedding went the worms (we could have used gloves for this, but what fun would that be?):
Former artist-in-residence Brian Purwin gets his hands dirty.

We sprinkled in a little dirt:

Then it was time to give the worms the biggest buffet of their lives. Here's some of the food waste Matt's been collecting:

Here are Brian and Matt feeding the worms:

We filled the bins about halfway up so as to not overwhelm the tired, hungry, thirsty worms who've spent the last three or four days in transit:

This puts us about six weeks away from having our first batch of fresh potting soil and worm-casing fertilizer. Stay tuned for results!

Thanks to the following businesses for partnering with Better Farm on this project and allowing us to stop in each week to load up on food for our worms. Their willingness to participate is keeping tons of food waste out of landfills:
Alexandria Bay Big M Supermarket
The Mustard Seed in Watertown
Great American Food Stores in Watertown 
North Star Restaurant in Alexandria Bay

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.