Growing Compost

When your favorite food recovery operation hosts America’s favorite urban farming/vermiculture advocate, you go. Last night, Inter-Faith Food Shuttle hosted Will Allen, who spoke about the operations at the sustainable, renewable, local, urban, awesome Milwaukee headquarters at Growing Power.

Tuesday's eventThe event served as a kick-off for a community garden at a non-profit medical center. As you can see, the garden is coming right along. We got to inspect the rows of lettuce, marvel at the beautiful chard.

IFFS Farm Director Sun Butler gave a worm-bin demonstration. And graduates of the organization’s culinary job training program, provided the evening’s refreshments.

Allen’s talk followed, and it was inspiring to see what can be done on 3 acres of Milwaukee land. Row crops, potted plants, aquaculture, composting, vermiculture, solar energy, anaerobic digestion…it boggles a food waste blogger’s mind.

It’s all about the soil, Allen stressed. He talked a whole lot about composting and using worms to create compost tea. The guy clearly loves his worms, which he called “our livestock.” While Allen began with 30 pounds of red wigglers, his brood now weighs 30,000!

And you can’t have that many worms without something to feed them. Allen said that Growing Power accepted 10 million pounds of food waste in 2009 to compost, with and without worms. Yet, he called that a “drop in the bucket in a city like Milwaukee.” That’s a big bucket.

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