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Organic wastes can be broken down and fragmented rapidly by earthworms, resulting in a stable nontoxic material with good structure, which has a potentially high economic value and also act as soil conditioner for plant growth. Vermicompost supplies a suitable mineral balance, improves nutrient availability and could act as complex-fertilizer granules. Vermicomposting involves great reduction in populations of pathogenic microorganisms, thus not differing from composting from this point of view. Vermicomposting also leads to decrease the environmental problems arising from their disposal, without needing in many cases to complete the process. It should be realized that vermicomposting can be a useful cottage industry for the underprivileged and the economically weak as it can provide them with a supplementary income. At the time of harvesting, The worms will burrow to the bottom of the compost to escape the light.
Vermibed is the actual layer of good moist loamy soil placed at the bottom, about 150 to 200 mm thick above a thin layer (50 mm) of broken bricks and coarse sand. Bio-fertilizers are living cells of different types of micro-organisms (bacterial, algae and fungi), which have an ability to mobilize nutritionally important elements from non-usable to usable form.
Biopesticides, or also known as Biological Pesticides, are natural pest control agents that are obtained from natural substances.
However, the market for bio-fertilizers and biopesticides is still not well developed, and the bio-fertilizer industry has not had the growth that was anticipated.  The use of bio-fertilizers has still not spread uniformly although there has been a steady rise in their use by certain groups of farmers. Dairy producers are in an advantageous position to incorporate vermicomposting into their manure handling systems due to the vast amounts of compostable resources available from the farm like manure and crop residues that can be used as bedding and feedstock for the worms. Rural Open Innovation Network by International Centre for Technolohical Innovations is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. 0 Comments   In early May my project manager identified a local entrepreneur who was into vermicomposting, and into innovating and marketing various other products made from cow dung. 0 Comments   The lead entrepreneurs for this group (funnily enough, they're both called Mamata) after they went on a long market research and shopping trip with our project manager, Mr. 1 Comment   A consulting clientThis person above came into my office this past Thursday, wanting help with his business.
KVK has an instructional farm spread over an area of 20 hectares with various demonstration units. The seeds of various agricultural and horticultural crops are produced in the farm and suppllied to the farmers. Compost is both a backyard and industrial contribution to restoring soil quality in California. Schools, restaurants, grocery stores, corporate cafeterias and commercial landscapers, farmers, even construction and development companies can participate in composting.
May is "Compost Awareness Month" and in researching this article we uncovered some intriguing stories.
Jepson Prairie Organics in Vacaville, CA collects food waste from schools, grocery stores and other sources to create industrial-scale compost. The end result is fine, nutrient-rich soil amendments that add beneficial structure to rebuild humus in soils.
Restaurants, health care and residential facilities…and even companies with lunchrooms can feed the compost treasures of California by handling their food scraps within a sustainable system. Teresa Eade, Senior Program Manager of, reports that through their incentive program to cities in Alameda County, twelve out of fourteen cities now offer food waste collection from restaurants and high-volume facilities, as well as residential curbside recycling bins.
The US Compost Council conducts a "Seal of Testing Assurance" program that compost producers can enter. The compost produced by Jepson Prairie Organics is made from a diverse feedstock including food scraps from San Francisco's finest restaurants.
Almost 60 percent of the municipal solid waste produced in the United States (including paper) is compostable material. The composting process has been shown to absorb odors and treat semivolatile and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including heating fuels, polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and explosives.
Composting organic materials that have been diverted from landfills ultimately avoids the production of methane and leachate formulation in the landfills.
We help you green your career, workplace and community by connecting you to quality green, sustainable and high performance resources. Dumps of organic waste materials dumped on barren lands is a regular sight around our neighborhood. Vermicomposting is a recycling process, where red earthworms are allowed to eat organic waste to convert it into compost rich with exceptionally high nutritional content. The process of vermicomposting can be carried out not only in large-scale agricultural farms, but also at our own homes to make organic manure for our kitchen garden. Any biodegradable material that is high on carbon content to serve as bedding for the earthworms to live on as well as to keep the worm container moist.
