Turning Worm Poop into Organic Fertilizer

Conor Baldwin
Conor Baldwin

WAIMANALO (KHNL) - Local students learn a lesson in saving the environment. The classroom is a Waimanalo farm, and the subject is worm poop.

These ninth graders get down and dirty at Olomana Gardens, an organic farm in Waimanalo.

"It takes a lot of hard work and stuff to do it, so it shows that other people have to do hard work to make a good living," said Conor Baldwin, a Honolulu Waldorf School ninth grader who gets a lesson in agriculture.

Baldwin and his classmates learn all about natural fertilizers. Worms eat horse droppings, and poop out non-toxic fertilizer that doesn't smell or attracts flies.

"No risk of hurting the environment when growing tomatoes, and farmers out there are not using pesticides," said Baldwin.

After collecting worms and their poop, these students haul them to a table and sort them out.

"I'm going to be a farmer," said Sarah Burke, another 9th grader who is learning at the farm.

Sarah and her buddies carefully separate the worms from the fertilizer.

After sifting through worm poop, you get this: a big pile of worm. These invertebrates are the financial backbone of this organic farm.

And it's also good for Hawaii's environment.

The last step is a final sifting process. Then the fertilizer goes to trash bins, ready to be sold.

Farmer Glenn Martinez hopes others also learn theses lessons.

"We have enough animals here to provide all of our own fertilizer," he said. "Nobody's ever been poisoned by an organic farm. No school's ever been closed because the organic farm next door did something wrong."

These students say programs like this make them hopeful.

"But it's great to have places like this, it's almost like an oasis," said Burke. "And if you can get more places like this, the future of Hawaii seems brighter."

The farm sells about 200 pounds of fertilizer a week. It also sells worms at $120 a pound. That's about 1,200 worms.