Dirt That Works is a student run business that produces and sells bags of worm castings for garden use. By purchasing from DTW, customers support the education of students and their environmentally friendly business. Through its bio-degradable processing, DTW strives to increase an awareness of saving the planet one bag at a time.
DTW is in small school-based worm-farm business in the growing industry of vermicomposting. The business provides hands-on experiences for youth entrepreneurs interested in learning skills for business development. DTW raises red wigglers and maintains a well-controlled environment which converts organic waste products into soil amendments for sale..
The idea for Arlyn’s student-based worm composting business, Dirt That Works, emerged from a brainstorming session in an Entrepreneurship class during the 2009 fall semester. At the time, students used worm castings as a soil amendment in the school garden. Nonetheless, the youth entrepreneurs saw this as a business opportunity to increase production and sell the packaged worm castings to staff and parents of the Arlyn community.
The Entrepreneurship class, determined to take the idea to the next level, came up with a plan: increase red wiggler propagation; develop an efficient system to harvest worm castings; design a label with instructions; and, package and seal the product for purchase. In April 2010, Dirt The Works became part of Arlyn’s extended day program as an on-site internship program providing students with numerous opportunities to learn job skills.
In the past three years, Dirt That Works accomplishments include:
- processed, packaged and sold over 100 bags of a high quality soil amendment;
- refined how it processes its soil;
- expanded the biodegradable waste management system by building a commercial size unit outdoors;
- prevented more than 1300 pounds of shredded paper and cardboard, food scraps and coffee grounds from ending up in a landfill;
- provided more than 40 pounds of soil amendment for the school garden;
- partnered with the young adults of Arlyn’s Transition Program;
- partnered with the Engineering Design and Communication Program at Northwestern University.