MaMa Bear Oden’s Preschool has joined the Red Army!

A pound of my super composting Red Wigglers is now in MaMa Bear Oden’s hands!  Mrs. Oden is the proud, happy owner of MaMa Bear Oden’s Preschool in Bend. Vermiculture is just one of the school’s highlights.  The preschool inspires the children to make healthy, earth loving choices with MaMa Bear’s guidance. These learning centers are valuable, and I applaud MaMa Bear!

Some of the school’s features include:

•non-toxic cleaners

•reducing, reusing and recycling

•no waste Arts and Crafts center

•daily walks to the community playground

•organic garden

Role modeling earth loving choices will create healthy kids and a healthy planet!

Relationships evolve and so do food scraps!

I’m sorry.   This is not a very good picture.  Most of you are probably wondering why I even included this in my post since it is such a bad picture.  Well let  me explain, and then I’ll get to the “meat” of the post.  Here goes.  I just have trouble blogging if I can’t add a picture.  In my opinion, there’s something about reading a post with pictures.  When I read a post from other bloggers and there are pictures included, I scan those first to see what I’m going to be reading.  It brings the post to life, and it’s a way for me to relate to the writer. Blog posts are like short stories and some are similar to children’s picture books, connecting the pictures to the story.  Another tidbit of info for you, I am also a visual learner and therefore project that into my posts assuming my readers are too! Are you? Hope so! So on to the reason for this post!

This picture is so vague!  I could be writing about the car, the lampost, or the building.  I am not the best picture taker…photographer..(photographer sounds so professional). Any way, I took this picture in July and the purpose was to remember the name of the building, Discovery Park so I could call them and set up a meeting.  Discovery Park, as it is mentioned on it’s website, is a senior (58-80ish year old), affordable housing community. Last July, I had the opportunity to speak to the residents and share my interest in vermicomposting.  We chatted about the food scraps and the benefits of composting.  The residents were wonderful and fun!  One in particular, Suzy, was really interested in the process.  She and I talked for a bit after the meeting and set up a time for me to collect her food scraps. I have been collecting her food waste for 5 months, and she also got her neighbor to jump aboard!  So I visit Discovery Park Lodge once a week and my worms get some extra treats.

Weekly collections have truned into weekly visits.  It’s human nature.  As time goes on, relationships evolve.  In my mind, she is no longer the “lady I have to get food scraps from”.  She is Suzy, a friend I need to visit.

Deschutes Composting Facility

Members of Deschutes Recycling and St.Charles Health Care Center and me! I got to wear a vest, too!!!

Today, I had the coolest opportunity to visit the Deschutes Recycling Compost Facility  housed at the Knott Landfill!  I loved every single minute of the visit and couldn’t stop the smile from shining the whole, entire time!  There’s something so inspiring and motivating to see composting on such a massive level.

This week, I had a meeting with members of St. Charles Health Care Center to talk about their planned community garden and learn more about their pre and post consumer waste which is being collected by Deschutes Recycling.  I was fascinated by the composting program and asked if I could tag along on their visit to the composting facility.  I had to see it in action.  Their set-up is truly amazing.

Brown and Green waste ready to be moved to the next phase of the composting process.

On the composting site, the food waste travels to 4 areas before it is ready to be usable compost for your gardens.  (Carlos took amazing video footage and will be edited sometime soon!)  This photo shows the compost moving from the 2nd phase to the 3rd phase.  This is a mixture of brown and green organic waste.  You can see the brown waste on the bottom and the green food waste in the middle and a bit of brown on the top.  The drop box also has black tubes inserted to pump in air so aerobic decomposition occurs.  This process takes about 30 days and temperatures reach about 130F which kills the pathogens in the compost.

Can you find the white sprout?

Here’s a close up of the compost.  They are doing a terrific job keeping it aerated.  A sure sign of aerobic decomposition is the smell it gives off while breaking down.  This batch has an earthy smell.  Good Job Deschutes!  This will then move to a windrow to continue decomposing and then move to the screening process to remove any pieces that didn’t compost, such as large pieces of bone.

There are only 2 facilities participating in this food composting program on a commercial level.  Soon, Deschutes Recycling will continue to provide this service to many more commercial businesses in Deschutes County.  Very cool, very cool indeed!

Happy Wormin’

Pretty cool stuff! Just a piece of correspondance between me and Frito-Lay


I am so excited to begin my composting experiment with the compostable bag!  Thanks for creating this product.  I am promoting the bag and really don’t care about the noise.  I understand Frito Lay needs to listen to consumers in order for the product to survive, but was upset to see that there was a change back to the plastic bags while research is being conducted.  I am the owner of Wonder Worman, a composting service business in Bend, Oregon.  I sell Red Wiggler composting worms and worm bins.  I also work with the Environmental Center, setting up our local schools with worm bins and composting bins.  Please view my blog and web site.  I will be updating the blog with the observations of my experiment on a regular basis.

Best to the business!

Laurie – Red Wiggler Merchant

Frito-Lay’s response

Hi Laurie,

Thank you for your enthusiastic response on Snack Chat about our SunChips compostable package.  I’m not an expert on composting but have been told that the package does not break down as well in vermi-compost, because it is a cold compost method.  The ideal compost temperature needed for our package to decompose is 120-140 degrees.  To achieve this temperature there are some great suggestions on  Your business venture sounds like an exciting one, and certainly needed with the growing sentiment we’ve seen from consumers about being good stewards of our planet.  We wish you the very best in your endeavor and thank you again for supporting our earth-friendly initiative.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Best regards,

Linda Phelps

Frito-Lay Consumer Affairs

School Visit

This has to be the highlight of my Wonder Worming job! I love to go visit the schools and see kids, teachers and staff members eager to learn about worms. I also like to gross them out with some really vivid and cool photos of decomposing food and the red wigglers feasting on it!

Seven Peaks, a beautiful, private school on Bend, recently bought 5 pounds of my earth loving red wigglers. They are creating a school wide composting project to reduce their usable waste and then use the rich organic fertilizer that the worms produce for their community gardens. I will be guiding them on their journey! Stay tuned for future progress.

Bend has been Growing!

I had the chance to speak at The Environmental Center in Bend on Feb 10, 2009. The night was sponsored by The Juniper Club Sierra Group. The turn out was terrific, 40 plus and their enthusiasm was amazing. The focus was on the benefits of composting with worms and also how to set up worm bins. Many of the people came with their own plastic bins, shredded newspaper and peat moss. I was able to share my experience and show lots of photos.