At a windswept lot on the San Francisco Bay, hundreds of thousands of worms are happily munching on yesterday’s pizza crusts, leftover meals, and apple cores — the stuff that even Berkeley’s starving students won’t touch.
Berkeley Worms, or the Associated Students of the University of California Composting Project, is a student-run collective that gathers food waste from dorm cafeterias, campus restaurants, sororities, and other shared housing units and turns it over to a resident colony of red wriggler worms. Red wrigglers are voracious eaters with a real fondness for food waste. Collective members harvest the castings (what worm lovers call poop) as a high-end fertilizer, which sells for $300 a cubic yard or $12.50 a cubic foot.
Berkeley Worms was founded in 1994. Its mission was simple: