In 2002 the landfill for the Greater Toronto Area closed. Although it is the 2nd largest country in the world, Canada could not locate a site for a new landfill. Garbage was exported to the United States; almost 1000 trucks/week! Bad for the planet, bad for the people and a waste of money. This was the largest landfill site in Canada and the third largest in North America. The GTA has a population of over 6 million, about half live in multi-residential units (eg. condominiums, townhouses, etc.). Many people have few options for composting, therefore most organic matter from these buildings ends up in landfill. Vermicomposting provides the opportunity to compost indoors – a sustainable solution to manage organic matter (food scraps and paper) for apartment dwellers or anywhere without the option to compost outside.
Cathy Nesbitt has taken a common recycling problem and turned it into green business by helping consumers compost their organic waste with the help of worms. Read on to learn all about this eco entrepreneur and some life lessons from a worm bin.
How do worms convert organic matter (food scraps and paper) into nature’s finest soil amendment known as castings?
Worms are going to play an ever-increasing role in waste management, soil production and therefore food security. Taking care of food scraps is one way we can all help mitigate climate change. Feed the soil, not the plant. Worms offer an incredible cross-curricular learning opportunity. Managing food waste is one way we can all help mitigate climate change.
Cathy is on a mission to put worms in every living space. Indoor composting with worms. She believes that worms are going to play an ever increasing role in waste management, soil production and therefore food security. It is essential that we learn how. Managing our food waste is a simple way that we can mitigate climate change and create ‘black gold’ to grow more delicious, nutritious food. The solution to the garbage crisis is several solutions, one of which is vermicomposting. Cathy’s Crawly Composters is a multi award winning organization recognized with several environmental and business awards. We conduct inspirational workshops and worm birthday parties. Worms provide a tremendous cross-curricular learning opportunity in the classroom. Over 75,000 students have seen our presentation, so far. On-site solutions to manage organic matter.
Cathy’s working title is Cathy Crawly Laughing Bean Queen
Simple solutions for some of today’s challenges. Worms for amending the soil, sprouts for eating (grow your own) and laughter for overall health and wellness.
Laughter yoga came to her at a time when she was struggling with all the negative energy folks were sending her way about this important mission. You can imagine that not everyone wants to have worms in the house. Daily laughter is now a huge part of her health plan.
Laughter is a great connector. It oxygenates our beautiful body. Laughter is a wonderful form of self love. Laughter is the best medicine. Have you had your daily D.O.S.E.? (Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin, Endorphins) – The love drugs vs Cortisol and Adrenaline when stressed.
What inspired the start of this green business?
There was a piece in a local newspaper asking; “Are you a woman? Do you have a business idea?” It was an advertisement for a six month business course. After an injury at work as a freelance behavioural management specialist, (Freelance means without benefits) She was thinking about this worm business, but did not know how to start. Taking a business course offered the perfect opportunity. She said to her husband and said, “I’m quitting my job, taking this course and starting a worm business”. And that’s what she did.
What’s a day in the life of a Worm Advocate?
Like backyard composting, worm composting requires a carbon to nitrogen mix. To provide the required materials, we collect food scraps from local restaurants and grocery stores and shredded paper from offices. It is then processed and fed to the worms. Some days will involve harvesting. This means separating the worms from the compost. The castings are then dried, screened and packaged for sale.
Monday is a busy day of the week. This is our picking, packing, shipping day. Orders are prepared for delivery.
Education is a key component of our business to create awareness about the benefits of using worms to convert organic matter into nature’s finest fertilizer. Some of our time is spent presenting worm workshops for schools and community groups.
How do you promote your business?
We chose media as our marketing strategy. We have attracted over 500 print articles, several television and radios appearances as well as a documentary about our business called “Squirm, The Story of Cathy’s Crawly Composters.” We also attend monthly business networking events to promote the business. Since March 2020 Cathy has been travelling around the world via podcast as a guest expert over 200 shows so far!
Cathy co-founded and was Chair of a business networking organization called Green Connections Network. (2009-2022) Green-Connections was a networking and mentoring group of small businesses dedicated to exploring and sharing environmentally-friendly practices, products and ideas. The goal was to encourage all businesses to “go green” and live more sustainably.
