Alberta Open Farm Days is back this weekend, but one local agriculture company stands out from the rest.
Annelida, is the first and only worm farm to ever participate in Open Farm Days. Director of operations and founder of Annelida Organics Jamie Depape is excited for the community to see what they do.
“Open Farm Days I think is showcasing what we can do, why we do it and really getting out there and shake hands with people in the community so we can venture off and see where we can go with this.”
Annelida started up in 2019, purchasing around 10,000 pounds of worms from the southern United States. Since then, they have created five times that.
“Feed them, they breed and multiply,” Depape said.
“Then we harvest their castings for the purpose of agriculture and as a source of mother nature’s most fertile microbiology that we think we’ve kind of captured.”
Worms are hermaphroditic, meaning they will keep repopulating when in contact with one another.
“They double in population every four to six weeks, total mass every four to six months under the pretense you’re going to keep the capacity to a minimum,” said Depape.
“You have to strip from them and they will continue to repurpose.”
So once you have this many worms on site how do you feed them? You can thank landfill and municipal waste for these creatures’ food source. Worms really just eat people’s garbage they throw away.
Annelida collects waste from the Leduc and District Food Bank and coffee grounds from Starbucks and Perks locations. Wood chips, horse manure and cardboard are also collected from stables in Edmonton.
“Worms can eat inorganic material and turn it organic,” Kim Ducherer, the agricultural account manager, said.
The castings, basically a fancy word for worm poop, come out organic and all of Anneldia’s castings are certified.
Once the castings are collected, they are harvested and repurposed for agriculture use.
“Now we are able to go out there and help farmers reduce inputs, increase nutrient quality, disease suppression, water resilience and water holding capacity in their soils,” said Depape. “And really goes into the regenerative sector so we can put net margins back in their pocket through a process of saving the environment as well.”
Annelida will be the first and only worm farm to ever participate in Alberta Open Farm Days.