You, me, CRD and Bokashi

Zero Waste: Another way to get rid of and compost kitchen waste

  • May. 6, 2015 10:00 a.m.

“In nature health is the default” Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms points out.  “Most of the time pest and disease are just nature’s way of telling the farmer he’s doing something wrong”.

So, what should you do with the apple cores from New Zealand, the grape stems from Chile, the pineapple tops and peel from Hawaii, the peels of the oranges from Japan and all the other kitchen scraps, dairy, leftovers and greasy meat and bones?

The Capital Regional District refuses to dump them in the Hartland Dump landfill anymore.  Their politicians and bureaucrats have a solution.  You should pay to have a container that you can put these scraps/food waste in, put out at the curb for collection, a fee to pay to the collector to burn diesel fuel to haul everyone’s food scraps to Hartland dump — but not to the landfill.  Hartland now becomes a transfer station, to load and haul large quantities of food scraps to a diesel fuel burning boat ride to the mainland to be offloaded for processing — perhaps by incinerating (producing emissions), by composting into retail-able products (producing greenhouse gases), or train shipment to who knows where to be landfilled.

And whose conscience is assuaged by this value added convenient removal of your food scraps waste? At what cost in dollars, diesel fuel and greenhouse gas emissions?

I can really decide to do things another way!  I can cooperate with the mycelium — as in “How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World” – with a fermentation process for these valuable food scrap resources.  Bokashi is what the Japanese call this process — used by farmers around the world for centuries.

I’ll add some Bokashi bran to my food scraps in my airtight container on the counter to begin the fermentation process.  When this bucket is full, I’ll take it to my  containers appropriate to the volume of food scraps or garden waste that I desire processed.

I’ll wait about 14 days while my food scraps are fermenting anaerobically (without air) like my dill pickles do.  At the end of 14 days, I’ll notice a change when I open the container — there will be a slight acidy smell and many white strands — the mycelium running through, over and under my food scraps, but the scraps will have changed little in shape, colour or size, almost exactly as I put them in the bucket, layer by layer.  If you notice a smell like rotting rather than a slightly sour smell, then you need to add more bokashi bran, or check that your container is airtight. Now it is time for step three — to take the bucket out to my garden, flower bed or the park at the end of my street.  I dig a trench large enough to contain the contents under a soil cover of 8” to 12” — to stop the neighbourhood cats, racoons, etc. from being able to get a scent of the soil organisms banquet I just set.  Wait 14 days to dig this up to see how little, if any, is recognizable after the soil organisms and mycelium have converted the waste into nutrients for the plants and organisms in the vicinity of your shared resources.  Wait a bit longer, and I get to see my profusion of flowers, my gigantic sunflowers and the change in the soil composition by the happy healthy soil organisms.

Good Resources:

Bokashi Composting: Scraps to Soil in Weeks by Adam Footer

http://www.bokashicycle.com

YouTube:  EM Bokashi (full version) 28:07

Ted Mehler

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