As earthworms feed on the waste, they begin to excrete a dark color, nutrient rich organic matter called ‘vermi-cast’. When the worm container gets filled with the compost, it can be used as manure for gardening or for farming purposes.
The compost pit should be protected from direct sunlight and a certain temperature has to be maintained.
Lakshmamma and four other women have set up a vermicomposting enterprise in a common place under a single roof.
Two farmers of Bundi nucleus watershed in Rajasthan have built a multiple compartment system of vermicomposting while many are following the regular vermicomposting. In Guna nucleus watershed in Madhya Pradesh, nearly 35 farmers from all the three micro watersheds are practicing vermicomposting. Maharashtra Agricultural Bioteks promotes the use of organic fertilizers in place of the chemical ones.
A large volume of organic matter is generated from agricultural activities, dairy farms and animal shelters which are usually dumped in corners where it putrefies, usually emanating foul smell.
These are about 6-8 inches long and the good thing about them is that they are by nature hermaphrodite. These micro-organisms require organic matter for their growth and activity in soil and provide valuable nutrients to the plants in the soil. The use of earthworms to fully compost manure has been of increasing interest in the dairy industry. So my manager and I went to meet this Mr Bisoi (shown in the above left photo) about 2 months ago, to explore possible linkages between his entrepreneurship and our project.Mr.
He lives in Kargil basti, and has a tiny store in one of the main market areas in the city (Bapuji Nagar). Right: Group meeting in the house (and production facility) of the mentor, discussing how to get into the production and marketing of spices, flours, etc. Over 1,400 businesses and thousands of San Francisco residents provide food scraps and other compostable material as part of the composting program. Temperatures between 90 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit are common in properly maintained compost piles, but may not reach these levels in backyard compost piles. The composting process encourages the production of beneficial micro-organisms (mainly bacteria and fungi) which in turn break down organic matter to create humus. It has also been shown to bind heavy metals and prevent them from migrating to water resources or being absorbed by plants. Compost has the ability to prevent pollutants in stormwater runoff from reaching surface water resources. It serves as a marketable commodity and is a low-cost alternative to standard landfill cover and artificial soil amendments. Composting also occurs on a large scale, operated by private sector firms or community public works departments. EPA endorses the composting of biosolids (or sewage sludge) as a way of managing this material.
According to a CIPS-ASCI study on waste management, the top eight cities in India generate an average of 4,500 tons of solid waste every day or 36,500 tons in total.
This recycling process not only converts organic debris into high quality compost but the chemical changes that the debris undergoes makes the nutrients available to the plants in such a manner that they are released when the plants need it. Vermicomposting is practiced through ‘Vermiculture’ literally means ‘worm growing’ or ‘worm farming’.
Shredded cardboard paper, office paper, any paper towel, newspaper and coir fibers are often used as bedding. However, this method is not preferred as we have problems like water logging and poor aeration.
For a successful production of good compost, the castings need to be removed frequently, so that the worms can continue to harvest the remaining waste material.
Having begun with a population of 2,000 worms of three epigeic species they regularly harvest around 400kg of vermicompost every month collectively. The organization has been able to convince over 2,000 farmers to switch to vermiculture, who produce over 5,000 tons of vermicompost annually.
This valuable resource can be utilised by properly composting it into a value-added end product called manure.

Meaning, they both have the male and female organ so even if there are only two worms, they can multiply. About 100 earthworms (a combination of epigeics and anecics) may be introduced into a compost pit of about 2m x 1m x 0.75m, with a vermibed of about 15 to 20 cm thick. These wastes may include leaves, roots, stubbles, crop residues, straw, hedge clippings, weeds, water hyacinth, saw dust and kitchen wastes. Using biopesticides has advantages over using conventional pesticides, because biopesticides are less toxic to the environment and natural life. Earthworms, more specifically, the Red Wiggler (Eisenia fetida) and the Red Worm (Lumbricus rebellus) are found in areas rich in organic matter, like the topsoil layer or in manure piles.
