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Woman dubbed 'Worm Queen' offers sustainable option for food, plant-based waste

Posted at 7:18 PM, Apr 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-19 04:29:04-04

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A lot of what you throw in your trash can actually be composted and turned into a nutrient-dense soil in a matter of six months, which is exactly what the "Worm Queen" is doing on her worm farm dubbed "Squirmy Headquarters" near Jupiter.

"This is an alternative option where you can actually create something of value with your waste," said Melissa Corichi, also known as the Worm Queen and owner of Let It Rot.

Corichi's wormy journey started several years ago in a college social entrepreneurship class when she was assigned to help the local food bank.

“I wrote this business plan to start composting the produce and using some of the cardboard, paper scraps, and other things," she said.

That project turned into her business, Let It Rot.

“I kind of expanded out once I realized how much trash there was, this is not going to be enough," she said.

Corichi built a worm farm and composting facility, known as "Squirmy Headquarters" to break down people’s plant scraps, paper, cardboard, even wine corks into the dirt. Anything that comes from a plant and doesn't include plastic, she can compost in thermophilic compost piles, which heat up the plant matter until it breaks down into the soil.

“Everything in here was once garbage," she said.

Then, she feeds the broken down plant matter to her army of worms.

"Right now, I have about probably 100,000 earthworms working for me around the clock, eating trash and pooping out what we call in the biz, black gold," Corichi said.

The worms digest the plant matter and turn it into nutrient-dense dirt, which is highly sought after in organic farming.

“It’s all just worm poop that used to be trash," she said.

People between Lake Worth and Jupiter can help feed those worms instead of feeding a landfill by participating in Let It Rot's curbside compost collection program. You receive a five-gallon bucket, fill it up with plant-based waste and then Corichi will come to pick it up for $10 a month. Corichi also picks up from local businesses, including Lush Cosmetics at area malls.

Visit the link to find out more: https://letitrot.org

“With all of my participants just this year from January to now, we’ve already diverted over 10,000 pounds of garbage," she said.

Corichi also offers composting consulting, teaching people how to compost in their own home or garden.

“I can get make it really easy and approachable for everybody," she said.

Some beginner options to start incorporating composting into your life are worm buckets or compost tubes.

"It could be as simple as something I make called a compost tube, which is just a pipe that you plant into your garden, just like a tree, and then you start putting your scraps right in through the top," she said. "You water it through the top because it’ll help inject that food waste, compost, and water underneath the topsoil."

Her hope is for composting to become as accessible and habitual as taking out the trash.

“My dream is for just a third bucket or a third waste bin at everybody’s curb for collection and pink wormy garbage trucks driving around collecting everybody’s compostable garbage," she said. "I don’t think it’s too far away from reality."