Going zero waste

Ruby Pandolfi is an arts and law student at UNSW and has been volunteering at Alfalfa House for a year. She’s also the volunteer coordinator at AYCC – Australian Youth Climate Coalition. Here she tells us about her journey to go zero waste.
If you are interested in zero waste and want to learn how you can do it, come you our open day on May 26.

In Australia alone, one million take away cups end up in landfill every minute. Right now, there are around 46,000 pieces of plastic in every square mile of ocean, and each year enough plastic is thrown away by us humans to circle the earth four times.

I’ve always thought of myself as someone who really really cares about the environment. I cared about the big issues: solar energy and renewables over fossil fuels, global warming, sea level rise, deforestation, overfishing, species extinction… the list goes on! And don’t get me wrong, I still 100% do. But I never consciously thought about the significance of my own individual acts, and their connection to the health of our planet. I would bring my own shopping bags to Woolies, but wouldn’t hesitate to buy my brown rice pasta in plastic packaging, my apples packaged in packs of six, or all my fruit and veg in plastic bags.

Gradually, I started to realise how crazy it is that something we use for 10 minutes to eat our lunch with, like a plastic fork and knife, will last on the earth for hundreds and hundreds of years after we die. Single use and disposable plastics like bottles, cutlery, takeaway containers, bags, coffee cups, straws, milk cartons etc, have become so normal to us in our daily lives that it seemed almost impossible to me that we could ever find a way to live plastic free.

But, as I began learning more and more about how common plastic was in my own life, I started to become aware of the choices that I had the power to make, which could have a pretty significant impact on decreasing my environmental footprint. I shifted my mindset from thinking that my own individual actions couldn’t possibly make THAT big of an impact on our earth, to knowing that everything we do has some significance – and that’s how I discovered zero waste!

Living a ‘zero waste’ lifestyle basically means trying to limit the amount of waste we produce as consumers. This includes:

  • reducing food packaging
  • saying no to disposable plastics
  • composting old food scraps
  • making your own consumables, such bathroom products to limit product packaging
  • reusing reusing reusing

After discovering this amazing but slightly intimidating concept, I quickly found that living a zero waste lifestyle wasn’t as hard as I thought if its broken up into small, achievable steps.

I started to buy all my food like grains, nuts, seeds, pastas and beans in bulk at Alfalfa House and invested in a set of reusable produce bags. I stopped buying from Woolies and Coles and bought fruit and veg loose from markets and co-ops instead. I started composting all my food scraps. Gradually, I also began to make my own bathroom products like toothpaste (it’s surprisingly easy!). I stopped using takeaway containers and bought my own reusable cutlery with me when I went out to eat.

But I still have a long way to go, and I’m not perfect by any stretch of the imagination! I still haven’t found a way to buy frozen blueberries for making smoothies without plastic packaging, or any store that sells tofu in bulk. I’ve found that sometimes we do slip up – we find ourselves in a situation where we’ve forgotten our water bottle or our reusable cutlery, and that’s totally okay. What counts is being conscious and aware of our choices and making the right ones wherever possible.

Since going zero waste I’ve become more mindful; more mindful of what I buy, what I don’t buy, where I buy it, how I store things, etc. I really believe that if everyone was more conscious about their consumption of things like disposable plastics, it would change the way we consume. This small paradigm shift would end up having big impacts on rubbish in landfill, biodiversity killed by plastic pollution and the overall state of our environment.

And it’s definitely not easy either. It takes some thinking ahead and preparation. And a lot of people won’t understand what you’re doing or why. Someone remarked to me a couple of months ago that we should be focusing on the bigger things like lobbying for fossil fuel divestment and renewables instead of wasting our time on something that won’t make much of a difference. But we have to consider both approaches; when people dismiss little acts, I feel they are missing a big opportunity. This cemented my view that we can’t discount the small things; they all add up in the end whether we realise it or not.

Going zero waste allows me to live my values and my truth; it’s about being conscious and compassionate by taking responsibility for the health of our environment. And it’s something that everyone can do. It may seem daunting at first, but when you break it down into little steps, you realise that it really is super achievable.



