With a grant from the Butte College Associated Students, the agriculture department has purchased vermicomposting (composting with worms) equipment. This included two wigwams, trash receptacles, worms and a worm bin display.
This project started in November 2008 and Butte College Food Service staff began sorting pre-consumer scraps, suitable as worm food, into designated containers.
The farm crew now collects and delivers scraps daily to the farm and either shreds the scraps and feeds the "red wigglers" in the wigwams or adds to a compost pile.
The wigwams house the 30,000 worms and bedding, complete with heaters for winter time and have a screen and crank to remove castings. Students monitor the worms and soon it will be time to separate castings (worm waste) which will be used in organic fields as fertilizer.
Students have been weighing waste worm food and found Butte College is diverting approximately 1500 pounds each month from the landfill while producing rich castings for the farm.
"This has been a hands-on learning opportunity for our students and staff," said Deb Conway, Butte College Agriculture Technician. "It's a teaching tool for sustainability while helping our landfill and environment.