The store is one of the smallest I have seen, you can see its size from the picture on the left. Compost and colored mulch are some of the products sold wholesale to large landscapers and material yards.
These high temperatures are necessary for rapid composting as well as for destroying weed seeds, insect larvae, and potentially harmful bacteria. Humus--a rich nutrient-filled material--increases the nutrient content in soils and helps soils retain moisture.
The compost process degrades and, in some cases, completely eliminates wood preservatives, pesticides, and both chlorinated and nonchlorinated hydrocarbons in contaminated soils.
Compost has also been shown to prevent erosion and silting on embankments parallel to creeks, lakes, and rivers, and prevents erosion and turf loss on roadsides, hillsides, playing fields, and golf courses. Composting also extends municipal landfill life by diverting organic materials from landfills and provides a less costly alternative to conventional methods of remediating (cleaning) contaminated soil.
This generally occurs at a medium-to-large scale facility, operated by private sector firms or community public works departments. EPA characterizes biosolids composting and offers guidance and technical assistance via the Office of Wastewater Management in EPA's Office of Water. Earthworms (Lumbricus rubellus) are cultivated in the farms to consume organic waste including all kinds of biodegradable wastes. Before putting the bedding into the container, it needs to be hydrated with water for at least a day such that it retains the moisture. Here she learnt how to increase the per hectare yield of the crop with the help of vermicomposting in her farm. The organization has also been successful in creating a vermicompost unit in Madhya Pradesh, which produces 5tons of vermicompost per month.
Just like the red worms also thrive on organic materials such as food scraps, fruit peelings, grass cuttings, tea bags, coffee grounds and more. The waste materials undergo intensive decomposition under medium-high temperatures in heaps or pits with adequate moisture for around 3-6 months. They play an important role in the protection of agricultural foods and protection against unwanted microbial organisms. These two species of worms, due to their high tolerance of environmental factors such as temperature, moisture, and pH, and shallow feeding habits, are the desired species for degrading vast amounts of organic materials into vermicompost. At present this entrepreneur does not himself maintain any large vermicomposting or other production facility.
He didn't have his crew with him, so we decided to aim for just one store instead of five as we originally wanted.
It sells cellphone parts, cellphone chargers and batteries, and a random assortment of DVDs and CDs.
Odor and other problems can occur if the ratio or any of the factors discussed below are not in the correct balance. Compost has also been shown to suppress plant diseases and pests, reduce or eliminate the need for chemical fertilizers, and promote higher yields of agricultural crops. There, it is typically processed in aerated windrows, where organics are formed into rows or long piles.
It has also been found that the vermicomposting helps to reduce the presence of pathogens in organic matter significantly. Maharashtra Agricultural Bioteks has promoted this eco-friendly technique in 13 Indian states and also distribute vermicompost kits to housewives so that they can practice it at their homes. African Night Crawlers eat a lot and are extremely voracious so they are perfect for vermicomposting. Vermicompost is the end product of earthworms’ consumption of organic materials in the form of nutrient rich “castings” and degraded bedding materials. This got the ball rolling, since the initial group of women talked to other women who talked to others.Women were interested in things like sewing, and we wanted to initially cater to existing needs and interests. It's basically a shop set up in the small space between the walls of two adjacent large stores, one an electrical fittings store and the other a phone booth and phone store.I visited his store that same evening for a preliminary "consulting visit". Recyclables such as glass and aluminum, and non-compostables are removed early in the process. However, recycling processes can filter these waste materials into usable items benefiting our environment and society.
These vermi-castings are rich in nitrate and contain minerals like phosphorous, potassium, calcium, and magnesium, which are excellent fertilizers and soil conditioners.
Dairy producers are in an advantageous position to incorporate vermicomposting into their manure handling systems due to the vast amounts of resources available from the farm such as manure and crop residues that can be used as bedding and feedstock for the worms. The smallest measures 6' x 4'.Unlike in some of the other notable slums in Bhubaneswar, a number of residents in our target slum (Kargil Basti) actually do have access to (own or rent) some land in addition to their houses. Business IncubationI see this micro-scale production as an exercise in self-employment training entrepreneur incubation than "real" business set up. So we asked our local tailor and project helper to lead (informal) tailoring classes and work with these women to set up a tailoring unit - our first self-employment generating activity. Bapuji Nagar is the part of the city where all the cellphone stores are clustered - cellphone sellers, cellphone repairers etc.
The finished compost can be sold, given away, or used by the company or municipality in local landscaping projects. Vermicomposting can provide a dairy farm with beneficial nutrient soil amendments while also giving the opportunity for added income if worms or castings are sold.
The 'Micro Business Centre' shall be set up on this land - training & production facilities, small classrooms and office space. Insights will be used to create an enterprise that operates at a larger scale and generate more revenue. In-vessel composting, where the material is left to decompose while enclosed in a temperature and moisture controlled chamber, is another possibility. Villages : Tackling the Constraints of Access to Cow DungWhat we debated during this initial discussion itself, was the problem of access to adequate amounts of cow dung in urban areas - slums or otherwise. I'm hopeful that this way we develop the confidence and business understanding in these female entrepreneurs, such that they are able to successfully take forward that scaled up enterprise.
Their inspiration had been Nayana Devi's small-scale food processing & packaging facilities that they had visited a week earlier. Else, the project is starting to stall; I can feel my team (and the community) getting irritable and thinking that this is a futile, failed project. He said he wanted a bigger store, but honestly, it would be difficult to achieve the size of store necessary to compete with the surrounding stores without a very large bank loan.
Perhaps this is true in other parts of the world, but certainly true of India - when physical infrastructure is under construction, everyone feels things are moving and everyone feels happy.
Since there are few stores along this stretch but it's a busy road near the airport, we hoped that creating a unique and eye-catching structure would make passers-by really interested in bamboo structures.
For nearly an hour, he discussed how he wanted to work with other community members to start up a business and was even ready to pay for the machines himself.
His conviction was amazing, but by the end it was clear that he didn't really want to participate in any kind of business planning beyond buying the machines.
None of the community members without cows wanted to participate in this vermicomposting project even though they could have gone around other parts of the city collecting cow dung. Many of them expressed that it would be inappropriate and undignified to scrounge for either organic waste or cow dung, unless these outputs came from their own households.Since community members with cows tended to have access to larger areas of land, they decided to go for the 12' x 4' sized kits rather than the smaller ones.
Our intention was to coerce them into learning this new skill (since it was closely related to their existing skill), and we hoped that their interest would be born once the orders for furniture etc. The heavy rains made it challenging to install these kits specifically in land covered by mud and cow dung, but our project coordinator, project manager, and Mr.
But I wanted to convey below is that our work here is not impeded by discrete problems that one can solve by brainstorming with a bunch of smart team members. In fact the very first woman we met during our initial visit to the community was an older lady who walked about an hour to and from work everyday; she worked as a cook in a college hostel on the city's outskirts.
Progress is dulled more because of basic contextual issues - climate, and access to basic utilities.ClimateSummerFrom end March through end May there was death inducing heat here, just as in most parts of India.
One just didn't show up, and the other showed up for just 1-2 hours a day and then returned after a few days' absence to demand his stipend.Initially we had spoken to a few of the carpenters and they said that wood prices were going up, so they wanted to get into fabrication and other kinds of construction work instead.

So we talked to them about the availability of bamboo, its lower prices, its durability and the ease of working with it. Yet rather than asking us to give her an opportunity, she immediately took me by the arm and pointed scornfully at some of the younger women around, "They do nothing all day, except gossip and start fights. At this time, most of our work comprised laying the foundation - household-level community surveys, community mobilisation, legwork to scout around for successful local entrepreneurs, and going around the city to identify future market linkages. It would be good if you gave them some kind of a job to keep them occupied".I found women's perception of each other in this slum community rather unexpected. Since this was outdoors work, we were restricted to working for about 2-3 hours in the morning, and for 3 hours in the evening. Nevertheless, we wanted to go ahead with the bamboo store front and finish what we'd started.In fact ultimately it was my project coordinator who did all the bamboo work - the cutting of strips, the nailing and tying of planks, the digging of the bamboo frame into the sand.
