Published by City Farmer, Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture


The Poop on Wormshops in Schools

(C) Copyright: City Farmer 1995

Vancouver teachers are taking advantage of a great program subsidized by the City: Wormshops City Farmer style, offered at the Vancouver Compost Demonstration Garden. That's right. It's a specialized form of composting for apartment dwellers or classroom situations - and a great vehicle to teach kids about composting - nature's way of recycling.

Hilary Pada, a biology student at UBC is one of City Farmers' certified wormshop instructors. She gives wormshops in your classroom or at the garden. "Each wormshop is an hour long and very hands on", says Pada, "which means the kids can get a bit wild and have a lot of fun. The bins are ideal for classrooms because they will fit neatly onto a shelf or under a table."

Garden Field Trips

While setting up the worm bin for their classroom, the group learns about composting, waste reduction and the science of worms. "Many teachers build a whole unit around the wormshop and a field trip to the garden, with follow-up activities and on-going worm bin monitoring", says Pada. A garden wormshop includes a five senses tour of the garden. Of course the optimum time is late summer when there's plenty of raspberries, strawberries and cherry tomatoes, but there's always something interesting. Lemon Balm is a big hit for some reason. The kids love to rub the lemony leaves on their hands", Pada explains.


Here's the best news of all for teachers (community groups, daycares, adult groups, gardening clubs, welcome too), the cost to Vancouver teachers is just $20 for the bin, worms and bedding materials. The instructor's fee is subsidized by the City of Vancouver. Teachers outside of Vancouver can still partake in the program, but the total cost will be $60.

Harvest Time

In about three months time, the worm bin is ready to be harvested. This means the worms need to be separated from the finished compost (or worm poop as it's also called - the nurseries call it worm castings or Black Gold and it's priced accordingly!). "In the past, a lot of teachers didn't really want to deal with this side of worm composting, so we lost a lot of bins and worms - or they just weren't sure how to go about it. So now we offer a harvesting workshop ($ 15.00) so that teachers and kids learn this procedure properly as well. It's really important because if the worms are left in their own waste, they would die", warns Pada. With the finished compost, each child plants a flower or vegetable to take home.

How to Book a Wormshop

If you're interested in booking a worm shop, call the Compost Hotline at 736-2250. Or drop by the Vancouver Compost Demonstration Garden for a look at the Worm Corner. They're located at 2150 Maple Street at 6th Avenue in Kits and they're open Wed. through Fri. from 9 to 4 (Apr-Nov); Fri and Sat. 9 to 4 (Dec-March).
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Revised October 16, 1996

Published by City Farmer
Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture