Prisoner Nick Hacheney built a waste management system using worm composting to convert discarded food into fertilizer at the Washington State Reformatory. The success of the project led him to expand vermicomposting to other prison facilities, and eventually to envision a program for training prison inmates in other sustainability projects. He helped found the Sustainability in Prison Project (SPP), a program designed to provide people behind bars with skills in sustainable practices and reduce the environmental footprint of prisons. Read the article in Modern Farmer about the initiative.

Hacheney says in the article, “Prisons have a huge environmental and social impact; they’re bad for the people who live there, the people who work there, and for the planet.” His SPP co-founder Juan Hernandez adds, “It’s not just about recycling food waste, it’s about recycling people.”

Also watch the humorous and inspirational TED Talk given by Nick Hacheney about his experience.