One20 Farm Uses Worms to Get Rid of Waste

Several years ago, a sustainably-minded woman with some old school hippie influences married a chef/food nerd −their words− and together they founded One20 Farm in their little backyard garden.

Today, Kellie and Jeremy Gedert’s worm composting business is a family affair, with even their young children lending a hand− literally.

Casie, 10, and Milo, 6, often feed worms and sift worm castings− “their favorite,” Jeremy says. “They also help out whenever we do farmers markets or presentations.”

The reason the Gederts do what they do is simple.

“Food waste is a big problem,” Jeremy says. “Composting can recycle nearly 100 percent of vegetative food waste and turn it back into a useable and valuable product while reducing our negative impact on our environment.”

Read our interview with Jeremy to learn why the Gederts began selling composting bins, what their bestseller is, and how worm composting benefits the environment.

Melanie McIntyre: You’ve described your farm as “small” and “urban.” How big is it and where is it?

Jeremy Gedert: We operate primarily out of our home in North Linden, where we have large indoor wooden bins. We also have a windrow at Flying J Farm in Johnstown and will be building another windrow behind Two Caterers’ company in North Columbus.

MM: When did One20 Farm begin selling worm composting bins?

JG: We began about four years ago with single compartment boxes −sort of looked like worm coffins− and what I call the worm “sock.”  A short time later, I developed our own design for a pass through bin that we call the Worm Hive because it resembles a beehive.

MM: What inspired you to sell worm composting bins?

JG: We began with the intention of selling worms and it just made sense to sell bins as well, so I began building designs that worked for us and selling them to other people.

MM: Tell me a bit about your bins.

JG: We began with three designs, each with its different appeal, but we are currently scaling down to our two most popular designs. The single compartment box is just what it sounds like− a wooden box built custom to order depending on the size our customer wants. They work well for a larger quantity of worms, like a family of four or more may need.

Our other design −the Worm Hive− is our biggest seller by far. It is what is referred to as a “pass through” system, meaning it allows the worms to pass through different layers, leaving a layer full of castings behind them for you to harvest and use for fertilizer.

MM: How many worms do you usually sell to customers?

JG: We typically sell a pound of worms −about 1,000 worms− at a time. Since most people are somewhat apprehensive about killing their worms, I recommend one pound to get started and once they are used to the process they can either buy more worms if they need them or they can let the worms reproduce on their own. One of the benefits of worm composting is that as long as you don’t kill them, they don’t wear out.

MM: What are the green benefits associated with worm composting?

JG: They are many! Worms can process food waste into a useable product faster than aerobic composting− two to three months vs. four to six months. Worm castings can be used directly or made into worm tea −refreshing!− to cover a larger area and help increase fruiting and foliage on plants. Worm tea can be helpful in keeping plants healthy thus preventing disease.

Worms have also been shown to reduce pathogens from the products they ingest and make nutrients more readily available to plants. The castings can also increase water retention in soil. If I continue I will look like a huge worm nerd and bore your readers to death with science stuff.

MM: You’re also doing community outreach, right?

JG: We are working to become more involved with local schools, teaching kids and adults about the importance of composting as a sustainable practice. We have worked with Columbus Parks and Recreation, as well as a few area elementary schools, and we’d like to continue to grow these kinds of community relationships. So if anyone is interested, they can reach us through our website.

To learn more about One20 Farm, visit One20Farm.com.