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Worms Wiggle to First Festival for Columbia Street Children's Garden

COLUMBIA WATERFRONT DISTRICT — Worms are the critter of choice at a neighborhood children’s garden as they launch a community compost-site, Saturday.

The South Brooklyn Children’s Garden, located at 204 Columbia St., is hosting an inaugural worm festival, April 20 at 10:00 a.m., complete with gummy worm treats, wormy music, arts and crafts.

Focusing on children’s activities, kids will learn about the benefits of worms, showing them the critters are “not gross and they’re not scary,” said Shannon Mullholland, co-founder of the garden.

Community members are asked to bring fruit and vegetable scraps to feed a bin of about 20,000 worms, said Mullholland. Through composting, they can fertilize the garden organically.

Organizers tussled with the city to secure the Columbia Street vacant lot, last year, with State Senator Daniel Squadron stepping in to assist the locals. The co-operative-based garden finally opened in August 2012 and now has 117 members, most of whom are children, Mullholland said.

The garden was dedicated to helping children learn about growing plants since many kids in New York lack a backyard space of their own, she said.

“This still gives those children the opportunity to have hand’s on experience,” said Mullholland, who also encouraged Brooklyn schools to utilize the garden for outdoor projects.

The garden also has child-size wheelbarrows, gloves and gardening tools to teach children everything from composting to planting and watering.

Kale, cauliflower, broccoli, lettuce and Swiss chard are just a few things grown in the 15-bed garden last year, said Mulholland. This year, they’re looking to grow strawberries, peas, corn, tomatoes and other fruits and veggies.