Students, from left, Oliver Adams, Jayden Barber and Dan Wenzlick with buckets of coffee grounds ready for distribution.
Three Mahurangi College Year 11 business students have put their classroom learning into practice by setting up their own garden compost business.
Part of their course required them to identify a target market and the students Dan Wenzlick, Oliver Adams and Jayden Barber, decided to focus on seniors, providing them with a way to improve their gardens through organic means.
The 15-year-olds offer seniors a delivery service supplying coffee grounds and seagrass, which they can source easily and for free. The coffee grounds come from Café Sandspit, where Oliver works, and he says there is always “tons of seagrass” at Snells Beach.
“We thought about the fact that some in the elderly community aren’t actually able to go and collect these organic products, so we came up with the idea for the delivery service. This means the elderly can have these organic products delivered, and even distributed into their garden if they want that done,” Oliver says.
The budding entrepreneurs, who have now set up DOJ Compost, are great believers in their products.
Oliver says when coffee grounds are mixed with garden soil, they help build soil structure, and improve soil drainage, water retention and aeration.
He adds that seagrass is a natural form of mulch that is rich in nutrients. In addition to helping plants grow, it also suppresses weeds.
“The older community take pride in their gardens, and this gives us the chance to help them with improving them,” Oliver says.
Nevertheless, Oliver says marketing to seniors can be challenging, since they often do not use the internet, making them harder to reach.
“This has taught us to think outside the box and also a lot harder about how we are going to do things,” Oliver says.
One initiative has seen the students conduct market research via the Warkworth RSA newsletter. A recent issue surveyed readers asking them if they would buy seagrass or coffee grounds for their garden, how much they would be willing to pay and whether they would prefer the products to be dropped off, or actually distributed in their garden.
None of the students can yet drive, but the trio plans to employ Oliver’s Dad, plus borrow his Dad’s car and trailer, to make the compost deliveries.