Practical Solutions Money Worm Farming for Profit Part 2

About a practical proposal to help you make money while helping the enviornment by becoming a worm farmer.

SOLUTIONS--PRACTICAL PROPOSALS AND BRAND-NEW APPROACHES TO A MULTITUDE OF PROBLEMS

MONEY

How to Make a Fortune While Saving the Planet

Only recently have scientists, especially in this country and in Japan, come upon the inspirational idea that worm power can be harnessed to help reverse the pollution unleashed on the planet in the name of progress. The Japanese equivalent of the Environmental Protection Agency has set 100 million earthworms to the task of eating contaminated paper sludge and pulp in Tokyo.

According to Robert Rodale, an expert on organic farming, a Japanese textile company has ordered 40 tons of worms because earthworms can decompose hard-to-dispose-of textile wastes.

In Ohio, coal mining companies have successfully tested the usefulness of earthworms in restoring the wasteland left by strip-mining. The rocky, coarsened excavation site is covered with decaying leaves; then a benevolent invading force of worms is brought in to digest the leaves and build--though slowly and laboriously--a new layer of topsoil.

Rodale also reports that there is hope that worms, by disposing of the mountainous urban waste problem known to laymen as garbage, will pull off the ecological coup of the decade. Eleven million worms could eat the garbage of a community of 70,000 people.

And there is a bonus. Whatever the worm eats (no matter how contaminated, polluted, distasteful, or wasteful) comes out compost (fertilizer produced by natural means). Chemical fertilizers; which have petroleum bases, are in short supply now and have doubled in price in the past two years. If you couple fertilizer shortage and rising prices with the facts that almost all the world's arable land is presently being farmed and that the world's population is growing at a rate of 2% a year, it is evident that alternative sources of fertilizer must be explored to avert famine.

Worm farmers, however, are hard put to meet current commercial orders. The question, then, is where will all the worms come from for the cornucopia of planet-saving projects?

The call is out for worm farmers. The Dept. of Agriculture estimates it will take 10 or 12 years for the supply of earthworms to catch up with the demand. Large worm breeders like Western Bait, International Home Fish Breeders, and North American Bait Farms (all located in California) are drafting backyards all over the country. For the low, low price of only $500, a prospective farmer can buy a bin of worms and all the equipment and technical assistance needed to go into worm farming for himself. Various companies guarantee to buy back all the worms produced at the going market price--an insurance plan that might assure any investor.

Stephen Glantz and Caliope Brattlestreet New York, N.Y.

Source: Reprinted from Harper's Weekly (Apr. 19, 1976).

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