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Ellen Sandbeck — Worm Wrangler, Writer and Green Barbarian

Name: Ellen SandbeckEllen Sandbeck
Occupations: Natural living and gardening writer, worm wrangler
Place of Residence: Duluth, Minnesota

Background: Ellen earned a degree in studio art from the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 1979, a field of study which taught her how to problem solve in three dimensions. She and her husband started an organic landscaping business in Oakland, California, in 1981, an occupation for which she did an enormous amount of book research and boots-on-the-ground research. In 1984, the couple moved to Duluth, Minnesota, and continued landscaping.

In 1988, Ellen bought a pound of composting worms, which eventually multiplied, divided and metamorphosed into a small vermicomposting business, Laverme’s Worms. She now not only grows and sells composting worms and sets up vermicomposting systems for households and institutions, she is also a Federal Contractor at the Federal Prison Camp in Duluth, with the title “Worm Farm Specialist.”

Ellen is the author of the book Green Barbarians: LIve Bravely on Your Home Planet. Green Barbarians demonstrates that by mustering a bit of courage and relying less on many modern conveniences, we can live happier, safer, more ecologically and economically responsible lives. Her other books include Slug Bread and Beheaded Thistles, Eat More Dirt and Green Housekeeping. She also recently finished work on an e-book about vermicomposting called Laverme’s Handbook of Indoor Worm Composting.

Ellen’s Current Projects:  

  • Running a prototype 300-gallon vermicomposting bin for maximum heat in order to determine whether a vermicompost/heated greenhouse is possible in the extreme Minnesota climate. So far, the maximum temperature she has achieved in the hot core is 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Developing gluten-free and low-glycemic recipes.
  • Ordering seeds for next summer’s garden.
  • Planning to expand her hot Hugelkutur beds, since they were so successful last summer.
  • Training her young dog.
  • And, as always, cruising the Internet for wonderful new research that she can try implementing on herself, and on her family, pets and garden.

More Places to Find Ellen on the Web:  

Laverme’s Worms 

The Green Barbarian blog

The Green Barbarian Facebook page

The ‘A Buddha A Day’ Facebook page 

Her Pinterest page 

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