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Interview with World Renowned Worm Lady, Mary Appelhof

Nice Videos on Composting

You can also do a general search for how-to discussions and photos:

Nice Videos on Youth Gardening

From the Duke University Center for Documentary Studies:

If Only We Had Time and Money to Go to Maine Composting Event

The award-winning Maine Compost School is holding a two-day composting workshop for schools and other public institutions August 17 & 18 in Monmouth. Participants will learn the art and science of composting through hands-on activities, demonstrations and lectures. Cost is $250; online registration is available. Please see this site for more details and the full agenda:

Ellen B. Libby
University of Maine Cooperative Extension
Knox-Lincoln Counties
377 Manktown Rd.
Waldoboro, ME 04572
TTD 1–800–287–8957
Fax# 207–832–0377

Urban Worm Girl!

US Food Waste Worth More Than Off Shore Drilling

Invite to Sweet Water Compost Volunteers

After a year and a few months, I am finally ready to open up the glorious
Sweet Water Compost Range to others besides myself.

I am doing this because Nick Montezon, an MATC student who I have known
for a number of years, and who did service as a Growing Power Intern in the
compost project, has agreed the become the day to day organizer of the
Sweet Water compost. Nick has a mind for science, art, and commerce, so
we have developed internet enabled data management systems to really
make the Sweet Water Compost Range something Milwaukee can be proud
of and we can all learn much from.

Since Spring of 2009, when my daughter Bridie, Emmanuel Pratt, and myself
loaded a couple of pick-up trucks worth of wood chips from the city lot on
37th and Lincoln and mixed it with fruit and veggie waste we salvaged from
the Sendeck’s on Downer, the Sweet Water compost range has grown, and grown,
and grown. Key to this was an experimental contract with Roundys, wherein we
agreed to pick up “nitrogen residues” from their big store on Holt St. We struck up
a deal with Asplundh Tree Co., which has delivered a couple hundred giant truck loads
of wood chips for the carbon piece. Other nitrogen sources include Svens, Stone Creek, Alterra, and Great Lakes Distillery.

Last year’s pile is inside the Sweet Water fence, and has been harvested for a number of raised bed gardens including: Honey Creek School, the Scooter Foundation, the National Association of Black Veterans, White Fish Bay H.S. Community Garden, Shorewood New Horizon School Community Garden, the Nigella Community Garden of Harambe, Matt’s Ray’s Fernwood Montesori, the Arugula As Birthright Project, the Worm Mon Show, and others I now am forgetting.

Next year’s pile is growing just outside the SW fence, about 300 ft. long and about 15 ft. wide. Nick is ready to work with volunteers to systematically survey a restructed range, probably with two “wind rows” about 8 ft. wide along that 300 ft. area. Probes will be made to determine important information about each section of this miracle, e.g. how hot it is, how much nitrogen versus carbon ingrediants there are, how many worms appear to be hanging around, and other pieces of information we are inspired to create as we correspond with the few major compost projects at this point in the USA and beyond.

So, if you would like to advance this project, send me an e-mail or directly call Nick at 828 4542. If you can’t reach him, call either myself at 414 232 1336, or Theresa at 731 1673 and we’ll connect you with him.

He plans on being accessible on most days but not Wed., not Saturday.



12th Century Sufi Poet Rumi on Composting

The ground’s generosity takes in our compost
and grows beauty. Try to be more
like the ground.

Give back better, as rough clods return
an ear of corn, this sleek handful of oats.

Downtown Montesori Features Worm Arugula Mon Among Other Greening Workers

Downtown Montessori Academy (2507 S. Graham St., Milwaukee, WI 53207 414.744.6005) Celebrates New Organic School Garden with “Green Festival” on June 2nd!!

The community is invited! The DMA Green Festival will start at 3:30 pm on June 2nd. Activities include:

•Green waterless car wash provided by students of the DMA Adolescent program
•Local wildlife exhibit by the Urban Ecology Center
•Vermiculture workshop by James Godsil
•Bike Safety Workshop by the Bicycle Federation
•County Bus Bike Rack Exhibition
•Green School Supplies by Future Green
•Face Painting
•Bake Sale
•Flower Exchange
•Used cartridge & unwanted cell phone collection
•Coffee & food will be provided with the support of Outpost Natural Foods and Sven’s Organic Coffee

The local folk band Lollycoogan will perform Irish & Scottish songs from 5 pm to 6:30 pm.