Harmonise-me bliss balls

In addition to being an Alfalfa House volunteer, Clara Bitcon is a women’s health naturopath and natural fertility educator. Her natural medicine practice, Medi.atrix Women’s Wellness, provides insightful and empowering guidance for women who want to take back their health naturally (www.mediatrixwellness.com.au).

In this blog, Clara teaches us about the ingredients in bliss balls, and introduces us to her easy recipe.


Bliss balls are no new kid on the block, but I’d love to share with you my version. They’re a cinch to whip up, and you can make them in sizeable batches as they’ll keep for quite some time in the fridge (up to 6 weeks). They’re perfect for a quick snack, or if you feel like a treat but would rather not reach for the dessert or chocolate, these guys can very nicely satisfy the urge. Highly
recommended with a brew of green or tulsi tea.

Based on a simple recipe, these bliss balls are meant to be played around with it as much or as little as you like. I like to rotate the nut butter, powdered herbs and spices to make something unique each time. Some people like to add stimulating herbs like guarana, matcha or kola nut. I prefer to use nourishing and balancing herbs. This particular combination of cacao and maca are excellent nourishers of the hormone and stress systems. They are two plants that have a lot going on for them.

Cacao: Elevating & Calming
As the Aztecs say, cacao is a food of the gods (and I’d say the modern world would happily agree).Unlike the cocoa commonly used in chocolate, raw cacao powder is unroasted and unprocessed. Cacao is abundant in the muscle relaxing and mind-calming mineral magnesium. It also contains a range of compounds that have a blissy action on the mind and elevate our mood. If you’re feeling a bit blue or anxious, have a project that requires a lot of mental focus or experience PMS, these bliss balls will make a fine

Maca: Energy & Balance
Maca is a herb that comes from the Andes Mountains of Peru. It is a member of the cabbage family. Many plants in this family contain a group of compounds that assist the body to process environmental toxins and excess hormones. It has traditionally been eaten as an energy enhancing food. One legend tells how Inca warriors were fed Maca to increase their strength before going into battle. After a city was conquered, Maca was prohibited to protect women from the heightened sexual desires induced by its consumption. The amount in this recipe won’t be having quite this level of intensity, but will give you a nice energy lift.

Bliss balls ingredients

Makes about 10-12 bliss balls

  • 1 cup nut butter (almond, tahini, cashew, brazil, sunflower or hemp are all good – if you can’t find the butter, process the nuts and add 1/4 cup of hemp seed or flax oil)
  • 1/2 cup honey (local, raw & organic). If you are vegan, you can replace honey with maple syrup. You may need to add more powders to get the right consistency.
  • 2 tablespoons of raw cacao powder
  • 2 tablespoons of maca powder (organic)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of powdered cinnamon and/or cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (optional)
  • A couple of twists of sea, Celtic or Himalayan salt


  • In a mixing bowl, combine the nut butter and honey and stir until smooth.
  • Add all the powders, spices and salt and mix.
  • The consistency should be thick enough to make into balls but not dry enough to feel crumbly. Play around with adding more powders or nut butter to get the consistency you need.
  • Roll into balls and roll in extra cacao powder or hemp seeds to cover. I like to store in a Tupperware contain and cover with extra cacao powder (you can use hemp seeds for this too). Keep in the fridge.
  • You can even throw a couple of these into a smoothie for a blissy herbal lift!


Sauerkraut: nourishing your inner-health

In addition to being an Alfalfa House volunteer, Clara Bitcon is a women’s health naturopath and natural fertility educator. Her natural medicine practice, Medi.atrix Women’s Wellness, provides insightful and empowering guidance for women who want to take back their health naturally (www.mediatrixwellness.com.au).

In this blog, Clara tells us about the wonders of sauerkraut, and treats us to a simple and tasty recipe.


