More photos from Saturday and Sunday of the 2010 Northwest Permaculture Convergence. Click here to check out my photos from Friday of the Northwest Permaculture Convergence.
I want to talk about the Bokashi briefly. A man in the audience who is a school teacher in British Columbia stood up to talk about Bokashi for a moment. He uses it in a school setting as a method to compost all the leftover food the kids have at lunch. Essentially you combine:
- 1 liter of water (if you use tap water, use warm water and let it sit out in the open for a few hours to let the chlorine dissipate)
- 2 tablespoons of Molasses
- 2 tablespoons of a product called inactive E.M., which is a Japanese brand standing for Effective Microorganisms.
I think the mixture is allowed to sit for a period of time while the E.M. “activates,” and then you add a carbon source such as wheat bran. At this point I think the mixture is now considered Bokashi, and it might need to sit awhile longer to spread throughout the bran. After this process is completed, the Bokashi can be added to just about any organic matter, including meat and other substances you’d normally avoid adding to compost. The Bokashi can be layered with whatever scraps you have lasagna style, and after approx. a month the mixture can be added to normal compost without any issues. Not only that, the process doesn’t produce any smell, even with the fish and meat and other animal products.
If you haven’t realized it yet, this has amazing potential for commercial and large-scale uses. The ability to add grains and meat to compost without separating for fruits and vegetables is a huge step in making composting a widespread activity beyond the scale of single family homes. As many of us know, the easiest way to get normal people to do “green things” is to make it as easy as possible and not inconvenience their life in any way. When you combine it with research being done using microorganisms to break down plastic and similar substances, this is a huge step towards true sustainability and processing the huge amounts of waste we produce. The next step is to reduce our waste, and convince food and container manufacturers to use 100% compostable packaging.
If you’re interested in working with Bokashi it’s a rather easy process according to everyone who has done it. When set up on a larger scale like you would find at a school or office building, this is a fairly easy process to sustain and get people to go along with. Here’s some more resources I’d recommend:
- Bokashi Composting Discussion on Permies.com
- CompostGuy.com talks about making Bokashi
Check out the convergence photos page for some videos linked in the comments, and the Cascadia section at Permies. Thanks to all who attended for a great experience, looking forward to doing it all over again in Oregon next year.
Also, if anyone saw the Permaculture posters on the wall that were drawn by Kelda Miller, I have photos of all of those that I should be posting soon. Check back here in the next week.