By: Tina Sibbald
with notes from James McNeill
Photo courtesy of Jay Gutteridge/Bradford Topic
Without awareness, action is impossible.
Landfill sites are spread throughout our globe, and it is agreed by
experts that they don't provide a sustainable way getting rid of our
garbage. The pollution and methane gas produced is a major contributor
to global warming. Few people want to live near a landfill site or even
have one associated with the community in which they reside. Consequently,
the urgency in finding a way to move away from this type of waste disposal
grows exponentially with each passing year.
Enter Bradford's own Cathy Nesbitt. Her company, Cathy's Crawly Composters
has the distinction of being the Bradford Board of Trade's first member.
She has parlayed her life long passion for the environment into an extremely
successful business venture. "I'm an avid environmentalist and my mission
is to raise awareness about vermicomposting" she says. Vermicomposting
is, simply stated, composting with specialty worms known as 'Red Wigglers'.
These worms produce a black casting which is a high grade natural fertilizer.
Her goal is to collect the organic waste from the commercial sector,
thereby relieving some of the demand on our landfill sites.
Cathy's Crawly Composters has grown in a short time to support the
Nesbitt family as well as one part-time staff member. By selling her
worms, bins and bedding to customers as far away as California via mail
order, Cathy has branded her company so her clients associate it with
doing something good for the environment. It's a win-win situation.
Cathy Nesbitt has a background in psychology and experience as a social
worker; skills which help her deal effectively with people on a daily
basis. And of course, humour helps when one is selling a product with
a 'yuck' factor. Cathy is never happier than when she is educating the
public about the incredible work that worms can do for the environment.
One pound of worms and their descendants can transform an average family's
organic waste into rich fertilizer. The "Worm Lady", as she has become
affectionately known, has spent countless hours in classrooms and at
media events championing the benefits of vennicomposting.
Putting a new spin on children's birthday celebrations, Cathy hosts
vermi-inspired parties, wherein traditional candy and toy loot bags
are replaced with a milk or juice carton full of worms. The birthday
child receives a four gallon bin filled with these crawly creatures.
The young ones also learn while they are having fun: Facts such as for
every pound of organic waste, two pounds of worms are required. Worms
are self-propagating and self-regulating so the vermicomposter will
not smell if they are not over fed, and their output is ideal for making
your plants and gardens healthier.
Environmentalism has created an opportunity for entrepreneurs like
Bradford's own Cathy Nesbitt. By selling the benefits of caring for
the environment a subject with which we should all be concerned, she
has carved a niche which fulfills her passion while at the same time
serving a greater good by reaching out to, and educating the world around
Local innovation with global reach. This is every Entrepreneur's dream
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