Parish gets a wiggle on for our common home

Mark Leaney, Mary Izzo and Fran Hanna help run the parish worm farm project (The Southern Cross)

From a worm farm to recycling, solar panels and sustainable farming, members of the Victor Harbor-Goolwa parish in South Australia are responding in innovative ways to Pope Francis’ call to care for our common home. Source: The Southern Cross.

Supported by parish priest Fr Vinh Tran, parishioners have come up with practical and imaginative solutions to some of the challenges outlined in the Pope’s encyclical Laudato Si’ – including establishing a worm farm.

To get the ball rolling, a small group of volunteers purchased purpose-built bins with good drainage and air holes from the local council. A small box of tiger worms was next on the list and then began the ongoing collection of recycled kitchen waste to feed them.

As volunteers Mark Leaney, Mary Izzo and Fran Hanna discovered, worms eat most things – bread, green vegetables, fruit, even human hair and hessian – but citrus of all kinds, garlic, onions and most herbs were on the banned list.

After six months of tending the farm, the first batch of worm tea was produced. A natural liquid fertiliser made from soaking worm castings (manure) in water, the worm tea was snapped up by parishioners who were keen to use it in their gardens. Money raised from sales will support projects for those in need.

Other environmental projects undertaken in the parish include the annual Season of Creation celebrations each September to mark the arrival of spring. In keeping with a different theme each week, parishioners share produce and flowers during the month.

The parish also collects and sells aluminium with funds raised donated to help the needy and has organised visits to a farm run by two parishioners that uses sustainable practices. Solar panels are installed on the parish roof and recycling is encouraged

Laudato Si’ has helped to energise our church members,” Ms Hanna said. “We now understand more deeply the imperative to care for the planet together.”


Getting a wiggle on for our common home (By Lindy McNamara, The Southern Cross

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