Common practices that remain sustainable long term all start with a big "WHY?". When we can visualize a great reason to engage in something, the work and effort associated with the tasks become small in relation to the vision of the benefits it will create. Maybe a simple formula would look like this:
"WHY" > THE EFFORT REQUIRED = CHANGE
When we start tackling big problems such as the sustainability of our soils, these challenges need powerful and clear "Whys" behind them to gain traction and maintain motivation.
The effort required can be determined by someone who has gotten their hands a little dirty with worms. However the "Why" may be more difficult to quantify, but I believe it should be the responsibility of each of us to create our own. The bigger global "WHY" needs to be a community of voices building it. Slowly over time, it will become greater than the effort needed to achieve it.
I would like to share 6 reasons why I decided to be a worm person.
As a Gardener...
It helps to think of my gardens as a bank account with about 1 million dollars in it (fun thought, right?). The catch is, that million dollars needs to last many generations without running out. To accomplish this, I cannot withdraw money only to consume it personally. I need to withdraw, invest, maybe consume a little, but then make sure I deposit at least an equal amount back into the account. Gardens are no different.
I started gardening so that my family could eat healthier and in an organic way. I also wanted to learn more gardening techniques so that in case anything happened to our supply chains, I could still feed my family. My limitation was that I only knew how to use chemical fertilizer. Through this journey I came across worms. Worms create the best fertilizer for my garden, it's organic, and it's something even the most drastic supply chain interruption cannot interfere with.
My "WHY" as a gardener is HEALTH & SUSTAINABILITY.
As an Environmentalist...
I am drawn to the cause of conserving our resources, and reusing them as much as possible in a reasonable way. I remember learning the ancient stories in sunday school about how the first humans were caretakers of a garden and how caring for the people and things around us is our primary responsibility. In modern times, it is so easy just to buy things without the requirement of intentional care. I love caring for things and people- and I think that desire is deep in our nature and it's a good thing!
Worms help me compost my garden scraps, clippings, table scraps, cardboard waste, etc. It reduces the amount of waste services needed and keeps all these things out of landfills. Turning waste into the valuable product of fertilizer and then that fertilizer into nutritious food is full circle and inspiring to me.
My "WHY" as a Environmentalist is RESPONSIBILITY and CONSERVATION
As a Parent...
I used to say, "The only pets I allow in my house are my six boys." 🤣. In all seriousness, when I look back over the years, I ask myself why did we always have a pet dog? With raising 6 children, it was definitely not because I didn't have enough on my plate already. I think there's just something about a pet that pulls a family together, that any age group can feel and respond to. It is a simple recipe for understanding love and responsibility. From the 3 year old child helping fill the dog bowl, to the 10 year old taking the pet for walks, to the parent making sure it's up to date on its shots. It's a living thing that needs to be cared for. Pets create communication between us, they create teachable moments, they create timeless photos, and so much more. At 72 years old, it's hard to think of one thing that has brought my family together more often than the worms have. All for the same reasons as stated above. It's just incredible.
My "WHY" as a Parent is FAMILY and COMMUNITY
As a Provider...
We live in an abundant world, with anything we could dream of having at our fingertips for a little bit of money, especially food. It may sound crazy to think that in this day and age we would need to know how to grow our own food. Millions of people make it through life without any knowledge of farming or gardening. But I look at it like an insurance policy. An insurance policy that can be handed down through generations. Worms have helped me to have a greater feeling of independence & security. If food systems break down, the knowledge to create your own fertilizer and grow your own food is essential.
My "WHY" as a Provider is STABILITY and INSURANCE
As a Hobbyist...
Hobbies have a way of taking our minds off of the demands of life for a while.
To say I've had a busy life is an understatement. But worm farming is not a job or a requirement for me - it's a choice. It's an opportunity to develop new skills and meet new people who we would have otherwise never found ourselves in the same room together. Hobbies spark conversation. Hobbies help us find our limitations and force us to learn how to conquer them in a fun and exciting way. Simply put, hobbies make us better at life.
My "WHY" as a Hobbyist is CHALLENGE and EDUCATION
As an Entrepreneur...
The challenge of an entrepreneur is to take a product or service and package it in a way that creates value to a customer. Doing this creates a little excess value that in turn, we are allowed to keep as profit.
Worms and worm castings have an opportunity like no other right now - two of the biggest global opportunities being waste management and organic fertilizer. While it's easy to just throw everything in our garbage cans for someone else to deal with, we are just kicking the can down the road. Landfills are finite, so we must create new ways to reduce our waste, and also create products in a way that they can be recycled.
The demand for fertilizer is constantly rising, and the supply is burdened by unsustainable farming methods. There is nothing new about worms or castings... What's new and exciting hasn't even been created yet. At this point it's still just a vision of what is possible. And those who believe that this is better than the alternative will have a running start on those who listen to their doubts.
My "WHY" as an Entrepreneur is INCOME and OPPORTUNITY
I would challenge you Worm People to ask yourself "Why do I Raise Worms?" Let's build our "Whys" together as a community. We all have such a unique approach to worms. If we can listen to each other, and the challenges each of us face - answers and greater possibilities will abound.
I'd be delusional to think that everyone will become a worm farmer. That's not a role for everybody. But this market has room for many people and still needs expertise from farmers, advertisers, inventors, writers, teachers, technicians, carpenters, scientists and more. If we all get our hands dirty for a while with the worms, the opportunities will present themselves to each of us in our own unique way.
"Opportunity comes to the prepared mind" - Charlie Munger
Have a wonderful worm week,