Resources

“How does sustainability affect me?”

“A sustainable human community must be designed in such a manner that its technologies and social institutions honor, support, and cooperate with nature’s inherent ability to sustain life.”
-Fritjof Capra, Ph.D.

We like to take it a step further and define sustainability as:

“Creating our society, culture, humanity, and ways of life so that they honor and support natures ability to create life.”

The global and local problems we are generally facing such as pollution, environmental degradation, economic instability, economic inequalities, poverty, political inaction/ignorance, crime and corporate corruption are in part the result of our ways of life being unsustainable – out of balance with nature.

A better question might be - “how does sustainability not affect me?” The time is now here to take responsibility for all of our youth and the future of our community and world.

On this page you will find resources toward this end, and resources relating to our mission and vision.

VERMI-COMPOSTING KIT INSTRUCTIONS

YEA CORPS

VERMI-COMPOSTING KIT INSTRUCTIONS

How to set up your Three Bin Compost System:

* 3 bin systems are better than 2 bin systems because they compost material faster and are more efficient.

1. With your 3 bins at the ready, take one bin and lid and set it aside at the base. This been will collect liquid fertilizer from the compost.

2. In the other 2 bins, drill 5 small holes down, and 9 small holes across. On the sides of these two bins drill, drill 2 small holes on each side, 2/3rds or higher up the bin from the bottom for ventilation. Too much oxygen in the system combined with exposed food scraps will result in fruit flies, so be sure not to overdo the ventilation.

3. Your system is now ready for bio integration, we can now add the organic material to the bins which we just drilled holes into.

4. Spread a 4 inch layer of damp compost mix (soil like material) on the bottom of the top bin and the middle bin (the bins with ventilation holes) The compost mix can be a mixture of approximately the following: 5/8 peat moss, 1/8 sand, 1/8 leaves and 1/8 coffee grounds. You should mix this together, get it wet, and then ring it out like a damp sponge. Avoid covering your ventilation holes with compost.

5. Gently add your worms to the mix in the middle bin! Notice how they dive out of the light for cover.

6. Next, add a 2 inch layer of bedding. Do this only after your worms have dived into the bin. The bedding should be a mix of any of the following: Dry autumn leaves, shredded coconut hulls, shredded unbleached paper towels, shredded un coated cardboard, sawdust or wood shavings (un treated wood only). Dampen slightly by sprinkle water – normally for an established system you do not need to dampen the bedding. Finally, sprinkled a handful of the cracked egg shells into the bin – this is needed for calcium for the worms.

7. Repeat #6 for the top bin. This bin will initially have no worms in it.

8. You are ready to go!

Managing your Bin:

1. You must keep your bin out of the sun, in the coolest, darkest indoor place you can find. Earth worms are very sensitive to light. Remember – Dark, Damp and and Dinner! The temperature should be between 70 and 80 degrees F. Keeping it stored at 60 Degrees F room temp will be adequate to maintain that internal temperature.

2. A few days after your bin is set up, add your first batch of food waste/scraps to the section with the worms! A brand new worm system needs to be closely monitored. Feed only small amount such as a cup or half a cup until the worm population grows and becomes healthy. This process may take weeks to become an established ecosystem.

3. Feed by burying you food near the top of the bin, no more than an inch from the surface. Be sure to recover the composting mix with fresh bedding to avoid exposed fruit.

4. As you worm population grows, bury food in both bins using the same methodology.

5. Watch the food disappear – some food will go faster than others. Feeding the worms regularly will ensure the best population growth. Eventually, after several months, you will be left with ready to go worm compost (vermin castings). Completely finished worm compost is dense and will look and feel like mud.

6. A month before you want to harvest and use your worm compost, begin to bury food in only the MIDDLE bin. The worms will transition into the MIDDLE, leaving the TOP bin empty and ready to harvest after a month. Harvest no more than ½ of an individual bin to ensure the ecosystem remains functioning. Resume feeding both bins and repeat when necessary.

7. Regularly harvest worm “juice”, or compost tea, that drains into the bottom of the bin and mix with water to water your household plants. This should be mixed with 20 parts water and 1 part compost tea.

8. A good potting soil recipe is 1 part worm compost material (from the middle and top bins) and 3 parts soil. Worm compost is best used moist, because it loses nutrients as it dries. In the garden, use it at root level, digging it into the soil.

9. Repeat and enjoy your new sustainable, earth saving system. You can eventually build your system up to process ALL of your food waste!

Here is what you can compost in your new bin:

Fruits and vegetables (cut into small pieces if new, cores and food scraps are fine)

Egg shells

Cut up bits of meat (cannot be sitting exposed or flies will hatch)

Do not put in:

Fried foods

Processed foods or foods with preservatives

Milk, Juice or Soft drinks

If you eat healthy, your worms will be healthy. Food that is not healthy for humans such as white flour, candy, fried food, and preservatives. You and your worms will thrive on a healthy, varied diet!

