Rhonda Sherman - Vermicomposting Expert and Author of The Worm Farmer's Handbook
Rhonda Sherman has been an extension waste management specialist with North Carolina State University since 1993. She is the founder and director of the Composting Learning Lab (CL2), which has 26 types of vermicomposting and composting bins. She gives about 40 presentations annually and has authored over 65 publications on these topics. Her new book is The Worm Farmer’s Handbook: Mid- to Large-Scale Vermicomposting for Farms, Businesses, Municipalities, Schools, and Institutions.
Rhonda Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:
The importance of vermicomposting to address organic waste issues
The benefits of vermicomposting over traditional composting
How sustainability leaders can implement vermicomposting within their organizations
Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders
Rhonda's Final Five Question Responses:
What is one piece of advice you would give other sustainability professionals that might help them in their careers?
You can see from my career that I never intended to work for with worms, but I left myself open to possibilities and was always looking ahead to what wasn't being addressed. I became wildly successful with it. I was not expecting that. I tell people I accidentally became world famous.
What are you most excited about right now in the world of sustainability?
I'm so excited that people are finally paying attention to it, you know? I was writing about food waste recycling a long time ago, like in the 90's, and other people just were not paying attention to food waste. So, now I'm thrilled that they finally are. So many different organizations are trying to reduce, reuse, recycle food waste. So, that's very exciting and I'm thrilled that so many schools have garden and that it's part of the curriculum, raising food and preparing it and eating it. And since you always end up with food waste in a garden or in the kitchen, hopefully they're doing some composting or vermicomposting onsite.
What is one book you would recommend sustainability professionals read?
Obviously my new book, The Worm Farmer's handbook. I also have another book called Vermiculture Technology and that's a 600 page book on scientific aspects of vermicomposting. And also, this is an old book, but it's very important - The Population Bomb. I read that when I was in school back in the 70's or 80's. This planet can't sustain an ever increasing population. So, I think we really need to be conscious of that.
What are some of your favorite resources or tools it really helped you in your work?
My scientific colleagues. I really want people to know about Google Scholar. I mentioned it earlier, but Google Scholar is where you'll find scientific articles. I just think it's really for people to read websites that end in .edu or .gov, because they're really good resources that are normally unbiased and research based, and that's so important. So, you just really have to be careful what you read on the Internet as most people know. On a lot of the worm farming business websites, it's not always accurate information, so you really have to be careful.
Where can our listeners go to learn more about you and your work?
My website is composting.ces.ncsu.edu. I'm on Facebook, NC state's Vermiculture Composting Recycling Program. I'm on Twitter (Rhonda Sherman) and LinkedIn (Rhonda Sherman) and email - firstname.lastname@example.org. My website is a great source of information. There's so much info on there. It'll take you a couple of days to get through it all. I also have videos and podcasts and all sorts of ways to access the information.