Downtown Montessori Academy, a charter school operating under a license of the City of Milwaukee, invites the community to join the grand opening of a new educational organic school garden. During the last months, DMA students, parents, staff and community volunteers jointly created a garden on the DMA school grounds, located on S. Graham Street in Milwaukee’s Bay View neighborhood. The project has received wide community support, including donations from green minded local businesses and organizations. The school garden consists of twelve raised beds for a total of 240 square feet. With volunteer support from three master gardeners, students will plant, grow and harvest organic vegetables, herbs and native flowers in this hands-on educational project . Virginia Flynn, Head of Downtown Montessori Academy, welcomes the new school garden as another important tool in the quality Montessori education of DMA students. “We believe, as Maria Montessori said: The land is where our roots are. The children must be taught to feel and live in harmony with the Earth”, says Flynn. By learning gardening techniques including worm composting and the use of rain barrels for water conservation, DMA students will be able to grow healthy food in an urban environment, an important skill many members of the parent generation never learned.

Mobilizing Neighborhoods for Community Composting

you may want to check out Cayuga Compost at

Mobilizing for Community Compost Project in Milwaukee

It is that time of year where we will be mowing our lawns and trimming our bushes. If you do not have a compost pile at your residence but would like to see your untreated yard waste created into nutrient rich soil, please let me know. We have 3 major locations where you can contribute your yard waste and kitchen scraps.

If you live in the Bay View area there is a large community compost behind Sweetwater Organics off of Lincoln Ave. and a couple of smaller bins located on the corner of Burrell and Deer Place at the Hide House Community Garden. The Hide House Community Garden also has a compost tumbler that is available for people’s kitchen scraps….

If you live on the East side or Riverwest area, then there is the Concordia Gardens on Palmer and Concordia.

We are always looking for volunteers to help with our business pick-ups. It doesn’t matter if you can only help once a month or once a week, every little bit helps :) Help us keep nutrient rich material out of the landfill!!! Within the last week we have collected over 115 buckets from Bay View businesses! Please support the organizations that support your community. Contributing member of the Milwaukee Community Compost Network (a project of the Victory Garden Initiative) are:

Transfer Pizza
Cafe Corazon
Public Market
Outpost Natural Foods
Lena’s Market
Soup Market
Wild Flour
Stonecreek Coffee
Asian Market

If you are a business owner or employee and would like your business to be a part of the Milwaukee Community Compost Network, please let me know….

We are the Soil Generation!!


Melissa Tashjian
Bay View Mobilizer
Victory Garden Initiative
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Comfoods Study Guide

There’s a PhD student studying this at Cornell - I think in the Horticulture Department. They’ve got tabs on all the research. You might want to contact them.


Hey Godsil,
Vegetable Growers News had an article on vermicomposting a month or two ago. It contained names of academic researchers who had fantastic finding about the benefits of worms, castings and tea. This is a publication primarily for commercial growers (skeptical of this “local sustainable” shit) so I thought it significant. Don´t have the info handy but know they do have an online version of the magazine.

(I found the site he mentioned: but couldn’t find the article. Ty.)

Check out blueridge vermiculture—he is a local expert

Dear James,

I’d suggest contacting a former colleague who has done a great deal of work on vermiculture. You can access her website at: If you contact her via email or phone, don’t hesitate to mention that I referred you.

Good luck,


Dear James,

We have the first scientific book on vermicomposting coming out in early September 2010. Earthworms, Organic Waste and Environmental Management is being published by CRC Press. It will contain 34 chapters with contributors from all over the world.

Most of the vermicompost studies conducted in the United States have taken place at Ohio State University. To access a lot of their studies you can go to the Soil Ecology Lab website which is linked to my website.

My website is When you get to this site, you will first see information about my upcoming vermiculture conference in May. It is the only training in the U.S. on large-scale vermicomposting. The top vermicomposting researchers will be sharing the results of their experiments.

If you scroll down and click on Vermicomposting, you will find a long list of resources, including the link to the Soil Ecology Lab.

I hope you can join us at the conference.

All the best,

Rhonda Sherman
Biological & Agricultural Engineering
NC State University Box 7625
Raleigh, NC 27695

Hi James,

There are literally thousands of these studies.

Here is a good one from a respected source.’s%20report.htm

If you google Clive Edwards (Considered the foremost authority on worms), or Rhonda Sherman at the University of North Carolina, they will also have lots of publications.


Jerry Gach

A colleague forwarded these postings along to me. There are a couple of studies available on the Worm Power (large vermicomposting operation in Avon, NY) website: If these are not sufficient, or you would like to know about more studies, let me know - I have a contact at Cornell University that is doing research.
Adam Michaelides
Program Manager, Compost Education

This seems like a good resource. I haven’t really delved into it yet, but I think this is what you are referring to.

Notably, this research indicates that vermicompost seems to help eliminate contaminates in soil.


Manure Safety Rules

Check this source out on how to handle manure organically. Not all manures
have e-coli, but it is best to treat them as if they do.

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Page last modified on August 08, 2010, at 09:40 AM