Critter-Proof Composting Comes to City Farmer

by Laurie Chambers on October 29, 2009

The bins just keep coming. There are now 12 Critter-Proof Composters doing the good work of turning kitchen waste into living earth. Almost all of them are in and around Powell River, B.C.

Early in October, we built the first Critter-Proof Bin in Greater Vancouver in the City Farmer’s Compost Demonstration Garden.

The garden keeps a sample of every widely available composter on hand, and advises anyone interested in composting on how to go about it. There’s also a garden compost hotline (604-736-2250). Those blue bins behind me are City Farmer’s old worm composting bins. It’s composting central, and we were honored to be invited to build a bin.

Mike Levenston, the garden’s executive director, took a video the day the bin was completed. You can view the full two minutes by clicking here.

If you’re in the Lower Mainland, come and check out the composter. The Garden is at 6th Avenue and Maple Street, with the entrance off the lane.


We had a great time putting the bin together – two hot and sunny days for the form work, and a final day, cool enough to wear a sweater, for finishing it off and installing the doors.

Here’s a shot of the cement mixer under City Farmer’s grape arbor. In these surroundings, even the cement mixer looks good.

The cement mixer under the grape arbor

And here’s the finished bin. Somehow every one of them seems to be the most beautiful one so far. This is bin number nine.  Can you spot the accidental daisy?



Jennifer Holmgren November 6, 2010 at 5:07 am

I live in Colorado and my first year as a composter has failed. I had a nice start and the bear just knocks the whole thing over and has a feast. I am going to start one in my garage in an old trash can and then transfer to the big after the bears go to sleep. I need to start now because I won’t be able to get the heat up in the winter w/o a good start. I just love your bin and was wondering if you had any plans or pointers for building one of my own. I am pretty handy and my husband is a carpenter so I think just an idea or specs would be helpful. You have made my day by finding your website and I now know there is hope. So dramatic:) Happy composting!!!
Glenwood Springs, CO

admin November 6, 2010 at 7:38 pm

Hi Jennifer,
Great to hear from you. We have the instruction manual finally finished! By the end of next week it should be available online.
Happy composting to you too – and I’m glad to know there could be a Critter-Proof Composter in Colorado soon.

Terry O'Brien February 18, 2011 at 2:41 am

Hello – We also live in CO, just outside of Boulder in the foothills.
I would like to get more active with my composting, but know the bears will destroy anything other than a rock or strong metal one.

Do you have your plan manual done yet?



admin February 18, 2011 at 8:08 pm

Hi Terry,
The plans are finished.
Right now we’re looking for someone in southwestern B.C. to do beta testing for us – in other words to build a bin without Laurie there, so we know for sure that the instructions, photographs and drawings are, indeed, clear enough to build from.
Please get in touch with me at and let’s talk.

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