This Worm Has Turned

Posted on Aug 4, 2016

Cathy Nesbitt, Worm Advocate
Cathy Nesbitt, Worm Advocate

Cathy Nesbitt of Bradford, Ont., put aside a long-standing fear of worms in 2002 and opened Cathy’s Crawly Composters, a business to support vermiculture. Worms are superb at turning organic waste into high-quality compost — “black gold,” as Nesbitt calls it. And there’s no one like her when it comes to promoting its value.

What is Cathy’s Crawly Composters as a business?

We’re an environmental education business. We sell everything for vermicomposting, but what I discovered early on was that people didn’t really know about it. Or they had preconceptions about having worms in the house — worms escaping, attracting fruit flies, that kind of stuff. People don’t always know you can avoid those issues if you manage your composter well. So, I started doing education workshops. That’s become a big part of the business — more than 75,000 students to date. I also do lunch-and-learns. I go into businesses and talk about how they can become more sustainable. I also do school assemblies and horticultural events. Of course, we also sell worms, worm composters, books and other resources.

Who are your clients?

Originally, my goal was to service the condo market. Vermicomposting is a way to manage organic scraps in their apartment. As it turned out, I also have a lot of clients who live in houses.

How did you become interested in vermicomposting?

Actually, I used to be afraid of worms. About 25 years ago — 10 years before I started the business — I looked after a teacher’s worm bin for a summer. As an avid gardener and composter, I knew the value of worm compost, but I didn’t want to have worms in my house. It wasn’t a great experience for me.

A few years later, I graduated from university and I got a job at a group home, which was on a farm. I set them up with a composting program. At the same time, I started researching worm composting again and I realized the magic of it. Worms eat about half their weight every day; they turn garbage into black gold. I had a shift in my thinking. I started to love worms and understand why we need them.

When did the business start?

That was in 2002. There was an ad in the local paper that said, “Are you a woman with a business idea?” It was for a course to write a business plan. So, I said to my husband, “I’m quitting my job. I’m taking this course. And I’m starting a worm business.”

What do people who don’t have large yards and gardens do with the compost their worms create?

Worms actually reduce the volume of waste by up to 80 per cent. You don’t need a lot for your garden, but it makes a great gift for your gardening friends. You can add compost anywhere, and it’s not going to do any harm. It adds much-needed micro-organisms into the soil. We’re feeding the soil. Compost is applied on a regular basis. It’s not like chemical fertilizer. Compost is living soil.

How much of an impact can composting have on reducing waste?

The impact is massive. Forty per cent of the food that is produced ends up as waste. All of our food waste can be composted. You leave out meat and dairy with a worm bin, but there is a lot we can do. While doing research for my business I heard that a half-kilogram of worms and their descendants can transform a tonne of organic waste into compost each year. That’s about equal to the amount of organic waste produced annually by an average Canadian family. What’s next for Cathy’s Crawly Composters? We’re going to step up our efforts to raise awareness through our school workshops and our education outreach. I think this is important work. When we garden, we are really soil farmers. Look after the soil, and the soil takes care of the plants.

Reprinted from Canadian Wildlife magazine. Get more information or subscribe now!

Local posts

71315395 2302032723440293 8625746772343390208 n

Another GREAT night at the Black Dog in orono with ROSEWOOD COUNTRY

Posted on Oct 2, 2019
Rosewood Country put on a “fantastic’ show at the Black Dog in Orono on Saturday night. It is such a...
Peterborough Read more
64489572 2508314285848447 8405888435843235840 o

Anything for Alzheimer's

Posted on Jun 26, 2019
Have you heard? We have a new fundraising site! If you're interested in hosting a bake sale, running, or doing...
Woodstock Read more
1st link

First Link

Posted on Jun 26, 2019
Have you heard about First Link® our referral program? Whether you are living with Alzheimer’s disease, another form of dementia,...
Woodstock Read more
20190609 150953

Voices Chamber Choir presents: "Handel and Haydn"

Posted on Jun 10, 2019
Handel's 4 Coronation Anthems were performed on Sunday, June 9th at this choir concert, just after Queen Elizabeth II celebrated...
Bloor West Village Read more
Dsc 1867

Dundas Valley Orchestra "Looking back and looking forward" Concert

Posted on May 27, 2019
On Sunday May 26, 2019 the Dundas Valley Orchestra held their final concert of their 40th anniversary year at St....
Dundas Read more
Dsc 0736

Dundas Valley Orchestra "Looking Back and Looking Forward"

Posted on Apr 10, 2019
Dundas Valley Orchestra Concert "Looking Back and Looking Forward" Sunday May 26, 2019 3-5 PM at St. Paul's United Church...
Dundas Read more
Dsc 0779

Dundas Valley Orchestra "A Jewel in the Valley" Concert

Posted on Jan 30, 2019
On Sunday Afternoon January 27, 2019 the Dundas Valley Orchestra gave a concert at St. Paul's United Church in Dundas...
Dundas Read more
Azmt cmyklogocolour

Zach Hofer, "Zach Makes Tracks" Named Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy

Posted on Nov 15, 2018
Zach Hofer, “Zach Makes Tracks”, Named Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy Central Ontario: Throughout November, more than 50,000 people across North...
Simcoe County Read more
1  7

Dundas Valley Orchestra at 40!

Posted on Nov 7, 2018
On Sunday November 4, 2108 the Dundas Valley Orchestra performed at St. Paul's United Church in Dundas to kick off...
Dundas Read more
Cheryl ivaniski

Local Cheryl Ivaniski Receives World Recognized Quilly Award

Posted on Sep 24, 2018
Burlington, ON: Sept. 24, 2018: Local Burlington best-selling author, professional speaker, health authority, and founder of the Lifestyle Wellness Centre,...
Greater Toronto Area Read more
20180613 194730

Silver-Wood June Meeting

Posted on Jun 19, 2018
Silver-Wood W.I. had our June meeting was this week as usual we had a great time. Thank you so much...
Halton Hills Read more
Dsc 9729

Dundas Valley Orchestra "Music from the Lands of the Midnight Sun" Concert

Posted on May 29, 2018
On Sunday afternoon May 27, 2018 the Dundas Valley Orchestra performed their spring concert "Lands of the Midnight Sun" at...
Dundas Read more
Councillor dave monk

Local Author Book signing was a huge success!

Posted on Apr 22, 2018
Author Shay Lee Soleil would like to thank everyone who came out to the Chapters Book Signing in the terrible...
Windsor Read more
1  4

Dundas Valley Orchestra "An Afternoon at the Opera"

Posted on Jan 31, 2018
On Sunday afternoon January 28, 2018 The Dundas Valley Orchestra performed opera favourites with the Dundas Celebration Singers, and guest...
Dundas Read more
Gfc logo

The Ganaraska Forest Centre – 40 years of Outdoor Education

Posted on Jan 31, 2018
Research shows that children learn best when they participate in real-life, hands-on activities. The formal name for those experiences is...
Northumberland County Read more