The time has come to get down to some serious ‘Black Gold’ banking, otherwise known as worm composting. Unifying efforts to produce significant quantities of worm castings is the key to our very survival, if we do not begin to take direct action the demise of society and humanity is ...
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'Black Gold' Banking

Posted 29 months ago by Anna de la Vega

The time has come to get down to some serious ‘Black Gold’ banking, otherwise known as worm composting. Unifying efforts to produce significant quantities of worm castings is the key to our very survival, if we do not begin to take direct action the demise of society and humanity is a very likely scenario, for everybody has to eat and our current industrial model of farming reliant on the excessive use of depleting natural resources is being held together with masking tape.

In the ‘developed’ world preparing for food scarcity is generally not on the radar, nor is nefarious nature of global industrial food system, although this is not the space for its discussion.  Whilst supermarket shelves remain well over stocked with the fruits of the earth and beyond we are presented with the illusion of food security and abundance. This is not the case and this model is steadily heading for collapse. It is accepted and acknowledged by geologists, economists and scientists that by 2050 global oil reserves will be exhausted, the foundations of modern life, and food production as we know it will be no more. A reorientation from the industrial energy and agrochemical intensive model towards a local, organic community food system is called for.  Coupled with climate chaos, perpetuated by the industrial food system that is responsible for 50% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions we are to contend with a world without oil and without agrochemicals. Despite peak oil being a known, and well- discussed factor undermining food security the serious issue of peak phosphorus is given little mention. 

Phosphorus (P) is a key element and essential for the creation of DNA, it is the energy found in all living cells, without phosphorus there is no life.  Before the ‘advancement’ of the ‘green revolution’ where chemicals took precedence over nature plants absorbed phosphorus from manure and we absorbed our phosphorus from consuming plants.  Today, phosphate for artificial fertiliser otherwise known as NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium) is mined from phosphate rock, and it is running out rapidly with production levels expected to peak by 2033.  Phosphate rock is mined from China, USA,Morocco and the Western Sahara although China and the USA have already stopped exporting their reserves due to depletion and now Morocco and the Western Sahara control 77% of the world’s phosphorus deposits.  During the 2008 food riots that saw the price of a barrel of oil rise from $25 to $140, the price of rock phosphate rose by 800%, highlighting the interdependency on both chemical fertilisers and access to oil.
Before the spray runs out we must adopt sustainable farming practices that feed the soil, and our communities, enabling us to thrive in a post capitalist, post oil world. Rebuilding the life in the soil must be a priority and applying the worm composting process in all areas of our lives will be our saving grace.  For too long we have treated our soils without respect or understanding that we rely on the Earth for our very sustenance. Restructuring the food system is no easy feat, contending with corruption and greed whilst weaning the farmers off their drugs will indeed be a battle, but in the not too distant future there will be no plan b, apart from cannibalism.

This collective shift needs to come from within government and from within our own communities and households.  Food production must move away from the profit driven market towards a system that nourishes its people and the land.  Whilst our current right wing government appear hell bent on destroying this Earth and all who live upon her we can prepare the soil and be ready for the next government who will work for the interests of the people, not the elite. 
Growing our own food, no matter how small a space we may live should be the objective, and composting with worms provides us with the strong foundations to do this, that prvides solutions in organic waste management.  Banking ‘black gold’ by composting our organic waste at home and at work is a powerful form of direct action that addresses climate change, natural resource depletion and food insecurity, helping us to build resilient communities that will thrive in the face of adversity. Worms.

Further reading:
Heinberg, R.,2003. The Party’s Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies. East Sussex: Clairview
Petrini, C., 2007. Slow Food Nation: Why Our Food Should Be Good, Clean and Fair. New York: Rizzoli Ex Libris
Shiva, V., 2008. Soil Not Oil: Climate Change, Peak Oil and Food Insecurity. London: Zed
Soil Association, 2010. A rock and a hard place: peak phosphorus and the threat to our food security. Bristol: Soil Association. Available at [Accessed 02 September 2015] 



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 I absolutely love the work Anna and The Urban Worm are doing. I specialise in educational edible gardens and the wormeries which she supplies me with are fundamental to the success of the garden. The children are amazed by the wormeries, not only by seeing the worms but also the deeper concept. These wheelie bin wormeries really do work on a practical level, and they really do inspire on an emotional level. Well done Anna- keep the good work up! 

Arthur Daw