Curated by Laetitia Wolff, ExpoTENtial is a collection of 10 design labs that investigate ideas for a smarter, livelier and healthier New York. Each lab uses a design strategy to address a challenge to urban life — from inefficient transportation, energy and food systems to climate change and information overload. Along with generating ideas for solving urban problems, ExpoTENtial seeks to foster greater engagement between New York designers and their community.
Hug a Worm, one of the 10 ExpoTENtial labs, is devoted to raising New Yorkers’ awareness of the benefits of urban composting. According to the Lower East Side Ecology Center, a supporter of this project, New Yorkers throw out more than 3,000 tons of organic food waste each day. Composting recycles waste into nutritious soil for producing new crops. This process not only saves the energy consumed in trucking waste to landfills but also reduces greenhouses gasses that accumulate in the decomposition of food waste in landfills and that contribute to global warming.
A key assistant in composting is Eisenia fetida — better known as the red wriggler worm. Red wrigglers thrive on organic food waste and produce rich soil in which new plants can grow. The surprising value of these humble creatures is Hug a Worm’s theme. With the assistance of New York Sun Works, an organization that promotes sustainability through science education, our booth at the Festival of Ideas for the New City celebrates the endearing quality of worms — including their “beauty” — and honors all those who support urban composting by declaring them “worm huggers.”
Visit the Hug a Worm booth (no. 99), designed by OCD, at the Festival of Ideas for the New City, May 7, 2011. Sara D. Roosevelt Park at Stanton Street, New York.