dunkin donuts - have some worm tea

Submitted by Susan Miller on Mon, 03/23/2009 - 17:06.

On Saturday morning, I rolled out of the quiet house in Old Southeast St. Petersburg with my hosts. We were en route to the Saturday Morning Market where local vendors sell fruit, bread and pastries, coffee, vegetables, arts and crafts and serve a wide variety of food and drink. Oh, yes, there's music, too. All kinds and especially the great drumline from the local middle school.

Just inside the gate we encountered a gentleman who is with Mother's Organics here in Pinellas County, Florida. He was showing an ingenious contraption for making worm tea in your backyard with kitchen waste a few red wigglers and some plastic stackable bins. Everything he had was awesome including a planting sock which they procure from a Grafton, Ohio company.

Here are my hosts - Lynda Simmerly, Desmond Clark, Thaddeus Root and the gentleman from Mother's Organics. Guess what. Two of these folks used to live in realNEO!

As we continued to learn from this gentleman, he told us about a worm bin behind a new Dunkin Donuts in St. Petersburg.

Today my host, Thaddeus drove by and photgraphed the worm bin at the donut spot. Pictured above, Thaddeus' friend and coworker, preparator Tom points out the fab worm bin that Dunkin Donuts uses for its paper and coffee grounds.

The bin turns the coffee and paper into worm castings and worm tea which will be incorporated into the compost or humus at Mother's Organics facility. This bin houses 80lbs of hard working red worms.

The worm tea bin is still being tweaked, but our Mother's Organics guide indicated that the solar powered worm tea maker is pateneted, and soon more Dunkin Donuts and other coffee shops might be able to order up a worm tea bin for their donut shops. Cool.

Why oh why, you might wonder, does Dunkin Donuts have this worm tea bin in their surrounds? Well, they are the very first LEED Certified Dunkin Donuts ever! What do they do with that grease? Biofuel.

The beach culture is nice, the bay culture is even nicer with balmy breezes blowing through the palms, live oaks and vast swatches of tropical plants. Worm tea, compost tea, good earth, raised beds... even well to do and middle class folks down here in St. Pete have their gardens in gear and they're eating local and exotic. In the yards, you can find oranges, mangos, bananas and prickly pears ...

wormbin with Tom.jpg261.67 KB
dunkindonuts LEED.jpg241.96 KB
( categories: )

worms not only non-native to parking lots and rubbermaid

Solar powered worm tea maker, hmm?
Dunkin Donuts might be cooler than I thought.

I just harvested castings from my bin this past weekend, and moved the worms to a new bin. Fun process.

A friend told me, afterward, that I shouldn't have thrown some of those red wigglers into our garden, as they're a non-native, invasive species. Further research suggests that they've not actually been found to be invasive -- especially not in an urban environment -- but they probably won't survive...

In any event, the worms all should have been saved for my new bin or others. They're quick to multiply, though, and I'll hopefully have more to share soon.

I was surprised to find, though, that almost no earthworms -- just 2 species, actually -- are actually native to North America.

Looking forward to making compost tea from the castings and spraying on our lil sprouts and seedlings...

earth worm shit tea is

earth worm shit tea is that what you gave me-
as i told you it tasted like apple cider vinger
something tea- you said its not apple cider vinger-
from now on unless its labled i'm not drinking-
thats what steve was attempting to warn me about
thanks any how
yogi guy

Kombucha, Guy!

That was Kombucha that Jenita and I made! (No, nothing to do with earthworms...)

I'm sorry if you had some difficulties!! We've found it only helpful to digestion, but I suppose everyone's natural balance is easily overthrown...

satire funny like k. tea

satire funny attempt jeff at the worms expense- i pick worms from dangerous places and put in safe places-or maybe   i interfere in their journy - in the military survival we eat worms grass etc., supposed to be very nutritious - the worms taste like worms should taste like - so when the the great lack of food famone comes you all will have some worms and  kombuca tea etc., i really liked the tea- yogi guy

Great work, Jeff S !

Jeff, terrific stuff here.   Don't forget the important work and lessons learned from Sandor Katz, fermentation guru and his associates.

He would be the ideal thought leader and advisor for the advancement and advocacy of this work, in creating value-added vegetation models that uplift the underprivileged and create viable vocational opportunities for all stakeholders of our communities, NEO-wide.

I am proud of you and Jenita and the great work you are doing with local networks, Ning or otherwise.  Kudos.

Remember that it is the sound integration of all this in parallel virtual and physical planes that will truly drive regional transformation. More on this soon.


