A few months ago during one of my visits to Queenstown Primary, Nicky asked me if I would like to sit in on a meeting with Nathalie McAuliffe from the Copthorne Hotel in Queenstown. Nathalie is in charge of the hotels environmental policy and as part of their sustainable actions they wanted to gift Queenstown Primary with a worm farm to help them tackle their food waste.

The worm farm was delivered back in September and ever since, it’s been a a great success. It looks like a wheelie bin and is super easy to use. The students love it. Collect the food waste in their buckets, chop it up small as usual, and then drop it into the top. The worms then get onto their job of eating all of their scraps and turn them into fabulous vermicast that can be used in the many gardens at QPS. The great thing about having a mobile worm farm is that it can be transported around school with great ease. From a shared location in the corridor to inside classrooms so each class can keep a close eye on it and really get a feel for how worm farms work.

The Copthorne Hotel are passionate about dealing with their pre-cook food scraps and have developed some amazing worm farms at their hotel. Nathalie really wanted to show the students of the QPS envirogroup how their system works so they can see that it’s not just at home and school where worm farms are used to deal with organic food waste. This is such a valuable learning experience for these students.

We started our tour of the hotel in the kitchens, meeting the chefs and seeing how they put their food scraps into the buckets as they prepare the meals for the day. There was delicious pizza just being made that was really hard to resist, but unfortunately that hadn’t been made for us.

The buckets are then taken from the kitchen down to the worm farms which are round the back of the hotel in the gardens.  They have made them themselves from wooden slats to form walls about a foot high, old carpet and polystyrene lids to keep the heat in. There is also an irrigation system in place to keep up the moisture level within the worm farm so that all the worms are happy and keep eating the food. There are two rows of worm farms, separated by wooden walls with holes in them, so that when one side get full, the food can be place din the other side and the worms can migrate across, leaving the vermicast almost worm free to be dug out and use don the gardens.

With all this vermicast available it would be a waste not to put it to good use at the hotel, and remember the whole point of this project is to cut down on waste. The Copthorne have created a beautiful herb garden using the vermicast, and these delicious healthy herbs are use din the kitchen at the hotel, so they are fresh as they can be and reach the kitchen with no carbon miles.

Worm Farms at the Copthorne HotelAs a special treat for the Envirogroup, the chefs made some amazing worm cup cakes for everyone to enjoy before heading back to school for the afternoon. A massive thanks going out to all at the Copthorne for our tour and showing us that the work that is done at school is being done in businesses around Queenstown too.