Feb 152013

Ohio EPA Seeks Athens County Vermiculture Expertise

Columbus, Ohio (February 12, 2013) – The Ohio EPA Food Scraps and Organics Recovery Initiative is part of a national movement to divert such items from landfills but numerous barriers are slowing the success of their efforts. They are investigating Vermiculture as a solution; it is an earthworm livestock operation that transforms huge amounts of food scraps and other organics into an extremely valuable soil amendment called vermicompost. The process also manifests numerous other social, economic and environmental benefits and has proven highly effective in homes, businesses, institutions and other commercial enterprises around the country.

This week’s 2013 Ohio EPA Food Scraps and Organics Recovery Stakeholders Summit in Columbus featured Vermiculture as a legitimate waste management alternative with Rhonda Sherman, a global vermiculture expert, and Kathy Jacobson, an Athens County earthworm farmer for 33 years, among the presenters.

Kathy Jacobson is the owner/operator of the Broadwell Hill Learning Center and Sustainable Tree Farm near Stewart, Ohio. She is also a member of the Athens’ Own Collaborative Business Network. Athens’ Own, established in 2001, is a community service enterprise manifesting systems of greater sustainability and resilience; distributing products and helping to weave local resources to meet community needs. In this case, the Athens’ Own Public Information Officer was dispatched to the event to help with documentation and produce video footage for Kathy and all stakeholders.

But, the collaborative efforts go further than that as many within the Athens’ Own Business Network also participate as food scraps and organic recovery team members. Jackie O’s, 9 Tables, Stewart MacDonald’s, Silverbridge Coffee, The Red Bird Ranch and others work together toward solutions; transforming 2,750 pounds per week into valuable resources instead of throwing these products into the landfill where they will add to the greenhouse gases building up in our atmosphere.

The attendees were smiling and laughing during Kathy’s entertaining presentation about her successful, off-grid vermiculture operation. Some expressed interest in pursuing vermiculture and others said that the way people in the Hills of Appalachia work together toward solutions inspired them with a sense of hope!

The Broadwell Hill Learning Center sells Ohio bred Eisenia fetida vermicomposting earthworms, hosts workshops, sustainable living tours, and wilderness retreats. Visit www.athensown.biz for more info.

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