Chicago urban farm teaches benefits of composting with worms, food scraps

Worm composting bins can be kept in your kitchen

Tracy Butler Image
Wednesday, May 17, 2023
West Pullman urban farm teaches benefits of composting
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A Chicago urban farm in West Pullman teaches community members the benefits of composting and how you can do it right from your kitchen.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Turning food scraps into compost helps reduce waste and put precious nutrients back into our soil.

That's why composting is great for environment and for plants and vegetables.

Natasha Nicholes is the executive director of the "We Sow We Grow Project."

"We're creating an environment for them (plants) that's going to be nutritionally dense because all of that ecosystem in the compost is going to make us good vegetables," Nicholes.

The organization's urban farm is headquartered right in the middle of the West Pullman neighborhood.

"Essentially, we just teach people how to grow food, wherever they may live," said Nicholes.

All the food grown at the urban farm is for the entire community, according to Nicholes.

We Sow We Grow also teaches community members how to compost from their own kitchens.

"This is our worm bin," explained Nicholes. "We have these in our house, we actually do keep these in our house."

Worms are nature's master composters.

"When they eat, they poop out the composting, so they're called worm cast," Nicholes said.

The castings serve as an organic fertilizer, helping plants grow larger and stronger.

Another indoor and worm-free option is a countertop canister.

"If you're just composting in your kitchen you keep it to just fruits and vegetable peels or the ends of fruits and vegetables and it should not smell at all," said Nicholes. "And you also shouldn't be keeping it on your counter for more than a week."

After a week, you can either dump it into your backyard tumbler or wait for your preferred compost collection service.

"If you clean up as your cooking, it should be a part of your natural process. It shouldn't add any extra time at all. Nature's doing all the work," said Nicholes.

You can learn more about composting through the Illinois Food Scrap and Composting Coalition at Natasha serves a member of its education and communication committee.