I second Sudhir's compliments to J and J

We have a lot of people working with/on realneo who are passionate about civic progress.  Sudhir is one of them - Sudhir's ideas are a huge internet traffic draw to realneo.   Don't laugh about  worms.   They are our masters....  Want to argue the question?

Cult following


Over 34,000 hits...Don't let it go to your head Sudhir, but you have quite a cult following :)

Do you ever peruse this site?:


how did i miss all this?

 I'll take your unwanted red wrigglers any day, Jeff. I have my worm bin on my back porch loaded with paper and a winter of coffee grounds, waiting wrigglers. They sell them at Parma Pet Shop, I just haven't been out that way yet.

Susan - thank you for the great photo of Thaddeus and Des - reminds me how much I miss them!

these are my ladies, giggle and squirm

Great! Let me kick them into gear again, then I'm happy to facilitate colonization...

I hear that crushed up eggshells will help neutralize all those coffee grounds.

"Non-Native Species" - Problem or Hype???

I wonder about this "Non-Native Species (Worm) Problem"...

As I understand it, the main promlem with such species is that they run rampant over the ecosystem(s) because they have no predators, and therefore their populations explode ('kinda like the humans).

Tonight I saw the fattest Robin eating these "bad" worms in my yard, and it sure looked like that Robin was enjoying it's meal!!!

I guess I am having problems with the "bad" Zebra Muscles too, as they seem to have filtered millions of tons of the algae out of Lake Erie, with the sole complaints coming from the electrical power plant people who say that they now have to clean out their water intake pipes.

Just what is their problem?

Is that small expense cutting into their profits so badly that they can't raise their rates (yet again) by saying that they now have this added expense... Give me a break!

The fisherpersons I know say that the perch that they catch have their stomachs full of Zebra Muscles! 

I have friends that love to eat mussels too, and you can now see the bottom of the lake, sometimes through 5 feet of water. What an improvment from the green waves and dead lake of the 1960's!!!

Don't we have more important things to worry about, like maybe the Mercury coming from the coal burning power plants? Isn't that an "Invasive Element" that is getting into the Lake Erie fish that we eat? Isn't that getting into the ocean Tuna we eat? Isn't that getting into our bodies and the bodies of our children?

--- Just my opinion, and we all know that opinions are like a$$holes, everybody has one ---

There are 10 types of people in this world, those who understand binary and those who don't.

flexing mussels, dominoes, cascades

Don't we have more important things to worry about [than zebra mussels], like maybe the Mercury coming from the coal burning power plants?

I'd bet that that mercury in our lakes is more devastating than zebra mussels, but I really don't know.

((By the way... beautiful example of REALNEO style, Peter: take a comment about one subject, respond to it by bringing up a tangentially related issue you're more interested in, then argue vigorously enough about the tangent to bring it to the forefront of the discussion.))

Anyway, I don't know, and they don't know, and we don't know...

The point is that we don't know...

We know that nature has been --( over a relatively long period of time and as a whole )-- quite robust, but we also know that we now have the ability to affect it profoundly, in relation to individual components (species, systems...) and as a whole (say, climate and atmosphere.)

We know that it's all interconnected, and that a change to one system without fail leads to a change in another. As for drastic changes... I think we've been pretty lucky lately.

We only have guesses as to what the results of change will be; we don't have a nearly complete enough picture to understand or gauge effects on a large scale.

In general, nobody knows with absoluteness whether the introduction of a new species [to an area where it thrives at the extreme expense of others] is less or more important than minding our chemical business. In either case, we're throwing a system out of whack, and we ought to think hard about whether it's possible to pull it back to where it was -- whether or not we can see all of the ill effects.

That's why it's called conservation.
We should largely be in maintenance mode until we understand the system better.

Red Worms at work..

As of a year or two ago this was one my worm up close and personal experiences.


"Ecological concerns such as biotic homogenization aside, the economic toll [of doing absolutely nothing about invasive species] would be disastrous. The economic harm caused by the 50,000 non-native invasive plants, animals, and other organisms already in the United States is approaching $140 billion per year. Florida's government alone spends $45 million annually battling invasive species, which cause some $180 million in agricultural damage."

And $180 million annually is a small price tag compared to what those in the developing world are facing thanks to the introduction "exotic plants" and the resulting damage to the Earth's biodiversity: According to Hope Shand of the Rural Advancement Foundation International, the poor rely on that biodiversity for "85 to 90% of their livelihood needs." And crop genetic resources "are disappearing at 1-2% per annum." Yes, tell us again how environmental "narrowmindedness" is suffocating us.

-- Why Worry About Invasive Species? — By Bradford Plumer, Mother Jones