This is the eighth in a series of posts highlighting hunger-related activities that happened over the summer at ELCA Outdoor Ministry locations with the help of Education/Advocacy grants from ELCA World Hunger. The following is from Agape Kure Beach in Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina.
Worms. Food Waste. Campers. You might be thinking, “Wow, what a mess!” or maybe even “Ewww, gross!” It may be a little messy, but at Camp Agape we have been teaching campers about how to reduce our carbon footprints and world hunger by combining worms and food waste! For the last two years, Camp Agape has been vermiposting (composting with worms). Volunteers built vermiposting pits outside our dining hall and extra worms (red wigglers) were bought to start the process.
After each meal campers separate their waste into two tubs: worm-friendly and trash. Examples of waste that worms can eat include: fruit or vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, newspaper, and other organic waste. Our campers and guests catch on very quickly not only to what foods can be composted but just how much food waste they create. Campers also take part in maintaining the vermiposting bins: adding food waste, shredding extra newspaper to cover the composting materials, and using water from our rain barrels to make sure there is plenty of moisture in the bins. The more aware campers are of their waste, the more likely they are to think twice when piling up their plates with unnecessary, large serving sizes!
Once they get into the habit of it, campers and guests find vermiposting easy to do, but often stop vermiposting when they leave simply because they don’t have vermiposting bins at home. This summer with the help of the ELCA World Hunger Education/Advocacy grant we received, we were able to provide campers with the materials needed to take what they learned at camp about vermiposting home with them. Campers in our SIT (Staff In Training) – Servant and Nature! Camp programs made their own vermiposting bins. Camp Agape’s naturalist, Mir Youngquist-Thurow, led the sessions on how to create the bins, compost at home, and why composting can be so beneficial in our world. We hope that campers will not only use their bins at home to continue vermiposting but also as a tool to teach their family, friends, and neighbors.