364901263_07f376f69b_m As a family of four, we generate our fair share of organic waste, most of it fruit and vegetables. Through the summer months, we were pretty diligent in feeding our compost heap, but as the snow set in, it became more difficult to make it work. In locating the compost structure, I was mindful of the need to keep it close to the house for convenience, but felt that an overriding concern was the proximity of bears to the house. In summer, this part of the Kootenays is renowned for it’s larger wildlife, and we are often reminded of the need to be diligent with garbage bins, fruit trees and of course compost piles.


Our compost pile is double fenced with 4 foot high wire, not enough to stop a bear, but from experience, it’s enough to deter their inquisitive nature from making it a regular stop on their daily wanderings.

However, all this distance and fencing makes it less practical to use it during the winter. With 2 or more feet of snow it can be tough just getting down to the pile to add material, in summer though, we are down in the garden every second day to water the veggie patch anyway.

This brings me, in a round about fashion to return to the idea of worm farming. We had one in Australia, a structure about two feet high, one wide and two long made from recycled black plastic with multiple trays. It would be simple for us to keep this in the cold room during the winter months, and under the deck in the summer. Worm farms, when operating properly have a pleasant earthy smell, and are a great way to introduce the kids to gardening and waste reduction.

I’ll send some information to municipalities (including myself) around here on the deals that they can get if its a public program. The immediate benefits to the municipalities are a reduction in the organic waste-stream at landfill, an increased sense of awareness on what food is for some critters, and general all round environmental goodness. One company that has this type of deal is All Things Organic, which has a Canadian branch in Kamloops, BC.

Published by Mike Thomas

Mike Thomas P.Eng. ENV SP, is the author of UrbanWorkbench.com and Director of Engineering at the City of Revelstoke in the Interior of British Columbia, Canada.