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
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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