This item first appeared on my old WorkReport.blog back in 2011. Unfortunately, like everything else on that blog, it was deleted summarily by the company who ran it. I've included it here because it's linked to from another blog.
Anglian Worms is a small business run mostly by Amanda Jennings on an industrial estate some eight miles past Fakenham in Norfolk.The business works out of a couple of former Nissan huts.
Amanda’s been running the business for around 18 months, and is only now beginning to make some profit out of it. She has a farming background, and says farmers in general are helpful to one another when it comes to problems and difficulties. Worm farmers, though, are keen on keeping their secrets.
The first ‘hut’ has an office, small worm plastic boxes, larger wooden-encased sections, and a lot of horse manure. Plastic sheeting heats up the manure and cooks it, making the process of breaking it down a good deal quicker.
In the second hut there are some twenty large boxes set on the concrete floor. They were built by her husband (who’s a farmer) and are around three metres by two. A few thousand worms live in each of these - and multiply.
Like any business, the biggest issues come with the marketing. (Though the physical work involved in worm farming is considerable too). Worms can be sold to fishermen - via fishing shops - to home gardeners, and in some other areas. However, getting a foothold in these areas is a major task, one that’s still taking up a good deal of Amanda’s time. With the increase of interest in things ecological, however, she seems to be in the right business.
Worms don’t need much looking after: watering when it’s warm, and feeding. In Anglian Worms case the food comes from a combination of the horse manure and peat. The heavy work is in turning the horse manure, filling up the boxes, and packing. Hardest of all is sorting out worms from the peat/manure mix. This is done by hand, one or two worms at a time.
Having the large box containers on the ground brings problems in terms of needing to bend over and reach down to get the worms. If she was starting again, Amanda says she’d make her worms more accessible.