Cathy's Crawly Composters, Vermicomposting, Indoor composting with Red Wiggler Worms


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Cathy's Crawly Composters

Guatemala 2012



























There is a certain symmetry in Guatemala. The beauty of the land is the result of a monumental struggle below the earth. Guatemala has 37 volcanoes (four of which are active). The backdrop in Guatemala is always striking landscapes. Similarly, the Guatemalans are a beautiful and friendly people that have pushed their way through hardship. You can still feel the echoes of a bitter civil war (1960-1996). Happily, Guatemala is starting to settle into political and economic stability.

Cathy meets with Anne Lossing of Project Ix-Canaan and Maria Rodriguez of Byoearth to discuss Guatemala's wormy issues.

Cathy's Crawly Composters and Byoearth is a partnership that stretches all the way from Bradford to the very edge of the continent. This is an effort to bring economic benefits to some of poorest people in the world. Maria Rodriguez of Byoearth contacted Cathy's Crawly Composters and soon convinced Cathy that her expertise and leadership in the worm world was needed to help propel Byoearth's vermiculture business efforts into a more sustainable and marketable business franchise.

The Byoearth base of operations is located on a picturesque coffee plantation in Quetzateltenango. Tucked into the northern slopes of the Sierra Madres, this is an ideal location for a worm farm. The plantation cast offs provided a close and constant food source.

Our first vermiculture sessions were held at Byoearth with some of the local coffee workers. A good information session and a chance to exercise some very rusty Spanish language skills.

All too soon we were off to El Remate, in northern Guatemala, to meet with Anne Lossing. Anne is an ex-pat Canadian who volunteers with Ix-Canaan (Guardians of the Rainforest). El Remate is near the Tikal National Park, one of Guatemala's favourite vacation spots. We had a spirited workshop with both native Guatemalans and a number of foreign visitors. After the workshops Anne, Maria and I were able to get together for some in depth conversations about the worms, local soil conditions and the general state of vermiculture in Guatemala and Canada. These talks were very informative and good ideas were exchanged on both sides.

After El Remate, it was back to Guatemala city to meet up with some of the local worm workers that lived near central America's largest dump. Fundacion Junkabal is a project sponsored by Actec, an NGO set up in 1982 to support vocational training for the poor and marginalized. We had a couple of sessions with over 60 women.

Maria introduced some of the local worm ladies who were justifiably proud of their vermicomposting facility. These women have built something extraordinary and sustainable here. Hopefully some of our suggestions helped tweak the facility to make things a little more effective.

Michelle from Techno-Serv oversaw wormy projects around Sacatepequez near Guatemala City. With her help we were able to hold vermicomposting workshops in Sumpango and San Bartolomé.

The facilities were a testament to low-tech ingenuity. To move the worm food from the receiving area down to the vermicomposters an aluminum trough was employed. Instead of using gas or electricity to grind up the worm food, pedal power was employed.

Over all, it was a very successful 2 weeks in Guatemala. We visited 5 different communities, spoke to 6 different groups and made contact with over 60 worm workers. The exchange of ideas about vermiculture was rich and exciting. We even talked with one group of women who are developing some interesting worm inspired jewelry. Stay tuned for an announcement of when these items will be available.

A special thank you to Maria and her entire family for being truly gracious hosts. They welcomed me into their home and their beautiful country.

I made some great contacts and established what I believe will be enduring friendships. I look forward to meeting up with many of these people again in the future to explore even more wormy possibilities. Thank you to everyone who helped make this experience a reality.

In Gratitude,



Once again we would like to thank our sponsors
for making this goal a reality:



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Cathy's Crawly Composters

Bradford, Ontario
Local: (905) 775-9495
Toll Free: 1-888-775-9495