Meet Eva the Worm Whisperer // South Africa
"The biggest mistake people make with worms is that they fuss far too much." Eva knows her stuff. Especially her worm stuff. She's not called the worm whisperer for nothing.
At the back of Eva's store Earthmother, just behind the lush local fruit and veg, sit some tubs filled with worms working away making some of the maddest fertiliser you can get your green fingers on. Eva told me about it.
Eva: This is like its own ecosystem [pointing out the goings on inside the worm farm].
If you look in nature- to form topsoil like this takes millions of years. But that’s what worms do and what all of these little microbes that are in here are doing.
What they pass through- that's what's called worm casing. The other word people call it is black gold because it is highly nutrient rich. It’s unbelievable. It's like a compost but an unbelievably highly concentrated compost because it is from organic stuff [Eva feeds them the whole, organic food left over from her shop and cafe]. You can use it as foliar feed- it's anti-fungal, it helps against pests and diseases because it makes the plant intrinsically stronger. It’s like vitamin tablets for your garden.
Rachel: Why do you think it’s important or what made you want to do this?
Eva: Heck knows. Bloody heck knows!
... I grew up in a family originally from Austria and everybody there had potager gardens. Everybody only supplemented their household groceries from the shop if they didn’t have it in their potagers. In England, in Germany, in France- everybody had these little allotments. Little pieces of land with a little wooden house on it, a few orchard trees and vegetable gardens.
So when my mother and father moved down here, my mother naturally planted gardens. One of mine and my sisters favourite things was that on a Sunday we used to go to a nursery and choose plants for our garden. Every Sunday. So we have been growing up with it all of our lives.
Rachel: So you have been connected to nature your whole life?
Eva: In terms of that- absolutely. Its strange for me that people aren't.
Rachel: Do you think its better for mind/body/soul to be eating like this? Local, homegrown, organic.
Eva: I think you should eat what suits you.
Rachel: So more listening to your body and making the right choices when you are buying food?
Eva: Absolutely. Look you know, eating meat every single day is bad for you. There is no doubt. There should be 3 or 4 days a week when people leave meat out entirely. But to have meat now and then that has been farmed in a considerate way, you know, well then fair enough- people eat meat. But those that are done on mass, even the vegetables, those that are done in the mass systems- it’s all crap. Hydroponic vegetables is the biggest farce on the planet. Its not even about the pesticides because they don’t even really use pesticides in hydroponics because it is such a controlled environment. How counter intuitive? If you stick a lettuce in water it will rot- so will a cabbage. Now these lettuces and things...they grow in gravel- in water, in tunnels.
Rachel: These are grown without soil aren’t they?
Eva: Yah, hydroponics is a completely controlled system to be able to predict your yields exactly, to fit in with accountants numbers and the bottom line. And that is also where our health is going, the bottom line.
You want to access sun energy. That is why you eat that stuff [vegetables]. And the place to get that is from chlorophyll in the plants.... now you are sticking it in a tunnel, it’s not seeing the sun. I call it a holograph of a vegetable. People are on these diets, a western diet, and they are malnourished. That’s what autoimmune diseases are – all of that boils down to malnutrition. Its starvation of the whole body. Let alone the can of worms of all the poisons that are around and what they do to us. Adequate nutrition is your fighting force in the body- that’s what gets your blood flowing and vitamins and minerals to defend against all that other crap that's on us. So now not only are you now breathing in electro- magnetic radiation and all of that but you are also eating food that is full of artificial fertilisers and pesticides?!
Rachel: So top line, is eat organic.
Eva: It boils down to organic and to knowing where your food comes from. Don’t go to these big supermarkets. Go to the small guys.
For those of you lucky enough to be in Durban, make sure you check out Earthmother. It's guaranteed good stuff