Sauerkraut is ultimate gut supporting food.  It’s a member of what I like to call ‘elemental basics’: ancestral foods that have been largely lost to modern living yet offer so much to our health. It’s brimming with beneficial bacterial and the cabbage itself is rich in a gut supporting protein called glutamine. You can add healing herbs and spices to support your body in whatever way it is needing. It is food that nourishes our internal soil; our microbiome.

The recipe below will create enough for about two large jars of sauerkraut. You can make it in larger batches too. Making your own is easy and makes eating it daily so much more affordable.


Jar of sauerkraut


  • 1 large bowl or food grade bucket
  • 1 plate that snuggly fits the bowl/bucket
  • knife
  • pounding device (meat hammer, rolling pin, pestle etc.)


  • 1 head of cabbage, red or green, shredded
  • good quality salt, such as Celtic or river salt

Optional extras

  • For calming the digestion: caraway seeds or fennel seeds and grated ginger, dill or fennel tops
  • For firing up the appetite: umeboshi plum paste
  • Anti-inflammatory ingredients: grated ginger and turmeric


Part 1: Prep the Cabbage

Boil some water and fill the bowl you are going to use to ferment the sauerkraut. After a few minutes, pour out water.

Place a couple of handfuls of shredded cabbage into the bowl. For every cup of cabbage, add two teaspoons of salt.

Pound well with a wooden pounder/meat hammer/rolling pin (anything that will serve the purpose of pounding!). You want to pound enough so that you bruise all their cell membranes and release their juices.

Add the next round of shredded cabbage and salt and repeat pounding. Continue these steps until you have used all your cabbage. African drumming music recommended for this part!

Part 2: Tuck it Away to Ferment

With a spatula, wipe down all the sides of the bowl. Find a plate that fits over the top of the sauerkraut – this is important because you want to create a completely oxygen free environment. If there are gaps around the side, the sauerkraut will rot rather than ferment.

Push the plate down with force, so that the fluid released from the cabbage rises above the plate. This will create a perfect seal.

If not enough juices are rising, either pound a bit more and try again. Or pour some boiled water over the plate to create the seal.

Place a heavy weight on top of the plate. As it ferments, more juices release, and you’ll notice the fluid level rise. This is very good. Wrap in a tea towel and set aside.

Part 3: Patience

Check on your kraut every few days. Don’t be alarmed if mould is forming in the liquid; because the vegetables are sealed off, it won’t affect them. Pour off the liquid, wipe down the sides and refill with freshly boiled water.

After 8 – 10 days your kraut should be ready. If you live in a cold climate, it may take longer. If you’re in the tropics, it may be shorter.

Holding plate down, pour off the liquid and have a taste, if it is not sour enough for you give it a couple more days.

Part 4: Bottle Up

When ready, spoon the sauerkraut into sterilised jars and cap. You can store these in the pantry for up to a year, but once you have opened them store in the fridge.

How to eat sauerkraut?

Traditionally sauerkraut was added as a side to most meals, especially if it contains meat. I like it on toasted sourdough, avocado and cracked pepper, in buddah bowls, on jacket baked potatoes or as a garnish to any Asian inspired dish. It’s versatile, so sneak it in in unexpected places.


Facebook: www.facebook.com/clarabitconnaturopathy
Instagram: www.instagram.com/mediatrixwellness

Vegan mayonnaise

Vegan mayonnaise and me

Steve Sobolewski is a data analyst by day, and a writer and food fanatic by night. He’s also a regular contributor to our blog where he’s chronicling for us his journey into the world of sustainable food. In his second blog post, Steve talks about his food philosophy.

This week I’m going to be talking about an obsession of mine – food. Of course food is an obsession for a lot of us, just look at the variety of restaurants in Newtown and you will see we are a community that loves to eat. The exciting thing about Newtown is how many places cater to vegetarians, vegans, conscientious meat-eaters and everything in between.

My personal philosophy on food has changed quite significantly in the past 5 or 6 years. I grew up in a family that loves eating, whether it was my mother’s home cooked meals, a Friday night takeaway or going out to a restaurant. My sister and I were unusual children, quite happy to sit quietly and calmly in a restaurant, presumably because we wanted to keep being taken out!

