Vermicomposting Workshop-Appreciate the Soil and the Worms Underfoot
In April, the day before Earth Day, 20 HKUST community members gathered on campus to learn vermicomposting from Gary, the farm manager of Lok Yin Farm. The term ‘vermicomposting’ may not ring the bell, but it plays an important role in sustainable agriculture. Vermicomposting is a natural process in which earthworms convert agricultural, municipal, and industrial waste into nutritional compost - Vermicasts. Vermicast is not only a rich fertilizer to enrich soil fertility, but production of waste recycling and a circular economy.
The workshop included an introduction to vermicomposting, warm box/bedding preparation, and vermicast harvesting. The participants used waste materials such as cardboard boxes, ice-cream containers, and coffee grounds to build a vermicomposting system, which allowed them to fully experience the joy of urban farming and the beauty of nature. And during the workshop, Gary generously shared with everyone about his organic farm produces in Lamma Island, which were harvested by his 60+ trays of earthworm vermicompost. Participants could further learn about the application of vermicast through demonstration.
Although vermicomposting is such an important decomposition process, it has been forgotton by most of us living in the city. We are glad that this workshop educated us to appreciate the importance of vermicomposting in supporting the ecosystem. “I make a lot of little worm friends today and it's so much fun! Especially when it's led by an inspiring person like Gary. Though I only wish there would be more time for us to learn from him.” said Louis Law, our student participant at the workshop. Another participant Mak Tin Nok told us that, “Just like many others, I used to be scared of worms. There is something uncanny about the way their elongated body slowly contract and move forward, the way their slimy skin shrivel up in an unsettling shape. However, Gary’s vermicomposting workshop organized by the Sustainability Office changed the way I view these seemingly soulless creatures.”
The vermicomposting workshop ended with a great success and received positive feedback from participants. “We know more about the movement of celestial bodies than about the soil underfoot.” It is a quote from Leonardo da Vinci, mentioned by Gary in the workshop. To echo with it, we hope that by celebrating Earth Day, everyone of us in Hong Kong could care, explore, and cherish more about nature and the creatures which we live together on this planet.