LINCOLN, Neb. – There’s one group of eaters that will gladly chow down on Michelle Obama’s “healthy” school lunches: worms.
The Nebraska Farmers Union is seeking to partner with Lincoln-area schools by taking their lunch leftovers to fuel its worm farm, the Journal Star reports.
The group creates compost by using worms in a process called vermiculture.
One school, Culler Middle School, averages about 11,600 pounds of refuse per month and is considering joining the program.
“Composting gives them more hands-on experience. They can see how their waste is going to be turned into a useful product rather than going into a landfill,” says Brittney Albin, interim recycling coordinator at Lincoln Public Schools.
She says she isn’t sure how much of the food waste comes from the cafeteria.
“However, food waste does make up a large portion of the school waste, so we would expect the vermicomposting program to make a big dent in that number,” Albin tells the paper.
Jeremiah Picard, who’s with the NFU, recently received $26,850 recycling grant from the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality and has applied for a $169,046 grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust.
His goal is to create a huge greenhouse in which to set up the composting operation. He says he’s been farming worms in his basement “for years.”
Picard’s goal is to create a facility capable of housing one million worms.
“Picard plans to follow the example set by Prairieland Dairy in southern Lancaster County and have students at Culler separate food scraps from paper products. The dairy is using food waste from three public schools in Lincoln, and combining it with cow manure to make compost suitable for farming and gardening,” reports the Journal Star.
The operation wouldn’t be the first to see healthy lunch scraps go to the animals.
Lunch leftovers are feeding some 3,000 pigs on a Rhode Island farm.
The pigs are enjoying “half-eaten tuna sandwiches and other food scraps students discard during their lunch periods” as part of a new recycling program established by the town of Cumberland, according to WoonsocketCall.com.
Two Rhode Island districts – North Smithfield and Burrillville – that are sending their scraps to My Blue Heaven Farm. Both districts are participants in the National School Lunch Program, which is implementing the hated federal lunch rules.