But we never spoke about where our food came from and how it was produced. I saw my mother purchasing prepackaged items from the supermarket: meat came in little polystyrene trays covered in cling film, salad came in sealed bags, vegetables were pre-prepared and packaged, cereal boxes covered with the beaming faces of the Rice Bubbles’ elves and Tony the Tiger. All of it went in the trolley. This was normal. This was how we fed ourselves with meat and two vegetables on a daily basis. The supermarket was a filter, separating what I was eating from the reality of where it came from. I didn’t care because it didn’t register. Our primary concern in what we chose was taste and enjoyment.

As I got older things didn’t change much. I was a huge fan of the doner kebab (and as a student in London this was a standard dinner out after a few beers). I loved McDonalds and Hungry Jack’s, I’d pop into KFC whilst out and about to get a box of popcorn chicken without a second thought. Not once would it register about how this food was being produced and at what cost. Into adulthood my tastes changed but my attitudes didn’t. I was eating at better quality places but where my food came from was simply beyond my concern.

When I met my partner I was still eating like this. I wasn’t as unhealthy as I sound, I ate a lot of restaurant food and take-away but I also ate a lot of vegetables and home cooked meals. I was omnivorous but most of all thoughtless.

My partner explained to me that she had been thinking more and more about her environmental impact. She wanted become a more conscientious consumer and had decided to take her first step towards this. It was a simple thing; from that point on she was only going to eat free range chicken. She didn’t try to make me do the same thing, she simply explained her reasons (animal welfare and the effect of meat farming on the environment) and that slowly set off a chain reaction in my own thinking. How had the animal been killed, how had it lived? Had it suffered? My partner opened the door for me to begin seriously looking at where my food came from. In terms of energy consumption, water and land use, greenhouse gas emissions and wildlife, meat farming is proven to be much more damaging than the equivalent in non-meat agriculture.

My partner led the way and I followed. We followed eating free range chicken to only eating meat if we could guarantee it was responsibly and ethically produced. We cut down the amount of meat we ate by 95%. As a result over the last few years we have essentially become what I like to call “mostly vegetarian”. Our primary sources of protein are vegetable based, I learned to love tofu and, more recently, by discovering the range of things available at Alfalfa House we’ve replaced other items with vegan and vegetarian alternatives. Vegan mayonnaise, made from chickpeas, is better than I ever could have imagined.

As I’ve changed my approach to what I eat, I’ve realised that I don’t have to compromise on enjoyment – smoked tofu salad with roasted broccoli, beetroot, pepitas, and tahini and honey dressing is one of my all-time favourite dinners. (Shameless plug: season dependent, all of the ingredients are available at Alfalfa).

Everything we get from Alfalfa House is delicious. A weekly veg box encourages us to experiment and try new things with what’s in season. They have a huge selection for such a small shop and you can be sure that everything you buy has been produced with reducing waste, maximizing health and helping the community in mind.

I am still a meat-eater but it’s a rare occasion, and I only buy from places where I know that the animal has been treated with respect and with care. Perhaps that will change in the future; I know there is more that I can do. I worry about dairy and what milk cattle are put through to produce milk but I haven’t stopped eating cheese yet. Some might say that I’m not doing enough, and they would probably be right, but this is a journey that I’m still taking.  One thing I have learned is that places like Alfalfa House offer people food options they can enjoy knowing that they have taken a small step.

And if my own experience is anything to go by, a small step can be the first of many.

Sarah and Steve at a volunteer induction

A fresh start: volunteer inductions at Alfalfa House

Steve Sobolewski is a data analyst by day, and a writer and food fanatic by night. We’re lucky to now have him as a regular contributor to our blog where he’ll chronicle for us his journey into the world of sustainable food. In his first blog post, Steve talks about his experience on a recent volunteer induction at Alfalfa House.

In the above image, Steve is pictured on his volunteer induction with Sarah.

On a sunny but brisk Saturday morning I walk into Newtown’s food co-op, Alfalfa House, and announce with my best new-boy-at-school smile that I’m here for the volunteer induction.

