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Cathy's Crawly Composters

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The Globe & Mail

July 7, 2007

Streetfest advocates global worming

Today's festival broadcasts Live Earth concerts and encourages vendors hoping to improve the city's green culture.


1 lb. of Worms
Red wiggler worms eat half their weight daily.
"It's nature's finest fertilizer, says Cathy Nesbitt,
owner of Cathy's Crawly Composters.

By Alwynne Gwilt

 

While millions gather to watch superstars at Wembley or Giants stadiums in London and New York at today's Live Earth shows, Torontonians will get to witness a smaller megastar in the world of green living. Worms.

Yes,worms. Red wigglers to be exact.

With nine concerts rocking cities on seven continents, Yonge Street will participate by becoming a pedestrian-only area from Dundas Street to Queen Street between 6 a.m. and midnight.

The Green Toronto Streetfest will play host to organic food stands, two giant LCD screens showing the Live Earth shows and green-friendly vendors. Cathy's Crawly Composters, which specializes in selling red wiggler worms for composting bins, is one.

"It's nature's finest fertilizer," said Cathy Nesbitt, who runs the business from her Bradford home with her husband.

Because red wigglers eat about half their weight daily, a pound of worms (and their desendents) can eat up to one ton of organic waste per year, or about the amount each Canadian household throws in plastic bags and lets sit on landfills in the same time span.

"As long as you're not putting your stuff in a bag at the bottom of your driveway, it's all good," says Ms. Nesbitt.

The City of Toronto's environment office is expecting about 15,000 people to attend the event, a number Ms. Nesbitt likely hopes will include downtown yuppies with an environmental conscience.

A worm farm can be set up in a bin similar to a blue box. Crumpling a bit of newspaper to provide carbon for the crawlies - and adding a dash of soil, a few egg shells and water creates the bedding. Worms will crawl under the spongy mush when exposed to light, and soon start eating anything organic homeowners throw in.

"It's a great solution for apartment dwellers," Ms. Nesbitt said, explaining that because red wigglers don't live in soil, they won't escape out of the bin's bottom onto condo residents' fine flooring.

Whatever goes in, of course, must come out, which is how the rich fertilizer is created. Patience is necessary, says Ms. Nesbitt, because "it's not like you put scraps in today and you get fertilizer tomorrow." It takes about five months, or the same amount of time as an outdoor composter would.

Ms. Nesbitt won't be selling worms at today's show because of the heat. But she does ship them across North America to those willing to take the plunge into indoor composting.

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Cathy's Crawly Composters

Bradford, Ontario
Local: (905) 775-9495
Toll Free: 1-888-775-9495
email: cathy@cathyscomposters.com