e-worm

By Gavino Chachalo y Maria Patricia Tinajero
ewormWhat is an e-worm? Is lumbricina or commonly know as earthworm. Why do we call it e-worm? Because worms are associated with many parasites that are harmful to humans, but by adding the letter e at the beginning of the word, we want to linguistically reclassify the identity and the function of the worm in contemporary urban culture. The sound of the prefix e gives the word a new meaning that is social and psychologically accepted; after all we all have an e-mail account.

Additionally, the letter e refers to economy and ecology. Two buzz words in contemporary culture, as we strive to a more sustainable existence between human economies and environmental impact. Economy and ecology share the Latin root οίκος, meaning home; therefore Thinking Like an e-worm is a project about taking everyday actions to learn about the tied connections between economy and ecology.
ecuadorThe project started in our home in Quito, Ecuador. We start by composting our food scraps by bacterial fermentation. This research let us to worms for speeding up the composting process, as well as to increase the quality of the compost. Now we need more food scraps to feed the hungry e-worm. We are asking our neighbors to be part of this project by keeping their food scraps. People are intrigued by what we are doing so we want to teach them about gardening, composting and e-worms. If you like our project, we would use the funds in two ways: 1.) a roof to cover our e-worm tanks and 2.) buckets for food scrap collection from our neighborhood. We are also designing a web site to make our process available to more people that might think that because they are living in big metropolitan areas they have no choices for their food supplies.

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Street Corner Composter

Street Corner Composter by Rowin Snijder

Street Corner Composter by Rowin Snijder

Can worm composting become a community activity?   Carpenter/artist Rowin Snijder is testing this concept out on a street corner in Amsterdam. He has designed and built a durable, oak cabinet that looks like an elevated planter box. Inside, it hides 2 vermicomposting compartments, into which neighbors can deposit their food scraps. When one side is filled, they use the adjacent section so the worms will follow the food scraps and move into it through a bamboo lattice that connects them. The finished compost can be harvested from the first bin while the second becomes full of worms that are being fed. And the composting process continues. lepetitcompostier-5Rowin says, “When a group of people take it upon themselves to take responsibility for their own trash, and work together, so much more happens than just making compost. It builds community, a connection with your surrounding, and is an inspiration for others to do so as well. The compost produced, can be used in gardens in the street or on rooftop gardens and balconies.” He has also designed a version for the balcony, which he sells in Amsterdam, but also offers the plans for free on the Le Compostier Facebook page for others who want to build it themselves. And there is a  new, 2 square meter version that has space for worms and bees. The bees are invited in through a yellow-painted portal in the wood box, where they can find refuge in their own protected box inside. An intriguing cohabitation with worms, bees, plants and people on the street. I look forward to hearing more about this project as it develops. Visit the Le Compostier blog for more information.

The yellow painted hole invites bees in to share the space with the worms.

The yellow painted hole invites bees in to share the space with the worms.