Migratory Worms Revisit Bernheim

By Martha Slaughter

A clutch of red wriggler worms, descendants of worms raised in the worm farm of the Edible Garden in 2014, have returned to Bernheim to visit the land of their ancestors. Former Artists in Residence, David McClelland and Mei-ling Hom, who constructed the sound and straw art installation “Rhizolink” in the Edible Garden over the Fall of 2013 and the Spring of 2014 have been moving between their farm in Western New York State, their house in Philadelphia and an artists residency at the McColl Center for Art and Innovation in Charlotte, North Carolina.

At each of these stops they have been constructing worm farms from salvaged 5 gallon buckets filled with table scraps and coffee chaff mixed with straw. As the worms reproduced, the initial colony was split and then split again and again and again. So far, Bernheim’s worms have been installed on farms in New York, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and South Carolina. The remaining members of this band of dedicated detritovores are headed to New Orleans where Mei-ling and David will be working with community gardening advocates among the Vietnamese residents of East New Orleans and the folks at ReFresh New Orleans who are raising vegetables around the perimeter of a new supermarket that anchors a community devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Who could imagine the extraordinary lengths that worms migrate?

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