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The Worm Cafe: Mid-scale Vermicomposting of Lunchroom Wastes

Binet Payne helped reduce her middle school’s waste disposal fees by recycling food wastes with redworms. Basing her system on Mary Appelhof’s popular how-to book, Worms Eat My Garbage, Binet tells in The Worm Cafe how she inspired students, colleagues, food services staff, and the board to support a vermicomposting program. The Worm Cafe contains work sheets, a letter to parents, posters, quizzes, and a 30-page annotated guide to Binet’s most useful curricular materials on animals, plants, nature, and values divided into sections for children and for adults.

This comprehensive how-to manual gives complete steps for

  • Conducting a school-wide waste audit
  • Incorporating lunchroom waste-composting into a recycling program
  • Determining worm bin size, location, and costs
  • What to use for worm bedding
  • Recognizing earthworm anatomy
  • Teaching about ecosystems and foodwebs with worm bins
  • Setting up worm bins
  • Maintaining worm bins
  • Managing food-waste flow at your school or business
  • Harvesting worm castings
  • Student success with project-based learning

About the author

Binet Payne teaches children, not subjects. They become self-learners who identify, define, and carry out their own projects while vermicomposting and gardening. A graduate of Sonoma State University, with teaching credentials from Dominican College of San Rafael, Binet is currently project director for the North Coast Rural Challenge Network, helping students become stewards of their communities.

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