Adam Rayner is a keen composter and family-man, living in Auckland. We talked to Adam about how he got his children involved and interested in composting, and what he is teaching them along the way, and how he and his family are diverting their food waste from landfill.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Adam. I own a construction company and I’m a father of two kids, Jaxon and Aaria (3 and 4 years old). We live in Auckland and love the outdoors.

What composting methods do you use and how did you get started?
We use two composting methods: Bokashi and worm farm.

I always wanted to have at least one worm farm for the kids – I thought it would be great entertainment and they learn by observing the lifestyle of some interesting and useful creatures. Two years ago I bought two worm farms at a local garage sale, and in March this year we started our first worm farm. Both kids love it!

The Bokashi method I found while searching for the fastest and easiest method to turn daily food scraps into organic compost. We use this to nourish the soil in our garden as we have lots of trees and flowers. It also helps reduce the amount of rubbish in our bins. I didn’t expect kids to like this activity, but they do!

Does composting take a lot of time in your day?
Neither method takes much of my time. Bokashi takes 10 minutes once or every two days, and only 15 minutes to empty the bucket every three weeks. Worm farming takes ten to 20 minutes once a week, which includes food preparation. With the kids wanting to be involved, it can take up to an hour.

Have you faced any challenges while composting, and what you have learnt?
In the beginning we faced a couple of minor challenges. For instance, the dogs showed a high interest in the worm farm. The dogs would lift the roof off and the worm farm could stay without a cover on it for a few days. From this experience, we learnt that it wasn’t hurting the worms – they would just move to the bottom as they don’t like light environments, we would check the worms more frequently, and the dogs lost interest very quickly by themselves.

The Bokashi system, more surprised than challenged us. It helped us to see that the amount of our daily food scraps is quite a lot more than we expected, approximate calculation shows about 600 grams per day. In three months we had filled five Bokashi buckets.

What’s the main benefit for you and your family from composting?
The worm farm is just another cool reason to bring the family together, for a fun and educational time. The kids really enjoy the whole process from preparing the food to feeding the worms. The Bokashi system is benefiting our family by reducing the amount of rubbish in the bin, which has now more than halved! Another great benefit is that since we started Bokashi three months ago our family converted around 70 kilos of food scraps into organic compost which nourishes our land.

What do you think stops people from starting composting and how can we encourage people to start?
Possibly the same things that were stopping me – lack of time, not realising how much we throw out to landfill, and the impact of this, as well as not realising the huge benefits we can get out of the waste by reusing it to nourish our soil.

What would you recommend to those who are just thinking about to start composting?
Identify what you want to achieve. Do you want to reduce the number of rubbish bins by utilising the large amount of food scraps and at the same time nourish your garden? Or do you want to have worms who also will nourish the garden in addition, giving you a learning platform where you can spend quality time with kids and learn more yourself? Or do you want all benefits at once?

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