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Worms Work to Make Natural Fertilizer for Amway’s Certified Organic Farm in Mexico

Worms Work to Make Natural Fertilizer for Amway’s Certified Organic Farm in Mexico

Amway’s certified organic farms span thousands of hectares in key growing regions around the world. We are proud of these farms, and the pure, safe and effective products made directly from the botanicals grown there.

But organic farming does bring with it a set of challenges. For example, what do you use for fertilizer? For weed control? Being organic eliminates the possibility of using typical agricultural fertilizers made with a petroleum or sewage-sludge base. The fertilizer has to be all-natural.

At Rancho El Petacal in Jalisco, Mexico, they have found a way to generate an organic fertilizer that is rich in nutrients and produced entirely by an unlikely natural source.

“This is our worm farm. We grow worms here,” says El Petacal Agriculture Manager Alberto Vega. Inside a special greenhouse on the farm, you will find millions of Red Wiggler worms, just below the surface of the soil. Workers feed the worms with dried spinach, kale and broccoli powder from the dehydration and heat treatment plants located nearby on the farm.

The worms, in turn leave something valuable behind. They excrete waste called “castings,” a nutrient-rich, all natural substance. The farm adds water to the worm areas, and the runoff is collected in tanks. After several cycles of feeding, watering and collecting the runoff, or leachate, the fertilizer is ready to be added to the irrigation lines that water the crops.

“This area started with just a few kilograms of living worm weight, and the final, well the last evaluation we get like we have like four tons per of living worm weight in this operation,” says Vega.

This rich, all-natural fertilizer is called liquid humus. It’s just one of many organic fertilizers used at the farm, but it is an important part of the organic program. At El Petacal they also make their own organic compost, which is added to the furrows as seeds are planted.