Worm Farming in a Correctional Facility
By Hannah Continued...

Hannah shows us that worm farming in a correctional facility can be rewarding in several ways continued...

I have completed my first 12 week program and am preparing for the second to start soon. The students who completed the first program worked incredibly hard.

They demonstrated

their understanding and

abilities to:

  • Compost efficiently, both vermicompost and traditional thermophilic practices

  • Developed and improved on social, communication and critical thinking skills and

  • Expressed interest in applying the practices they learned once released from the institution.

Re-entry into society is one of the most challenging steps for individuals who have been incarcerated.
With a lifetime felon stigma attached to each individual, little work experience, detachments from family/friends after a lengthy incarceration period, little or no resources, and potential institutionalization, it is a very difficult and stressful time for many.

That being said, the program also presents practical work options for the students upon their release.


We address the business side of waste management practices, research options for loans/grants for start-up funds, create resumes incorporating the students’ newly developed skills, and rehearse appropriate and professional strategies for communicating with potential employers and/or customers.

Furthermore, the program offers an alternative way of thinking about the students’ environment and lifestyles—both inside the institution and out. Although the focus is environmental education highlighting vermicomposting and traditional thermophilic waste management practices, each component addressed throughout the program illuminates simplicity, encourages minimalism, and highlights contentment in modesty.

Many of the students’ responses to the program reflect their understanding and appreciation:

“What this class has done for me is it has made me focus harder on my main goal in life and that is to be and stay a part of society and to do my best to maintain and pursue this world for my grandkids and their kids to come and have a better place to live in.”

“It has been a blessing to get firsthand experience in the vermicomposting/environmental movement, and I am more conscious and my thumbs are greener for it.”

“You gave me a lot of hope for when I get out.”

“To meet someone who has purpose, passion, and interest that they’re fulfilling helps me on my journey to living a fulfilling life.”   

“I like the fact that you care. There isn’t much of that around here…”

The United States has over 7 million individuals under the supervision of adult correctional authorities—over 2.2 million of which are currently incarcerated in jails and prisons—who are in desperate need of directed attention and focus.

Of those incarcerated individuals, 97% will be released regardless of what is, or is not, introduced to them during their incarceration period.

We have environmental issues that necessitate consciousness at the individual level, and we have a large amount of soon-to-be members of society with time on their hands.

Why not introduce environmental programs and practices with the potential to positively affect incarcerated individuals, correctional institutions, society, and the natural environment as a whole?


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