Our worm composting project is housed in the basement of our home at 111 Roy east. It’s there that, night and day (even as you read this) thousands of redworms (Eisenia foetida) are happily munching away on tasty bits of melon rind from yesterday’s fruit salad, peels, stubs and cores of all sorts, and even the spent coffee grinds and tea bags from drinks offered to volunteers, staff and visitors.
Why should we have a veritable army of little creatures in our basement? It’s simple: composting makes sense.
Throughout our activities, we do our best to stop and think not only about our social impact, but also about our environmental and economic impact. And so it is that we strive for zero waste and minimal emissions. It’s for this reason that we have been working on developing a more holistic food cycle for some years now.
Monday through Saturday, volunteers who are preparing meals in the kitchen set aside food scraps that are later fed to our worms by other volunteers. Within about 2 weeks, our lovely army of worms will have transformed the food scraps into rich compost. Our plants, in turn, soon benefit from this rich natural fertilizer and grow healthily, providing our meals-on-wheels program, green baskets, and market stands with tasty greens, herbs and vegetables over the course of the summer.
From there, the food cycle starts anew.
The composting system at the Roulant isn’t perfect, don’t get us wrong. We still don’t have the capacity to compost all of our waste in house, and we don’t yet compost meats, oils, and animal products. Likewise, the compost we produce doesn’t satisfy all of our fertilizer needs for our urban gardens, and we need to purchase some additional compost every year. But it’s still worth it.
By vermicomposting, we reduce our waste stream, make the most of all of the fruits and vegetables that we receive, buy, or grow, and we reduce our gardening expenses. Most importantly perhaps, we engage our entire community in ecological initiatives, helping those who are curious to learn about vermicomposting. Did we mention we love our worms?
We use two methods of vermicomposting, and have recently added a special composting tumbler on our roof on a trial basis.
In our basement, vermicomposting takes place in long tables, using a technique that is similar to the most common “at home” vermicomposters. Composting also takes place in large bins called Wigwams, which are designed to progressively sift out compost from fresh scraps without disturbing the worms too much.
Want to get involved? It’s simple!
You’re not an expert? You can volunteer to help care for our worms and learn along the way. We ask that all volunteers attend a volunteer orientation session first (see our event calendar to know when the next one is, or call us 514-284-9335). After that, you’ll be set to go!
Are you a vermicomposting or composting connaisseur? You should volunteer to teach us and other volunteers what you know!
If volunteering at the Roulant is too complicated for your schedule, consider starting your own worm compost at home. You can build your own system with a few basic materials and instructions (Google it!), and you can always get in touch with Urbaniterre to buy a starter kit.
If you’d like to just learn more, ask us for a tour of the Roulant’s composting system.
If you’d like to attend a workshop, they’ll be coming up soon at the Roulant and during the summer at the Centre Environnemental Tourne Sol.