“Hooray!” responds the excited woman behind the counter. I’ll later be introduced to her as Yue. If you go into the store you’ll recognize her as the cheerful lady looking busy, although that description would suit a lot of the people working here. My first impression on entering is how friendly everybody is. Sarah, who runs the induction sessions welcomes us with a beaming smile, and invites us to look around while she finishes up. She has a warm and friendly manner, it’s clear to see why she does all the inductions. I wander between the loaded shelves, surprising myself by learning how many different types of rice exist. And I had no idea that quinoa was so numerous in varieties.  

Another volunteer steps through the door. “Yay! Another tall one!” Yue calls. (Apparently they’ve had a shortage of volunteers able to reach some of the higher shelves.)  

Sarah invites us to walk through the office, into the storeroom and out into the garden. We take a seat in a small corner of the garden that has a table and some chairs set out in the sunshine. The garden is controlled chaos. A stack of boxes in one corner, bins along one wall, a large metal awning camped out in the middle of what could have been or will be a vegetable patch. It is busy, but there is an order to everything. Stacks of boxes, containers of compost, laundry hangers, wormeries. Everything has its purpose. Sarah explains to us what Alfalfa House is all about and gives us a bit of history.

Sarah tells us that a while ago  Alfalfa House came close to closing. A lot of time was spent looking at what Alfalfa House was doing, could it continue and if so how? Its members overwhelmingly agreed that it was a necessary part of the community. 

It surprises me to hear that its doors almost closed. Right now the shop feels alive, people are constantly coming and going. While we are being shown around the store room, a mother with her children comes through the back door to deliver some beeswax cloths. Maurice, the manager (and one of the many driving forces behind Alfalfa House’s success), stops by to collect a trolley of things to take to a local waste reduction festival. Alfalfa buzzes with the effort of the people inside it. It feels like a community. Sarah explains to us that Alfalfa House relies on its volunteers to keep going and it was only through increasing that reliance and utilizing them more, that it stayed open.

We are shown around the rest of the shop and have a lot of information given to us. Health and safety tips, where things are, what things are, what might happen, emergency exits are here, here and here. I’m feeling energized in a way I hadn’t expected, ready to get involved and so I sign up for a shift. Saturday morning, a time usually devoted to not getting up. I had originally come to the induction because my wife asked me if I’d like to write a blog for a place she had been devoting a lot of time to. Now I was ready to devote a few hours of my own, in addition to writing about it.

Since then I have worked my first volunteer shift at Alfalfa House and I loved every minute of it. The sense of committing and contributing to something that in the small scale benefits the neighborhood and the community, supports ethical producers and does its part to keep the world going is worth it.

Before I continue with my blog posts I should make a few admissions. I am not a vegan, or a vegetarian. I don’t know a huge amount about what the requirements are for something to be considered organic. I don’t know what vegetables are in season, I can make an educated guess on what foods are gluten free and only within the last few years have I found out what tofu is actually made of. I am someone who loves food. I’m also someone who has, over the last few years, started to learn about my impact on the world and the environment and what I can do to minimize it. I don’t claim to be any kind of expert but I’m learning. I volunteer on Saturday mornings so if you come to an induction I’ll probably meet you. Everyone is welcome!

Bulk orders receive extra 5% discount

Bulk orders now available

Alfalfa House members can reap the benefits of an extra discount if they choose to place bulk orders!

Members of Alfalfa House can order food in bulk (in the minimum weight or quantity the co-op buys the product in) and receive an extra 5% discount on top of any other discount to which they are entitled. If it’s not a regular co-op product, we may still be able to get it in. Chat to our Stock Coordinators or one of the Shop Coordinators (on the till) to find out more.

How to place an order

When placing an order you’ll need to provide

  1. Your name
  2. Membership number
  3. Contact phone number
  4. the name and quantity of the product

These details are then entered in the Bulk Orders book and your order placed next time the co-op orders from the supplier stocking your requested product. How long it takes will depend on how often the co-op orders from that supplier. If it is likely to take longer than 2-3 weeks for your bulk order to be received, we will contact you to let you know when we next expect to place an order with the supplier.