He said none, at least not a significant number (in this he was more or less correct, since all the computer and electronics stores are clustered in another part of town). But our networking with local entrepreneurs and businesses couldn't start too much earlier than 10 am because this is a very laid back city where things don't really start before 10 or 10:30 am on any given day. The store owner was nowhere to be found, so his daughter and I took responsibility for applying primer to the entire structure. The store owner is gone so what do we do with the store?
But here?! Also somewhat surprising is the fact that the men in the community have also offered up their daughters and wives to us for various kinds of economic engagement and skill training, but have been far kinder in their reasons for doing so. I asked if he had done a quick survey of the stores around him to assess his competition - what were the other really small stores selling that he wasn't?
Our project shall share in the profits since we paid for and installed the kits, are paying for the training, and established (and will be managing) the linkage with Mr. Turns out that the store owner - the male household head - has had a fallout with his wife and family, and is not coming home anymore except to occasionally come home, beat his wife, take some money, and wander off again.So I asked the store owner's wife if she would re-open the food stall, since the attractive store front would definitely attract more customers. She really wants to do something, please involve her." or for instance (with great pride) "My wife knows how to tailor, look she even has a certificate!
Bisoi.We are also interested in working with agricultural scientists who have developed vermicomposting techniques that utilise 100% organic kitchen waste.
The other apartment houses our office rooms, and a small-scale spice making unit - pulverizer, manual plastic package sealer, weighing machine, packaging material, sieves and other paraphernalia for sorting spices. She said it was her husband's store, and she had no interest in engaging with him further and that if I wanted, I could talk to him about his ideas for the space.So we're not meeting any of our objectives regarding an intervention for the existing store.So now what?
In fact, a heated argument broke out over this during one of our smaller neighbourhood outreach meetings. He said yes, he knew he should paint the outside of his store a little bit, spruce it up, take down the CD string, or at least dust it off. Unfortunately the electrical wiring for these residential apartments wouldn't be able to withstand the electrical load that would be generated if we operated all these machines. Maybe, a community micro enterprise display centre?Regardless of the store ownership and what the owners' plans and disputes are, it is undeniable that this is going to be a lovely structure once constructed and attract a fair amount of attraction.
A similar story with the 10-15 dust-covered cellphone covers he had stocked in a small glass case on the store front.There was also a pile of dark yellow, dusty plastic envelopes on one of the shelves to the front. In fact, just operating the pulverizer is causing the electricity to trip.So we decided to convert the electrical power supply for this building to three phase. The fact also remains that this is a fantastic location, and a kiosk selling goods even moderately in demand, would attract a reasonable number of customers. She was convinced that none of the women would leave their homes to go sell their products in local markets, no matter how profitable it might be to dispense with the intermediary.But another woman disagreed vociferously. Once that is done, we'll be able to get the tailoring training underway, and start some small-scale production of garments, home furnishings, and the like.
She and her husband had jointly owned and operated a corner store, and she said she was ready to go out and do the selling of products herself. In other words, we use this large kiosk to showcase the skills of the community (in having constructed this structure), showcase our project, and showcase as many of the products currently being produced by community residents as possible.For example, we could showcase the spices, garments, home furnishings and other items that our project participants produce. I asked her if she had gone around to banks for loans, was familiar with banking processes, and had engaged in marketing activities. Our program coordinator had to go every single day to the relevant local public authority, do the paperwork and pay the deposit.
But we could also display the handiwork of those not related to our project, so it serves as a marketing strategy for them. She answered in the affirmative to all questions; she had operated all elements of the business in equal partnership with her husband.
