Worms eat our food scraps and leave compost in the soil. Compost feeds the plants and the plants feed us. This winter the pre-schoolers at Anishinabe Academy in South Minneapolis are learning how this simple and respectful cycle works by growing worms fed with the kids own food scraps right in their classroom. While children at Anishinabe are learning in class about worms, soil, seeds, plants, food, and health, a team of energized, organized grown-ups from the school and community are learning how to grow opportunities for the kids to get their hands dirty in the garden.
I’m not sure if worms can smile, but I smile when I think about kids learning how to empower their health, respect their environment, and sustain their culture.
Recently Jonathan Beutler, a community educator and worm grower offered to work with Russ Henry of Giving Tree Gardens and teachers from Anishinabe Acadamy, to facilitate worm bin classes and equipped the classrooms with all the knowledge and gear they will need to keep on growing worms and soil from food scraps all year long.
Allies come in all different shapes and sizes, so please don’t judge a worm by it’s squirm
Worms are easy! Here’s a few do’s and don’ts:
DO use 2 opaque bins stacked inside each other with lots of air holes drilled through the inside bin and the lid.
DOuse shredded leaves for worm bin medium, wet your medium with lukewarm water till it’s damp, not soaked.
DO use a little sand (worms don’t have teeth and use the grit to help them digest)
DO Feed The Worms! Red Wigglers like to eat a variety of foods including but not limited to: leafy greens, potatoes, banana peels, coffee grounds, egg shells, leaves and trimmings, tea bags, cereal, and grains.
DO tuck the worm food under the soil, the worms like to live in the dark and this also helps keep any smells down
Don’t drown your worms, they like a moist but not soaked medium,
Don’t have a stinky bin, keep out dairy or meat!
When your worm bin gets ½ full of compost, remove the compost by screening out the worms orsimply scoop all worm laden compost over to one side of the bin. On the other side make up some new medium with sand and food scraps, most of your worms will find their way over to the new medium within a couple of days. After you’ve got the compost mostly worm free, go feed the plants! Don’t put a lot of citrus in the bin, this may make the bin too acidic for the worms