Bulk order suppliers

Here’s a list of suppliers and roughly how often Alfalfa House places orders:

  • Austral Herbs (herbs and spices) – once every 4-6 weeks. Order placed Tuesday, delivered a week or so later.
  • Demeter (flours) – fortnightly. Order placed Wednesday morning in week A, delivered Thursday in week B (ie, ordered one week, delivered the next).
  • Eco-farms (various produce) – weekly. Order placed Wednesday, delivered Friday.
  • Green Clover (various produce) – weekly. Order placed Tuesday morning, delivered Thursday.
  • Honest to Goodness (nuts and dried fruit) – weekly. Order placed Tuesday morning, delivered Thursday afternoon.
  • Hunter Valley Organics (various produce) – every two or three weeks. Ordered Tuesday morning, typically delivered on Thursday

The plastic free challenge

We challenge you to refuse single-use plastic for a whole month. Go on – give it a go! You won’t be alone as thousands of other people from over 70 countries are also giving a plastic free lifestyle a go. The planet will thank you…and so will we.

The Age Of Plastic

Since its invention in the early 1900s, plastic has become such an integral part of the way we live that we hardly realise it’s there – in our phones, cars, clothes, books, kitchen appliances… the list goes on. Its durability and potential to be moulded into any shape imaginable has truly made it the material of our time.

In many cases we are unable to avoid buying it even if we try. However, there is one blindingly obvious way in which we can avoid buying it, and that is to avoid unnecessary plastic packaging.

Why should we avoid using Plastic?

It is estimated that more than 297 million tonnes of plastic was consumed worldwide in 2015 – that’s more than the weight of all people on earth combined!

If we break that down we find that 500 billion single-use plastic bags are made each year (that’s roughly 150 bags for every person on the planet), and more than 100 million plastic bottles are used worldwide every single day. Considering that a plastic bottle can take anywhere between 450 and 1000 years to decompose, this presents a monumental problem.

As you read this blog there are 269,000 tonnes of plastic floating on the surface of our oceans killing our beautiful birds and marine life, and almost the same amount in undetectable microfibres suffocating our sea floors. More locally you can see the garbage floating in our rivers and harbours, and the litter on our streets. Not to mention the offgassing we breathe in or eat through our plastic covered food.

So what can we do when plastic is everywhere?

As consumers we are the most powerful force in making change a reality. There are many ways in which we can reduce our plastic consumption and help fight plastic pollution that are simple, easy and often more affordable.

Here are a few easy tips for saying no to plastic:

  • say no to drinking straws and disposable cutlery. It’s amazing how often we accept these thing without noticing, then just throw them in the bin!
  • if you see plastic on the street, pick it up and put it in the nearest bin – you will look much cooler than the person who dropped it there.
  • Say no to single-use plastic bags as often as you can. If each Australian family used 1 plastic bag less each week that would be 253 million bags less each year!
  • avoid buying pre-bottled water by changing your mental list when you leave the house to: “Keys, wallet, phone, water bottle…”

Take a selfie!

Why not have a little fun while you’re at it by joining us at Alfalfa House in taking a Plastic Free Challenge Water Bottle Selfie!

Simply take a fun photo of you with your reusable water bottle and post it to facebook or instagram with a caption saying: “I’m taking @thePlasticFreeChallenge [be sure it’s a link], how about you?”

Keep your eye out for your friends here at Alfalfa House, we will have our silly selfies proudly up there too!

More information

You can find out more about the Plastic Free Challenge at http://www.plasticfreechallenge.org/

For more information about issues surrounding plastic consumption and pollution, try these links:

Free worm juice for our members!

Alfalfa house has six worm farms that are looked after by our team of volunteers. We compost our all our food waste to produce rich usable worm juice and castings. Liquid gold for your garden!

Free worm juice

We’d like you to know that there’s oodles of worm juice available free of charge to members at Alfalfa House – find it in the glass bottles & jars out in the garden by the back gate.

