BY T.J. MOSENG, B.A., GUEST WRITER TO THE TIMES
ORLANDO – Food Scrap Mechanics aim to get kids making their own food so they waste less and vermicompost more. Visit the Food Scrap Mechanics booth at Maker Faire Orlando, November 4-5, 2023 at the Central Florida Fairgrounds!
Each generation keeps screeching into adulthood less prepared to feed itself than the generation before it, and that’s problematic. We also waste 30-40% of the food supply here in the United States. That’s right: we’re throwing away a third of our food! There are agency-level initiatives to reduce food waste, which are great, but the usual kid becomes a young adult without having heard of them.
Recipes alone don’t cut it. Publicizing nutrition or exercise requirements doesn’t, either. What does “cut it” is practice – at cutting and peeling, rescuing leftovers, spotting favorite ingredients in the sale paper, doubling or tripling recipes to freeze meals for later, and enjoying moving around preparing foods with loved ones. Actually growing food helps kids love preparing and eating veggies, even if it’s just a tomato plant in a 5-gallon bucket on the balcony.
What does all this have to do with vermicomposting? Vermicomposting (which smells great, unlike its compost cousin) uses red wiggler worms, who munch through food scraps, eggshells, and shredded newspaper to produce free fertilizer for your plants: worm castings. Kids love to feed plants. When a kid starts preparing food, those veggie peels and eggshells feed the worms. Kids love checking on the worms and decorating the outside of the worm bin.
The usual earthworm from the yard isn’t a vermicomposting worm; obtain worms online such as from unclejimswormfarm.com or from a friend who already vermicomposts. Our family worm bins, which smell like the forest just after a light rain, sit in our dining room! We only produce enough for our own use, but some schools get so coordinated with vermicomposting that they’re able to fundraise by selling worm castings back to their communities. Imagine what such a program could do for your school or church!
Once kids start preparing foods and saving their food scraps, shells, and shredded newspaper for the worms, they ask to make foods that will net them some food scraps to feed the worms. They’ll ask how to crack an egg so they can be the one who saved the most shells.
Now that you know WHY Food Scrap Mechanics want to get kids making their own food so they waste less and vermicompost more, come check out our booth at Maker Faire Orlando!
Kids of all ages can grab info and tutorials on fun food-making, how to turn a sale paper into a meal plan, grind eggshells for vermicomposting at our Worm Bin Demo, find out how to reuse applesauce cups as measuring cups, and more. Peek at some of our recipes with people-friendly instructions (humor warning: one favorite is “How to Torture Pork Chops”). Did you know you can peel broccoli so you don’t have to throw away the stem? Did you know paper bag handles unfurl to become free ribbon to tie bows? Have fun making these or some of our smile-inducing Candy Cane Reindeer at one of our Make & Takes at Maker Faire Orlando.
Maker Faire Orlando is a community-organized, family-friendly celebration featuring local do-it-yourself science, art, rockets, robots, crafts, technology, music, hands-on-activities, and more. It’s an event they call the Greatest Show (& Tell) On Earth where people show what they are making and share what they are learning. Tickets are $15-$30 and parking is free. Volunteers can get in free; check https://www.makerfaireorlando.com/volunteer/ for available 4-hour shifts!
Some of our Maker Faire Orlando favorites are: running in the giant wheel to make our own snow cones at Be The Hamster, watching live robot combat at Robot Ruckus (and meeting BattleBots Teams from TV), soldering our own light-up pins, folding origami dragons at Gateway to Japan, rearranging the wires to make lots of strange noises at VOID Modular, and painting our own ornaments at Flags by B and Mom.
Visit the Food Scrap Mechanics booth and mention The Orlando Times to enjoy one of our Make-and-Take activities for free while supplies last! See you November 4th and 5th at the Central Florida Fairgrounds, 4603 West Colonial Drive. Grab your tickets now at https://www.makerfaireorlando.com/ (if you’re an Educator or Home Educator, check the website for how to receive free educator admission and learn how The Maker Effect Foundation supports you).
Email our family at email@example.com with questions or suggestions anytime – we look forward to seeing you at Maker Faire Orlando!