06 November 2000
Slowly but surely some of our smallest residents are helping to eat away Manukau’s rubbish problem.
Pukaki Worm Farm is a living example of how worms act as natural waste busters and owner Linda Lee says she set up the farm up to teach, train and research sustainable resource use.
Worm farming or vermi composting is an efficient and virtually free way for Manukau’s households to reduce the food and paper scraps that makeup over 70% of their rubbish each week.
Tiger worms convert food scraps and paper into compost and their castings or vermiliquid are an organic substitute for expensive plant food.
Starting from scratch, Linda has grown her worm farm from one bathtub found in the inorganic collection to 33 bathtubs and 80 square metres of ground bed full of worms (half a tonne) in 18 months.
The going rate for one kilo of tiger worms is about $90 though Linda says she isn’t concerned with how much things cost.
“Money isn’t important and people should know that you don’t need it to start worm composting.”
Linda likes to encourage people to start their own worm farm by offering to give away half a kilo of worms free. The only condition is that they promise to repay her, if they are successful, with a kilo of worms.
“I just want to inspire people to the magic of wormaculture and connecting back to papatuanuku (mother earth).”
Pukaki Worm Farm attracts visitors from NZ and overseas. There is no entry fee because Linda wants as many people as possible to see and become excited about recycling resources instead of ‘wasting resources’.
The ‘Before you bin it. Think again,’ is an initiative of all councils in the Auckland region. The campaign is aimed at encouraging people to take personal responsibility for their garden and paper waste. Anyone taking a boot load or trailer of garden and paper waste to Auckland transfer stations before November 12 will receive a free bag of compost.
For people who find composting ‘too difficult or time consuming’ Linda says she hardly has to do any work, the worms do it all for her. She is currently growing organic delicacies such as fusi tonga kua (banana) strawberries, taro, and chilli.
(pictures available on request)
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