What is worm juice?

Worm juice (or worm wee) is the liquid run off produced by the worms digesting and transforming organic matter fed to them. Worm juice is rich in good nitrogen fixing bacteria, liquid minerals and trace elements for immediate plant uptake.  A wonderful tonic and rich fertiliser for herbs, veggies, plants, and soil.

How to use Worm Juice

Dilute to the color of weak tea & then water your garden beds and pot plants. Apply it to the soil and leaves.

Why is the worm juice sometime different colours?

If it’s rained then the worm juice will be diluted via the rain, hence the different shades of brown.

What do we feed our worms?

  • Organic vegetable & fruit scraps.
  • Some coffee grounds mixed in with the food scraps.
  • Tea leaves (without the tea bag).
  • Small cut-up vegetable and fruit scraps.  Cutting them up allows the food to break down more easily, and the worms then feed on the broken down food.
  • A little bit of moistened shredded paper, cardboard, and/or straw.

What don’t we feed our worms?

  • We don’t give worms any forms of grains, dairy, oils, and animal products. These foods also attract cockroaches & rodents.
  • Worms also don’t do well with onions, garlic, chili  & other spices, pineapple & citrus.
  • Eggs shells are a little harsh for them unless they are crushed into a powder.
  • Leave your tea bags out of the worm farms. The tea leaves are good but the bags are mostly made with plastic.

Tips for a healthy worm farm

  • Follow the guidelines for what to feed & not feed them.
  • Keep your worm farm moist. When collecting worm juice you can pour it over the worm farm first & then collect it when it drains through.
  • Keep your worm farm on a slight forward tilt so the worm juice always runs to the bucket. Best to keep the tap always open to avoid worms drowning in juice.
  • Keep your worm farm is a shady spot.
  • Worm farms should smell sweet and earthy. If it smells off then more carbon is needed. Add damp shredded paper, cardboard, and/or straw.

Bugs in the worm farm!

Bugs are part of the worm farms’ ecosystem.

  • Cockroaches indicate there is unwanted matter in your worm farm. They will be attracted by grains, meats, & dairy. Removing these foods and keeping your worm farm environment healthy & smelling earthy will help. Inner city living unfortunately means cockroaches are not too far away.
  • Ants indicate your worm farm is too dry or has sweet food. Keep sugar and honey etc out of your worm farm.
  • Slaters, mites, black soldier flies and such, are all beneficial.

What are worm castings?

Worm castings are the worms’ poops. They are also called vermicast. We harvest them about every 6 months and add them to Alfalfa’s garden beds. Balanced castings smell neutral or sweet and earthy. They can be diluted in water for a stronger worm juice. You can also mix with compost to grow seedlings. Or add a little bit directly to your soil to add microbes and other nutrients. Adding castings to the soil also aerates and improves its overall structure.

More information

If you’d like to start your own worm farm, or read more about them, here are some great links:

Grab a fresh veggie box

Another perk of being a member of Alfalfa House, besides being a part owner, is that you can pre-order a fresh veggie box. The boxes are packed with the highest quality of organic and farmer direct seasonal fruit and vegetables that we can get our hands on.

Fresh Food Boxes are set at the affordable price of $25 for members. In the box you will find a leafy green, handful of seasonal fruit along with an array of everyday staples such as onions, potatoes and carrots. To add some excitement to your week, we often throw in a farmer direct surprise – usually from our wonderful NSW farmer, Colin.

Buying a Food box is a convenient and affordable way to ensure that you have fresh organic produce at your fingertips. If you cook most meals at home and have multiple mouths to feed and you can order a double boxes. You also have the option to add on a fresh sourdough from the Bread and Butter Project.  Please be aware though that we cannot make substitutions, or take out specific vegetables or fruit.

Order your veggie box!

Boxes are available on Wednesday or Sunday and can be picked up anytime during the co-op opening hours. All orders for Wednesday boxes need to be in by Monday midnight. To order the fruit and veggie boxes for Sunday orders must reach us by midnight on Thursday.

To order a fresh food box, visit our online shop.