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Students at Ag Discovery Centre learning how to vermicompost

Posted on May 11, 2023 by Ryan Dahlman

By Samantha Johnson

Commentator/Courier

Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

TRAD Worm Industries delivered a portable vermicomposting unit to the Agricultural Discovery Centre at Irvine School in late April, and students were busy getting the beds prepared for the worms.

TRAD owner Roxanne Doerksen said, “This one is a very cool project because it is the first time we’ve had a self-sustained continuous flow through (CFT) bed at an elementary school.”

Doerksen is grateful the ADC is allowing her to have access to the data from the trailer. This will allow both the school and TRAD to have better insight around if waste from a school can be converted into something useful rather than ending up at the landfill.

Nichole Neubauer from the ADC said, “We are very grateful. Roxanne drove all the way to California to bring the worms here because of the sheer volume we needed.”

The design model of the unit will convert all organic material from the school, along with manure from the ADC, into compost.

This is a critical period as the worms are in shock from being transported and the change in environment. The first harvest of compost will likely happen in the summer, perhaps mid-July, if all goes well.

“Like with many things, good things come to those who wait,” added Neubauer. “It will take a while to get everything established, to ensure we have the moisture, humidity and other parts of the chemistry in balance. We are really excited and hope to have compost available at our fall fundraiser.”

Calls from NorQuest College in Edmonton and Lethbridge College have come into TRAD. Additionally, the University of Calgary is interested in purchasing a large-scale unit.

“The ADC is really special because it not only has this influence in the community that allows people to see farm life on a small scale, but it also utilizes waste in a manner that helps grow food. It will be interesting to see if this process in schools is a way to create a sustainable food source,” concluded Doerksen.

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