Best job, worst job
By ANNA BUCK, Bega District News, Tuesday, 21 March
RUNNING their fingers through a kilogram (or three hundred kilograms) of
live, wriggling earthworms is par for the course for Kym Mogridge and
Gerri Taylor of Tathra.
They have a great respect for the earthworm and the good it and its casts
do the environment.
Through their interest in earthworms and the environment there was a
natural progression to dealing in composting toilets, and toilet talk is
the norm when Kym gets together with owner builders who are interested in
installing composting toilets.
It all started a decade ago when Kym went to a neighbour's garage sale and
came away with a broccoli box of worms, left over from an attempt at worm
"Those are the only worms I've ever bought," he said.
"I got them home, did some research and then made a worm farm out of
Gerri's little garden bed.
"In three months it was filled up with worms."
There was a great deal of interest in vermiculture at the time, and Kym
ended up in a worm farming co-operative through the Sapphire Coast
Producers Association's auspices.
"We went all right for a little while," he said.
"Basically, it's very difficult to have a viable worm farming enterprise.
It's like the ostrich and emu ventures of the same era where everyone made
money selling the birds and their eggs.
"Once everyone had bought all the birds and eggs they were going to buy
there was no further market for them, and it's like that with worms.
"The industry of worm farming is waste management and the product is worm
Kym and Gerri found themselves in the process of educating people to
recycle waste, which led on to composting toilets.
Kym was researching worm farms around NSW and during a trip to the
Mittagong area met a man marketing a worm-driven composting toilet system.
His interest was sparked and he negotiated a dealership that lasted for
almost five years then he got an agency with another company.
Kym deals predominantly with owner-builders with whom he has a rapport as
he has twice been an owner-builder himself.
To say that he sells them a composting toilet is not accurate - rather, a
lengthy discussion takes place.
If the composting toilet is really what they are looking for, they buy it
"When I sell one I want the people who own it to understand what they're
"If they want to feel green and fuzzy but don't realise it won't have a
button to push, and that they're going to have a deeper and more
meaningful relationship with their own waste, then I'd rather not sell it
"Most owner-builders have a passion and involvement with building and how
it's going to work.
"I find owner-builders intrinsically interesting and get just as much from
talking to them as they do from me."
The pair received national news coverage when they came up with worm
burgers as a way of drawing attention to the value of the earthworm.
While it is not on their menu, they maintain that worms are a really good
protein source, high in omega three and fatty acids.
Their work is their passion and an integral part of their lifestyle.
"We're doing a little bit to educate and provide a service, showing people
how they can reuse and recycle more," Kym said.
"I have this image that one day we will run out of everything and then we
will have to start mining our garbage tips, because there are no more
"It's our effort at maintaining a little sustainability in
AND HERE IS SOME FOOD (or
water) FOR THOUGHT
Microbiologist urges recycled water attitude shift.
A Queensland researcher says there is nothing wrong with drinking recycled
water when it is treated properly.
The current drought has highlighted the issue of alternative water
Microbiologist Dr Megan Hargreaves says people oppose the idea because
they do not know enough about it.
"The concept of drinking recycled waste water is just that step to far,"
"That's where I think the education needs to come in that perhaps people
need to see that no-one's saying that they should go to a recycling plant
and drink the water from the pipes there.
"What we're saying is that that water would be then treated to a level
where it would be safe to drink."
Dr Hargreaves believes Queenslanders should be more open-minded about the
different solutions to the water crisis.
"Brisbane at the moment up to now has had a bit of a luxury sort of water
quality in that we use drinking water standard water for everything," she