What mistakes have you made along the way as an entrepreneur? What advice would you give others starting a sustainable business?
To raise awareness about our business, we exhibited at every show that was remotely connected to the environment. We spent a lot of money and time at events that did not provide the returns we were seeking. We discovered that worms are not an impulse buy (seems obvious when you think about it). Money is often limited at the beginning of a new business venture. When considering if an event is suitable for your business, attend first before deciding to exhibit. This will provide the opportunity to find out if the event attracts your target market, you can get the feel for the show, etc.
Sprouts are considered nature’s superfood.
Sprouts are hydrating, alkalyzing, regenerative, biogenic and contain up to 100 times more digestive enzymes than raw vegetables. Grow sprouts at home, school, work. Sprouts are the original fast food.
Laughter wellness is their latest offering. Discover the magic of laughing for the health of it.
Laughter Yoga was started in 1995 by a medical doctor in India, Dr. Madan Kataria. His goal is world peace. This global movement has spread world wide and there are laughter clubs in over 120 countries. We have a global mental health tsunami. Laughter is the fastest happiness hack that gets us out of stress and into joy. Prior to 2020 there were very few opportunities to do Laughter Yoga online. Laughter yogis were ready to jump in and help people feel better.
As a Laughter Yoga Teacher, Cathy incorporates tapping (EFT – Emotional Freedom Technique), brain gym and other healing modalities. Her goal is to help people get out of stress and into joy. Laughter goes with everything. Cathy is bringing her laughter wellness program to corporations to help people adjust to back in person and connect on a deeper level. When we laugh, we vibrate at a higher level. When we feel good, we do good.
Cathy offers 2 day online Laughter Yoga Leader Training for anyone wanting to learn this magic medicine. Become certified to lead laughter club and the benefits of laughing for the health of it. https://www.cathysclub.com/#leader
Laughter Yoga Wellness Program
Laughter Yoga is a simple concept that combines deep breathing exercises with gentle movements and laughter. Started in 1995 by a medical doctor, Dr. Madan Kataria. It is a cardiovascular activity that promotes feelings of wellbeing while decreasing stress. Laughter Yoga is a unique exercise routine which combines unconditional laughter with yogic breathing (Pranayama).
Science has proved that the body cannot differentiate between real and simulated laughter. Laughter Yoga is the only technique that allows adults to achieve sustained hearty laughter without involving cognitive thought. It bypasses the intellectual systems that may hinder natural laughter.
With Laughter Yoga:
§ We can laugh without jokes or comedy
§ We can laugh even when not happy or in a good mood
§ We can train our body and mind to laugh, Develop a Laughter Muscle
§ It’s about cultivating childlike playfulness
How does a Laughter Yoga session work?
Laughter Yoga sessions are typically 30-60 minutes. They start with easy warm-up techniques which include stretching, chanting, clapping and gentle movement. These help breakdown inhibitions and develop feelings of childlike playfulness. Breathing exercises are used to prepare the lungs for laughter followed by a series of “laughter exercises” that combine the method of acting and visualization techniques with playfulness. Breathing exercises from yoga are interspersed through the session.
It is scientifically proven that 10-15 minutes of sustained laughter is sufficient to develop full physiological benefits. A Laughter Yoga session may finish with “Laughter Meditation” which is a session of unstructured laughter whereby participants sit or lie down and allow natural laughter to flow from within like a fountain. This is a powerful experience that often leads to a healthy emotional catharsis and also a feeling of release and joyfulness that can last for days.
Laughter yoga is intentional laughter exercises designed to help us feel good. The more we laugh, the better we feel. Laughter is the best medicine. Have you had your daily D.O.S.E.? (dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, endorphins)
Regular laughter yoga sessions are recommended for maximum benefit.
Come experience the magic of laughter for the health of it.
Cathy Nesbitt, Founder of Cathy’s Crawly Composters (est 2002), Cathy’s Sprouters and Cathy’s Laughter Club.
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