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Why is Vermiculture important?


    Vermicomposting has many benefits for the participants, their communities, and the environment.

    In many communities garbage collection and disposal is a serious problem.  In most areas the collected garbage is sent to a landfill, or simply an area where it is dumped.  By diverting organic material from the waste stream, this amount can be greatly reduced.  The Deccan Development Society in India has reported that nearly 80% of the waste stream is biodegradable (Snel,1999).  Much of this material can easily be broken down in a vermicomposing system.  Diverting this waste saves the community money that would otherwise be spent on it's collection and disposal.

    A person or household that utilizes vermicomposting also receives the benefits of less waste disposal costs.  Along with that they receive a the end product of worm castings that are a valuable fertilizer and soil additive.  By using the worm castings and 'worm tea' (liquid that leaches through the worm bin), they may save money on fertilizers that otherwise would have to be bought.  If the system is large enough, there is the possibility of selling the worm castings and tea as fertilizer, providing an additional income.

    The environment benefits by the reduction of waste in an area, essentially reducing the ecological footprint of the community present.  Usable waste is "recycled" back into the ecosystem instead of being sent to a landfill or incinerated.

    Related Web sites



Earthworms and the Ecology (263 p.). Published by Bookworm Publishing Company, P.O. Box 3037, Ontario, CA 91761. ISBN: 0916302-01-6. Library of Congress, Catalog Number: 76-23923.

Researchers and project developers met at the Fifth International Symposium on Earthworm Ecology, hosted by Ohio State, to discuss earthworm ecology and its role in organics recycling. Earthworms can be used directly in horticulture and agriculture to enhance crop growth or to turn various residuals into beneficial composts. Both of these uses were addressed at the conference. Research continues into the effectiveness of earthworms in aerating soil, improving drainage, and especially increasing fertility. The main research challenge in vermicomposting of organic materials is that the heat generated by conventional composting is too high for earthworms.

Robinson, M. L. (2000) Starting a worm farm: also known as vermicomposting or vermiculture. [Reno, Nev.] : University of Nevada, Cooperative Extension.