The house owner had to speak with residents of the 2 other apartments in the building, and do more paperwork.
Then the public official in question got transferred and a new person came in his stead, so much of the discussion had to be re-done.And of course, everybody in the region will be off work this Friday through Sunday or even Monday. Or even the fresh food snacks they are cooking on a daily basis in order to sell elsewhere. Their young children, household chores, social and familial obligations are perceived to be leaving them with no time to participate in any time consuming, regular, and frequent skill or self-employment activity. Just a place to highlight all the micro-enterprise activities already occurring within the community.This would be fantastic of course, but the main problem I foresee is the contentious property rights of slum land.
So no electricians or government officials will be available after 5pm on Thursday.It's slow. I'm not sure that our project coordinator (the Basti secretary) is going to be able to successfully negotiate with the store owner.
And I'm pretty sure that after a couple of months, the store owner will want his store back and ask for a higher price in rent in order to not create trouble. We went back to the inventory question again - did he not keep track of how many DVDs he sold, which ones, to whom, for how much? On the day that we had the first business meeting for the spice-making group (see here), one of the women who had kept rather quiet during the proceedings came to meet me afterward.She asked me if I could allow her to participate in this self-employment group.
I said of course, she could discuss it directly with the group and didn't have to seek my permission. Also, I pointed out that it was impossible to browse the DVDs and select one, besides being unattractive, those yellow envelopes were completely opaque.
She said she was the sole breadwinner in her family, and couldn't afford to give up her current job to work at starting a group enterprise. He used to have a small roadside store in Kargil basti itself, had converted one of the rooms in his roadside house. She said her husband had left her a year ago, that she had a young son, and that she currently worked as some combination of assistant and maid in a college. He had put a small refrigerator there in which he used to stock beverages such as Pepsi and Coke.
It took her about an hour to get to the college everyday, using an autorickshaw (shared transport).
We'd work on a plan together, I could have some of our MBA interns take a look at his store and do some market research, and finally we could help him with paperwork to get a small loan to start with, and figure out smart, profitable ways to spend that money. 1000 (between $8 - $18).I told her that I couldn't guarantee that this spice-making enterprise would really maintain her income of Rs. 4000 for 3-4 months, to enable her to take the risk of self-employment while maintaining her income levels.
Should this person choose to stock computer parts, where can he go in the 2-3 hours he has per day (during the very hot afternoons in the summer, when customer volume is very low and hence when he can shut shop) to learn a bit about computer hardware and the various component problems that potential customers would relate to him?
If it generated enough work and income, then she could always join in as part of the spice making labour force.
Even when it wasn't clear (to us or to our beneficiaries) what services we were providing, women were flooding our office with incessant cries of "I want to do something. To be honest, we just haven't been able to figure out what to do with all these willing participants. Mere skilling and training is not our objective, and figuring out which enterprises to start (and how) in order to create successful self-employment is a challenging and time consuming task. It is impossible to do that right away with these many people given that we're not a factory that has just opened shop and is hiring by the hundreds.Opportunity Costs of Participating in an Entrepreneurship-based ProjectFurther, what we're doing is innovative and requires extensive business, creative, and market exposure for these individuals. But the average woman in our current target community (Kargil Basti) in Bhubaneswar doesn't seem to be working as a construction worker (perhaps due to some combination of slightly higher household income levels and social background), so the rates of female unemployment appear to be higher here than male unemployment, with the most common source of male employment being skilled and unskilled construction labour (as revealed by our just about wrapping up community survey).---Hence the opportunity cost of joining our project to train formally in a technical skill (whether tailoring, or electrical repair) and then work with us to set up an individual or group business, is higher on average for this community's men than for its women. As reflected in my advice to the currently employed woman who is debating joining the spice-making enterprise, I'd feel more comfortable in working during this pilot phase with individuals with lower opportunity costs of project participation.
The one on the left has no car, goes by shared transport to buy fish from the wholesale location, and walks around local neighbourhoods, toting the fish around in a basket.

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