Worm farming & compost workshop at Creative Tauranga

I’ve always had an unnatural attraction to worms, microbes and fungi.

Earthworms are the strong, silent type. They’re that enduring romance which crept up on you from the friendzone to become your soulmate for life. Tiger worms are that hot and firey fling. Hungry and ravenous, devouring everything in their paths and reproducing at the soonest sniff at an overripe avocado. Microbes take the sex analogy to an exponential level, turning your otherwise innocent compost into an orgy of binary fission to a factor in the billions. Fungi is that tantric yogi with the silver ponytail. Stretching itself into the craziest shapes and communicating with the universe through delicate strands of conscious mycelium.


On a more practical level, without earthworms filtering and aerating our soils the earths crust could not support life. Without the microbes in my compost, what I manage to grow at the beach would be impossible and the rubbish bill would be out of control if it weren’t for the tiger worms in my worm bin.

As a waste management tool you can’t get any better than processing your biodegradable waste at home. It might contradict the idea of the Why Waste compost collection, but it’s true. Whether a good old compost heap satisfies all your needs, or you might prefer the more compact-but-less complicated option of a worm farm will. Maybe you eat a lot of meat and need to adopt the Japanese method of Bokashi fermentation, which gets through bones in a matter of days.

On Monday I presented these solutions at Creative Tauranga Charitable Trust to a curious few who braved cyclone Pam to come to the Sustainable Backyards workshop.

We went over1900705_850125711718087_6982964960855500040_o(1) the different types of composting and vermi-composting, fermentation and digestion of biodegradable waste. Speaking from my own discovery of these extremely efficient solutions, I aimed to inspire as opposed to outright educate. Making sure we covered the environmental and economic benefits and pitfalls of each option, I really wanted to present the workshop in respect of the time pressures and financial confines we all live with. Using different worm bins I have as demonstrations, we went over vermicasting options – from the cheap but not ideal worms-r-us stacker bin ($100 without worms from Bunnings) option through to the Rolls Royce of worm farms, the continuous flow Hungry Bin ($320 or $340 with worms through whywaste.co.nz). I feel as though attendees took away a sound understanding of composting and worm farming (otherwise known as vermi-composting) and a good idea on how to set these up at home for as cheap as possible.


Thanks to Creative Tauranga for hosting the workshop, and also for supporting creativity in the Bay of Plenty. Creativity and sustainability go hand in hand and I am extremely passionate about both.



Changing the definition of success in the 21st century: Derek Handley

Last Thursday I had the pleasure of seeing Derek Handley speak in the flesh at the Priority 1 event held at ASB arena. For the first time in my life, someone managed to articulate what I say each day, in public, and have the cred to back it up. When I describe it, people try to entertain the thought of a world where people, planet and profit aren’t mutually exclusive. But when a charismatic millionaire like Derek Handley describes it – they can see it.


As a member of his (and old mate Richard Bransons’) positive change project ‘The B Team’, I’ve always associated his work with future thinking groups online, or through various positive change organisations on the Why Waste Facebook news feed. This association somehow never extended to Priority 1. ‘Driving economic growth’ – a tag line which contradicts the multifaceted nature of Dereks message. Though I have to hand it to them, It was a great event and I truly felt that the 300 odd people in the room were genuinely open to his messages.


I would encourage those unfamiliar with Derek Handley to watch this interview at the world economic forum. I especially appreciate it how he begins his narrative within an easily stomachable critique of last century’s interpretation of business success, leading into what success might mean in this century. This allows him to engage the ‘successful’ people of last century without shaming or blaming them with it’s now-obvious shortcomings, and includes them in finding the solution through the common language of business. Indeed, any collaboration or community based solution will require effective communication, and a lack of eco-literate businessmen, or corporate-able activists is what has separated the business community from environmentalists and social advocates in the past.


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