Symposium planned to explore benefits of
composting with worms
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[FEB. 3, 2005]
Vermicomposting, a method of recycling food and yard waste by using
red worms, will be the subject of a daylong symposium on Monday
The second annual symposium is being
sponsored by the Illinois Department of Agriculture, the Department
of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, the Springfield Division of
Waste Reduction and Recycling, and the Illinois Stewardship
Alliance. Sessions will be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the conference
room at the Northfield Inn and Suites in Springfield.
"We're encouraging the expanded use of
vermicomposting because of its environmental benefits," Illinois
Agriculture Director Chuck Hartke said. "Vermicomposting not only
reduces waste destined for our landfills, but also produces a
byproduct that makes a terrific fertilizer. Best of all, it's a
completely natural process."
Thirty percent of the refuse in the
United States is food and yard debris. Red worms can break down this
organic waste and convert it into nutrient-rich castings. These
castings have been called "black gold" because of their high
nutrient content and can revitalize low-fertility soils.
The agenda for the symposium
includes an address from vermicomposting expert Mary Appelhof,
author of "Worms Eat My Garbage." She will discuss the application
of vermicompost on flower gardens, food plants, vineyards, golf
courses, orchards and nurseries.
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Additional presentations will cover
the use of castings in bioremediation, Schaumburg-based IKEA's
vermicomposting of its store restaurant's food waste, and uniformity
of physical and chemical properties of castings.
Symposium attendees also will have
an opportunity to build their own worm bin and tour New Horizon
Organics in Bunker Hill, one of the nation's largest vermicomposting
facilities, with more than six tons of red wiggler worms. The tours
of New Horizon Organics will be offered Sunday, Feb. 6, and Tuesday,
Registration, which includes lunch,
costs $35 if paid in advance or $50 at the door. Materials for the
bin project cost $30 and are not included in the registration fee.
To reserve a seat, call Elizabeth Burns of the Illinois Stewardship
Alliance at (217) 498-9707.
Department of Agriculture news release]