School lunch, it's for the worms - Scottsbluff Area News, Sports, and Weather

School lunch, it's for the worms

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One southern panhandle school is not only feeding hungry students through it's lunch program, its also feeding a tub full of worms.
Kimball Junior/Senior High School has started a new 'vermicompost' program, where leftover fruits and veggies are fed to worms.

Vermicompost is a process of using worms to decompose and turn organic matter into a rich, usable compost for soil.

Kimball Public Schools Food Service Director Danessa Terrill said she first learned about vermicomposting at a local garden club years ago.

She began the process at her home, and after said it was a natural evolution to bring it into school with her.

Terrill said she noticed many students were choosing not to eat the fruits and veggie options that came in their school lunches, and instead of seeing them go to the trash, she decided to do something about it, and make it a learning experience all the while.

"There's a lot of waste that goes on in this school. We've taken measures to help mitigate that by giving the kids a lot of choices on what they chose. But still a lot of fruits and vegetables do end up in the trash, and this is a way to benefit our soil and our community by using those waste scraps for something that's good.

Terrill says starting the vermicompost program at Kimball Public Schools also helps to get kids involved and aware of recycling and composting.
"It is really kind of an interesting way to bring up the concept of fruits and vegetables to kids. Of course, we want them to eat their fruits and vegetable but if they don't, we want to give them a way to reuse them."

And it's a mixed response when it comes to students and worms.

Terrill says reactions range from total disgust, to complete intrigue.

"They don't want anything to do with it, or they love it. I find more kids are really interested in it. They want to know what the process is, they want to know how to do it, they want to take worms home and start it on their own."

She hopes to expand the project, and integrate it into more classrooms and cafeterias.

Terrill says she's not sure what she's going to do with the worm-created compost yet, but she is sure to keep the tub of crawlers outside on the curb, far away from the kitchen.

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