Worms that work make organic waste management accessible to all homes

After worms had to give way to a new road at the Fresh Mark distribution centre in Brackenfell, a subsidiary of the Shoprite Checkers group, the management generously decided to hand over their earthworm project to the Department of Agriculture at Elsenburg for training purposes. Mr Johan Marx of Cence, a community development organisation, played a key role in handing over the project, and on Tuesday, 9 November 2010, Minister Gerrit van Rensburg officially received the earthworm project from Fresh Mark.

The project consists of 120 special crates with ± 200 000 Australian “red riggers”, together with a tunnel structure. Marius Mostert of AfriStone in Paarl donated the paving for the tunnel. The Elsenburg Institute for Agricultural Training is particularly excited about the project, since it will make many young people aware of recycling and waste management. “But we also want to introduce the public to these wonderful worms, so that they become a reality in each home” said Mr Marius Paulse, Head of the Elsenburg Institute for Agricultural Training. He also invited the industry and the private sector to share developments around waste management with Elsenburg at any time so that they can be adopted into the curriculum.

The throwaway culture needs to be changed, and earthworms can assist with recycling domestic waste. “It is a joyful day when the industry, sponsors, researchers and training take each other’s hands”, said Minister van Rensburg. He quoted an old slogan which reads: “From the earth comes the good” and the earthworm project is an embodiment of this slogan. Minister van Rensburg made a plea for group pressure so that each home would ultimately be using earthworms for recycling and in this way contribute to the reduction of our carbon footprint. “The group pressure should be similar to planting a tree with each overseas flight that someone undertakes”, Mr van Rensburg requested. Cence, led by Mt Marx, arranged for a training video to be made by AgriTV, and a pocket manual will also be available in the near future. These aids will make it much easier for the general public to start their own earthworm projects at home.

Pieter van Zyl of Fresh Mark says “It is a privilege to leave the project in such capable hands as those of the Department of Agriculture: Western Cape, and we look forward to future collaboration.” AP