Worm bin troubleshooting:

Problems Causes Solutions

  • Bin smells bad —-> Overfeeding Stop feeding for two weeks.
  • Food scraps exposed —-> Bury food completely.
  • Bin too wet —-> Mix in dry bedding; leave lid off.
  • Not enough air —-> Fluff bedding; clear drainage holes.
  • Bin attracts flies —-> Food scraps exposed Bury food completely.
  • Rotten food —-> Cover with clean bedding.
  • Too much food; esp. citrus —-> Don’t overfeed worms.
  • Black soldier fly larvae —-> * Pick out larvae, add them to backyard compost pile; bury food completely; reduce acidic foods.
  • Black soldier fly adults —-> * Release from bin.
  • Bin attracts ants, centipedes —-> Remove centipedes; change bin location.
  • Worms are dying Bin too wet —-> Mix in dry bedding; leave lid off.
  • or crawling away Bin too dry —->  Thoroughly dampen bedding.
  • Extreme temperatures —->  Move bin to 70–80˚F location.
  • Not enough air —-> Fluff bedding, check for blocked vents.
  • Not enough food —-> Add more bedding and more food scraps.
  • Bin conditions not right —-> See above; leave lid off (worms will burrow into bedding).
  • Excess mold —-> Conditions too acidic Cut back on acidic foods.
  • Bedding drying out —-> Too much ventilation Dampen bedding; keep lid on.
  • Extreme temperatures —-> Move bin to 70–80˚F location.
  • Excess drainage Poor ventilation —-> Fluff bedding; add dry bedding.
  • Too much water in food —-> Cut back on coffee grounds and watery scraps

Additional Tips:

Worms are sensitive to light and should be kept in a dark environment.

Generally, each square foot of bin can compost 1 pound of food per week. As the worm population grows, the amount of food that you can give them increases.

Feed every couple of days, rather than every day. Worms can go a month without feeding.

Worm bins may attract worm “friends” – beneficial smaller organisms that enhance the composting process. These could include springtails, mites, rove beetles, millipedes, and micro bacteria and fungi. However, centipedes are predators and should NOT be in your bin.

Generally, 27 gallons of food scrap will produce 1 gallon of finished worm compost.

You should track the date you started, when you feed the system and the amount of food waste you put in. This can give you some indication as to when the castings are ready.

Sources:

Laverms Handbook of indoor composting, Laverme De la Terre with Ellen Sandbeck

Small scale vermin-composting, University of Hawaii

YEA Intern Quotes 2012

This summer YEA Corps worked with great interns developing aquaponics systems, recycling systems, curriculum development, outreach, event planning, and much more! YEA Corps was lucky to have these individuals, and we look forward to working with many of the interns in the future. Here are quotes about their experience.

YEA Corps

Internship Experience Quotes

Summer 2012

“YEA Corps connected me with all the food grown in the Twin Cities, behind doors and in yards. I’ve left feeling capable, and inspired to begin my growing capacity for self-sufficiency”

Christian Bangert, Senior in Political Science at Macalaster College

“Doing an intership with YEA has filled me up with so many new ideas and ways to live alongside your environment. I’m going to go out and share these ideas with as many peaople as I can”

Arafa Alam, Junior at Southwest High School

“YEA Corps taught me that all it takes to create change in the world is an idea, a community, and a plan”

Cristina Leifson, Senior in Political Science at University of St.Thomas

“I learned an amazing amount of This is something a lot of other online games can’t offer to their online slot machine games players. new information about being sustainable at YEA Corps, including many lessons about eco-systems, hands on learning while building indoor compost bins, building an aquaponics systems, and inoculating mushrooms using trial-and-error”

Marlena Needham, Senior in Human Services at Saint Mary’s University

“While working with YEA Corps, I was able to bridge my professional work ethic with my passion for environmentalism and urban agriculture. YEA values entrepreneurship which provides youth with the opportunity to take an idea and make it a reality, and we need the ideas of youth now to become the reality of tomorrow.”

Carey deVictoria-Michel, Graduate in Environmental Studies at Seattle University

Brandon Pitcher

YEA Corps recently hosted a speaker, Brandon Pitcher, as a part of our zero-waste system with MNIC. Here is some information about Brandon. We were fortunate to have him speak to us.

Mr. Pitcher is a certified Zero Emissions Research & Initiatives (ZERI), Systems Designer with over 8 years of diverse global experience in sustainability outreach & education, zero emissions & waste consulting, and sustainable redevelopment. Recognizing the importance of education, he is an adamant and passionate advocate for exposing all to the opportunities ahead within sustainability.

Brandon has studied extensively the best practices around the globe for over a decade. He has visited and supported dozens of global projects in over 30 countries while learning from hundreds of scientists, entrepreneurs, activists, policymakers, educators, and community leaders in the industry gaining a vast working knowledge online casino of dozens of projects and the underlying principles of their operations.

He has been the subject of numerous radio shows, TV spots, and newspaper and magazine articles in central Indiana and internationally. From a fluent understanding of numerous sustainability practices and theories and to becoming a certified ZERI practitioner in the United States, Brandon is always on the edge and is working adamantly towards changing the paradigm for development and education in the 21st century.

Approaching SINGULARITY

Star Tribune Feb 21, 2009 Article: Approaching SINGULARITY by Karen Youso

States: Kids may know their way around the Internet, but experts warn that they aren’t prepared for the future. We send kids to school, they move grade by grade, using the 18th-century model, and during that time, the whole world has changed so much. “How relevant is that education?” asked John Moravec, director of the University of Minnesota’s College of Education and Human Development’s Leapfrog Institutes. “We’re training them for jobs that existed 20 years ago, not for those that’ll exist when they finish school.”
“Who even knows what those jobs will be? The top 10 in-demand jobs for 2010 did not exist in 2004″, according to former U.S. Secretary of Education Richard Riley.

Google, entrepreneurs and scientists aren’t waiting around. This month they launched a graduate program, Singularity University at NASA’s Ames Research Park in Silicon Valley, where the brightest will collaborate and innovate in accelerating science and technology to solve what they called “humanity’s grandest challenges.”

Nobody can say for sure what happens after we reach the singularity. Ray Kurzweil, inventor and author of books on accelerating change, and others suspect that technology will meld with biology. They see enhanced humans with better bodies better brains and, with luck, better imaginations to see what can be possible.

ADDITIONAL ONLINE RESOURCES:

BBC video on the singularity:
http://www.thoughtware.tv/videos/show/93

Educating children for tomorrow:
YouTube Preview Image

YEA Corps is 501(c)3 nonprofit organization