NCSU Vermiculture Conference topic: Vermiculture in India: Agriculture, Solid Waste Management and Habitat Restoration

Speaker: Peter Ash, StraightAsh Evironmental Solutions

Here are my notes:

Peter showed slides of different vermicomposting systems in India. Precomposting was done before adding worms. Cow dung was often composted. Common plant inputs include coconut husks and bamboo leaves. Showed slides from farms and a zoo.

He did a waste audit on an ashram. They had food waste, cow dung, plant waste and wood shavings so they built a thermophillic and windrow worm composting system.

Next major project: he was called back to India to start a system at a large hospital on an island behind the hospital. The hospital has 3.5 tons of food waste daily. Hospital food waste vermicomposting facility – has a cover and a moat around to keep ants away. But a big problem on the site turned out to be buried hospital waste. It turned into a major cleanup and remediation project of recycling, incinerating and composting. They were composting 8 tons of material a day. Compost was then spread over the soil. Built a windrow tractor, trommel and agricultural shredder. As a part of the hospital project, they also did a trial of composting water hyacinth grown in contaminated water — vermicomposting cleaned out heavy metals.

Hospital projects were successful so they were given government funding for more facilities including greenhouses. There was a huge reduction of heavy metals in soil analysis. Part of the new facility will be a covered windrow system with rain barrels. Precomposted material will be brought to a facility called a worm racetrack.


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