Wowed by worms
(at the Royal Winter Fair)
By Richard Collins
Today, we call it "organic farming". Lewis Bradley would have just called it "farming". Upper Canada's pioneers perfected Integrated Pest Management (IPM), conservation tilling and crop rotation through generations of trial and error. Today's farmers can learn much from thier great grandparents.
Cathy and Rick Nesbitt have learned this lesson well and now devote their time to teaching a new generation of commercial farmers and backyard gardeners on how to make healthy fertilizer the natural way.
Cathy is the persona behind Cathy's Crawly Composters - the crawly composters, in this case being Red Wigglers. These are worms with an appetite for food scraps. They can consume half their weight in orange peels, bread crusts and coffee grounds every day - digesting it and pooping it out the other end as soil.
Back when Lewis Bradley was using the same technique to enrich the soil, Charles Darwin referred to worms as the Intestines of the Earth.
Cathy sells worms over the internet but she's not so much a salesman as she is a teacher. Cathy was at our education centre, at The Royal, showing off her worms at their bacteria-eating best. She even had to leave our exhibit one day to dash off to speak to the distinguished guests of the Canadian Women's Foundation. The topic, of course, was worms.
I didn't think it was possible to get that enthusiastic about worms, but Cathy got me enthused about them, and that's the true measure of a good teacher.
I'm looking forward to next year's fair. Who knows who I'll meet, and what things I'll learn from them?
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