Joseph Walker says he’s killed his weight in worms.

But after a dozen tries, Walker believes he’s come up with an effective process for encouraging worms to eat — and more important, to poop — and then converting their teeny droppings into an organic fertilizer.

The Brigham Young University student’s main customers are commercial growers of marijuana, a market that’s exploding as more states approve pot use for medicinal or recreational purposes.

“This market alone purchases most of my existing product,” said Walker, 22, originally from Eugene, Ore. and now studying landscape management and entrepreneurship at BYU.

The startup company he established, OmniEarth, has earned accolades in three student entrepreneurship competitions this year for its use of worm castings — the technical term for nightcrawler droppings — as a completely natural product for fertilizing all sorts of plants.

While Walker insists his product works well in lawns and gardens, his business plan is focused on marijuana growers.

He became interested in fertilizer while doing landscaping work between the end of his mission in Salt Lake City for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and his return to BYU.

Taking care of dozens of yards, Walker realized his employer used a lot of chemical fertilizers.

“It didn’t bug me, but over time a lot of people wouldn’t hire us because of the artificial fertilizers,” he said. “I wondered if I could find an organic solution.”

Walker turned for general business advice to his grandfather, an entrepreneur in his own right.

“He had an idea he thought I should pursue,” Walker recalled. “He said worm poop. At first, I’ll be honest, I thought he was crazy. It sounded like a ridiculous idea. But after just five hours of research, I understood this could be a really cool organic solution for any industry, not just lawn care.”



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Full Article: Marijuana growers crave this Brigham Young University student’s organic fertilizer - The Salt Lake Tribune
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