Worm-composting in Vietnam.

How do they do it in Vietnam? Since I was traveling in Vietnam for twenty days I was seeking about some information about how they do worm-composting in the country. I found out Fablab Saigon has give it a try, with more or less success. A fablab is a place where people can come and work on engineering/design projects with other people. It’s about design, sharing and open-source. The Fablab Saigon has been founded by Hoang-Anh, a French-Vietnamese engineer. Her idea was to bring this concept to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) to ‘attempt to offer a fablab space in the heart of the dynamic city’ that Saigon is.

The Fablab started about nine months ago and is still busy creating its own community; which is one of the most important thing for a fablab. They’re mostly busy with some electronics & engineering projects (since they’re more interested in hi & low tech) but one of the volunteers is a gardener and started the (worm)composting project. He joined the team especially to start this project. It’s a project that takes more time than the other ones. They visited a worm-farm near Saigon but this farm produces worms which aren’t really suitable to compost: they’re made to reproduce themselves quickly and are used to eat only one type of food. That’s why Fablab Saigon began its journey with worm-eggs, to start from the bottom. They tried in a normal worm-bin and in a green-tower as well. A green-tower is a vertical garden where you can easily grow some plants & vegetables. The one at the Fablab looked exactly the same as in Europe: same size, same material, same color!

Studio Claire Hornn

The weather in Saigon is quite nice for the compost-worms: it’s hot and humid. This why a worm-bin can be used outdoor instead of indoor like in Europe. Hoang-Anh told me she didn’t know anyone in the city that was or is composting. The reason why is because the culture in Vietnam is really different than in Europe: people aren’t really interested in urban farming or recycling yet. Maybe in ten or fifteen years, this will change. We hope so. On the other hand, elderly people were kind of composting back in the days: they put directly food waste into the plants/ground. They knew which food waste was good for which plant. Kind of smart, right?

The Fablab Saigon’s (worm)composting project is moving slowly and they’re also trying some other compost proces using Black Soldier Flies (BSF). The benefit of using larvae is that they can not only eat vegetable but also meat. And they do it faster in comparison to earthworms. But it also has its negative points since the larvae, when turning into flies, will fly away of the bin when adult.

It was really interesting to see the Fablab and meet Hoang-Anh and her talk about worms with her and her colleague!