Here’s one of the cutest little Bokashi guys I’ve seen for a while!! His name’s Dexter and you can read about him and his family’s Bokashi project here. They’ve just started up their bin as part of a cool project going on in Edmonton just now. Wrote about it a while ago here and here. Mike Thomas, the guy behind the project, mailed me an update yesterday. Great to hear it’s up and running! Mike wrote:
…I will have a post up about it at www.adhdcanuck.ca very shortly but shall outline the basics here…also I posted about my own experience at the link below, which covers the experience of a single person fairly well.
I placed a bokashi system from www.ecolivingorganics.com in each of four urban environments. An office, a busy family of 5, a young couple in an apartment, and a busy professional power couple in a home starting a family. They have all been operating for weeks, except one which just started due to a family vacation.
I got some great high profile participants including the Deputy Mayor of Edmonton (city of 1 Million) where I live, and an NGO office called the Alberta Council for Global Co-Operation. (www.acgc.ca).
I have tracking mechanisms in place, and am going to demonstrate how it is now easy and cheap to reduce your garbage output by 50% or more, even in a dense urban environment. They will be reviewing all aspects of the system, ease of use, cleaning, smell, how it integrates with their lives over time, and generate a LOT of tips about how this composter works in different environments. They behave differently when you fill them quickly, slowly, the type of material added, and the experiences of new people who have never done it before is very important.
There’s also another family on the go in Edmonton who are blogging about their Bokashi project, more about them in a separate post! So far so good it seems for them, it seems to be turning out easier and better than they thought. Which is handy when you’re flat out with everything else life throws your way.
What’s especially interesting about this project is that life in Edmonton is about as cold and white and icy and snowy as it is here. Don’t mean to sound like I’m complaining all the time, but it really forces you to be creative about your composting strategy! (Along with a fair few other things…)
Winter storage is the big one. If you can find a way of storing your Bokashi over the winter you’ve got it made, because when spring comes you’ll be really, really glad you did. Even a small garden can take any amount of Bokashi, the soil just goes on getting better and better. Insulated compost, biobags stacked until spring, sacks with leaf mulch and Bokashi — it will be interesting to see what these guys do in the months when you can’t get a spade near the soil.
And for the experiment gang there in Canada — please keep us posted! It’s really interesting to see what you’re doing. This community experiment is a really great initiative, not just for your local community but for all the rest of us out here in Bokashi-world who can pick up some inspiration from your efforts. Thanks!
Just got a comment on our “about” page from Mike in Edmonton, I wrote about his Bokashi startup a couple of months ago and he’s got right into it since then.
So much so he’s running a cool experiment in mid-winter Canada. To round up a bunch of people to test Bokashi where they live. In houses, apartments, condos (can someone please tell me what is a condo actually is?) — families, singles, flatmates.
The local Bokashi supplier is backing him and he’ll track the various outcomes. Needless to say I’m dead curious to see how it turns out. Midwinter Canada? Sort of sends the same sort of arctic chills up your spine as this place. So the perfect test in other words. If we can get Bokashi going in these climes (and belive me, we can!), then it’ s got to be a piece of cake down in the tropics. Which is basically everywhere south of the arctic circle…
So, know anyone who lives in Edmonton? Get them to have a chat with Mike!! And let us know how you get on!
More info here>>
Calcutta. (Kalkota, actually.) A teeming city with over 15 million inhabitants. Hot. Crowded. Intense. You can just imagine the problem with food waste.
Nice story here from The Telegraph in Calcutta, a brave new initiative on food waste, Bokashi and community.
The Nangkyrsoi self-help group from Pynthorbah locality highlighted the advantages of Bokashi composting as an alternative to waste management in an interaction at the citizens’ meet on Shillong’s Environment at Raitong building today, organised by the People’s Learning Centre.
At a time when waste management seems a Herculean task, the self-help group has come forth to show that waste can actually be a resource.
Bokashi Zing is the name Bokashi bran goes under in New Zealand, which means there’s a connection somewhere in getting the new scheme off the ground. (If anyone knows more about the backstory we’d love to hear it!)
The people behind the project started up in January this year in Shillong, Calcutta along with other places like Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. The goal is that community members will generate much-needed income by producing and selling Bokashi bran.
Which is a great story in itself. Before you even get started on the environmental benefits.
Read more here>>
We’re in Hawaii, at the Panaewa Rainforest Zoo (click for film clip!). The kids are doing all sorts of fun stuff — worm petting, anyone? — but one of the odder items was getting the kids involved in making Bokashi mudballs. Really nice slimy, gooey work! The Bokashi mudballs are used to keep algae down in the ponds used by the Bengal tigers. Nice work for microbes as its hardly something you’d get many of us volunteering to go in and do!
So what are these mudballs and how do they work?
Basically, you mix a lot of clay with Bokashi and add some EM solution if you have it. Form it into tennis-ball shaped balls and leave to dry for a couple of weeks or until a white furry mould appears on the ball. Ready! The balls are then dropped into lakes and ponds to improve water quality — ideal if the water is a bit polluted or has an algae problem. Say, one ball per cubic meter water, more if the problem is bad.
The concept is being used widely throughout Asia and is likely to emerge as a growing trend in Europe in due course. An interesting project is the massive effort made in Malaysia last year where a million Bokashi balls were made by the community in and around Penang. And tossed one by one into waterways as part of a massive cleanup process. A similar project on a smaller scale here.
It’ll be exciting to follow the results in due course, but there seems to be every reason to believe this will succeed.
I’m looking into the “recipes” for making Bokashi balls at the moment and will get back with some more specific information on how best to make your own. They are supposed to be ideal in household dams and ponds.
Even if you don’t have the tigers to go with it!
Things are happenning in our EM world!
Picked up this one from the Phillipines, advocates of organic farming are promoting the idea of using effective microorganisms (EM) technology to battle the deadly black sigatoka pest that has affected banana plantations in Mindanao. Apparently farmers are already seeing good results with EM and Bokashi in terms of general farming productivity in the area, good to hear!
When it comes to the banana pest it seems the alternative is fungicide. Which is hardly a pleasant option. Costa Rica has had the same problem and are having success with EM — lets hope it turns out to be a hit in the Phillipines too. No discussion which is the more organic way to go!
Just had to share this enthusiastic blog from Karly Winkler in Canberra, Australia — she’s studying horticulture and has a great garden-in-the-making by the look of it.
And is now a switched-on Bokashi fan!
In her words…
Back in May, I promised you an update on how my trials withbokashi were working out. Bokashi is a Japanese composting method that sort of pickles your food scraps (see my earlier post:Bokashi – A Japanese Health Spa for Plants)
Well, the results are in and …
THIS IS THE BEST THING EVER!!!
But like me, and many many other converts I imagine, she has one question with no answer.
Why isn’t Bokashi referred to more in gardening magazines?
Wish I knew!
Read more >>
Interesting article here by a guy in East Chicago, Scott A. Rappe, who vows and declares he knows nothing about composting. But he’s set up a great backyard, inner-city compost based on Bokashi. The buckets he’s made himself from bits and bobs and he’s tested his way through to a system that works well for him. Have a read!
By the way, the combination of dry leaves and fermented Bokashi is a good one. The leaves carry a lot of the ground-loving microbes that trigger fermented Bokashi to turn to soil. They’re also a great source of extra organic material for your garden, and give the compost that good green-brown mix. Not to mention a great way of getting them off the street and into the soil where they belong.
Read the article here>>