ENCINITAS — For some people, the thought of worms with their slimy, tube-like bodies and no limbs might trigger an “Ew!” reaction. But it might trigger an “Awe” reaction instead when they learn how important worms are to the Earth’s ecosystem.
“Worms play a bigger role in the health of our planet than most people realize,” said Kelsea Jacobsen, environmental educator at the Solana Center. “They are essential to soil. Healthy soil grows healthy plants, and plants feed animals and people. Worms decompose previously living things, like food scraps, into smaller pieces, like soil particles, that can provide nutrients to other living things.”
You can hear more tidbits like these at the All About Worms workshop, taking place from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday Sept. 14 at the Encinitas Community Center.
The workshop is hosted by the Solana Center for Environmental Innovation, a San Diego-based nonprofit organization that focuses on zero waste, composting, and water conservation. The workshop will cover the basics of vermicomposting, or worm composting, and how to compost easily with red wriggler worms. Vermicomposting is an environmentally friendly way to turn your food waste into nutrient rich castings for your plants or garden beds.
“Composting food scraps reduces some of the waste contributed to our landfills that generates harmful greenhouse gases and releases carbon into the atmosphere,” said Jacobsen. “Composting takes that carbon and puts it into the soil where it can benefit the planet. Composting is essentially the recycling of organic matter to create healthy soils.”
The workshop will also cover how to feed worms, which foods are suitable for worms, how to set up your own worm bin, what tools and materials you’ll need, and how to harvest and use your finished worm castings.
“There are several thousands of worm species, but red wigglers are a European species that excels at composting food waste,” Jacobsen said. “Once you learn some easy steps that will allow red wigglers to thrive, they’ll return the favor by turning your food waste into a nutrient-rich soil amendment.”
Solana Center has presented over 100 vermicomposting workshops that attract an average of 20 people, but some classes have had 50 people or more.
Noelle Collins, communications coordinator at Solana Center, said other workshops they host include backyard composting; Bokashi — a method that preserves and composts all food waste, including meats and dairy; reusing landscape waste; water-wise gardening; and manure management. The center also offers training courses for on-farm composting and Master Composter certification.
Collins said Solana Center mobilizes the community through outreach and provides consulting services to businesses and local governments in order to address the region’s most pressing environmental issues and enact impactful change.
“We assess waste in the workplace and recommend changes that will send less to landfills,” Collins said.
She said they also sell rain barrels to encourage water conservation and host the innovative Food Cycle program, which is currently at capacity, to compost on site for people without adequate yard space at home.
For questions, call (760) 436-7986 or email [email protected].