Cathy Nesbitt first became aware of Byoearth and its work in
Guatemala through "the random universe of Twitter,"
Byoearth is an organization working with the poorest of the poor
in Guatemala: the residents of Guatemala City's garbage dump.
Its goal is to eliminate extreme poverty, through vermiculture
- the use of worms to break down organic waste, creating valuable
compost. With support from Fundacion Junkabal, Byoearth is promoting
entrepreneurship, assisting 45 women to carry out worm-based composting,
and sell the organic fertilizer produced.
Nesbitt received a tweet from Byoearth - and as the founder of
Cathy's Crawly Composters, a vermiculture company in Bradford
that promotes the use of red wiggler worms, she was intrigued.
She tweeted back, "What a cool thing - Red Wigglers are the
way" - and received a reply from Byoearth Director, Maria
Rodriguez, inviting her down to Guatemala.
Nesbitt hopes to visit the Central American country this March,
meeting with Byoearth, viewing the project, and helping to market
the finished compost.
"My goal down there is really to enthuse them about the
worms," says Nesbitt. "From a selfish standpoint, they're
doing down there what I want to do here" - to use vermiculture
as a tool for education, engagement, and sustainable business.
In her own experience, presenting information on worms and vermiculture
in seminars, "worm parties" and classrooms, "the
worms are transformative," she says - not only turning organic
waste into gardeners' "black gold," but creating a new
understanding of the natural world, and transforming lives.
"I've heard that over and over from teachers, that some
of the kids who are on the fringes - it helps them," Nesbitt
says. "It's so novel. There are so many ways the worms can
Her own personal goal is to eventually establish a Vermicomposting
Education Centre. Cathy's Crawly Composters celebrates its 10th
anniversary this year and, says Nesbitt, "I think this is
the year to move it forward."
The trip to Guatemala could be a key part of that - "bringing
back the model of what they're doing in Guatemala, the passion...
and 'spreading the worm'."
Nesbitt is now looking for sponsorship, to help cover the estimated
$2,500 cost of her trip - and to donate vermicomposting supplies
that could be shipped to Guatemala, for the Byoearth project.
For more information or to support her trip, call 905-775-9495
or visit www.cathyscomposters.com Donations can be made through
PayPal, or by cheque.
Nesbitt can also be followed on www.twitter.com/Squirm
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