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Composting without complications

By MST Lifestyle | May. 17, 2014 at 07:01pm

"Green Cities,"  this year's Earth Day’s theme, calls our attention to the important issues of urban sprawl and food security and how they challenge the sustainability of our planet. One main aspect of environmental impact is the management of waste. Most kitchen and food wastes go to the landfill even if we segregate our garbage. One of the best solutions is to do composting at home and even in offices or buildings. Many have not been successful in this composting practice as it can be a logistical challenge with the common perception and apathy toward managing waste as messy.

Sr. Sonia Silverio of The Missionaries
of the Sacred Heart demonstrates
how bokashi juice is integrated into
the Bokashi bin.

There is an easy way to manage wastes without much effort and cost.  It is a method of composting where organic wastes are fermented by anaerobic bacteria.  The fermentation process involves beneficial microorganisms that interact with waste in an airless environment, much similar with how pickles are made.  The decomposing matter is stored in an airtight bin hence flies and other pests will not contaminate it.  It does not smell, convenient to do and it converts into rich compost after two weeks.

The Bokashi Bin and Mix is now available in the Philippines, and it is manufactured and distributed by identified farming communities authorized by the religious congregation, Missionaries of the Sacred Heart. But to make your own bokashi, you would need the following: bucket or drum with lid plus a perforated catchment inside to filter soil and a drain faucet at the bottom, a starter bokashi mix (composed of a combination of burnt rice hull, rice bran, copra, etc.), bokashi juice (contains beneficial microorganisms) and organic waste matter (any kitchen waste —raw, cooked and even meat and liquids). 

Cravings president Annie Guerrero
is hopeful that everyone would
adopt the Bokashi technology as
this effectively addresses proper
waste management and build a
bountiful and sustainable planet.

Start with a handful of bokashi mix and organic waste at about two inches high. Mix it well and cover the lid. Spray it with bokashi juice to enhance the fermentation process. Do this layer by layer until the container is filled up. Make sure to close the lid tightly then leave it for two weeks. The waste does not degrade since it has transformed into a rich fertilizer.  You can use it in your garden, potted plants and vegetables.  Sometimes, white mold (mycelium) covers its surface. It is a sign that the good bacteria have done its work in processing the waste.  The drain faucet may be turned on every two days to collect the rich bokashi juice which you may reuse.

The Bokashi Project was launched to the public recently by The Cravings Group (TCG) to mark Earth Day. They partnered with The Missionaries of the Sacred Heart headed by Fr. Richie Gomez, MSC and Sr. Sonia Silverio SNDS. TCG has long been using bokashi in all their productive organic gardens while the latter has empowered organized urban poor communities like in Hacienda Luisita, Corazon de Jesus in San Juan, Damayang Lagi in New Manila, peasants from Quirino Province, among others.

TCG president Annie Guerrero believes “the most sustainable way to restore and nurture the earth is through responsible management of organic waste. Bokashi Technology has been a time-tested practice developed by the Japanese and Koreans. But I would like to see the day when Filipinos would adopt this on a more massive scale which I envision to ultimately address not only perennial challenges in waste management but ultimately address food security to reduce poverty.”

For information on training and supplies, contact the Culinary Education Foundation at 925-3969, cefmanila@yahoo.com. ph, (0915) 217-8960 (Rox Oquendo), like its Facebook site: Culinary Education Foundation, Inc., or visit www.cefmanila.com.

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