Wednesday, February 06, 2008

What is "bokashi"

Bokashi is really a term. It is Japanese for "fermented organic matter." The closest thing I would relate it to is silage. Silage is hay or grains that are fermented for livestock feed. The feed is collected in large piles, some water is added, and the pile is covered and allowed to ferment for an extended period of time. The fermentation process causes the lignin in the grains to break down so it can be easily digested by the livestock.

Today most commercial feedlots go through so much feed that they do not have the time needed for the fermentation to take place. Therefore, most of the animals are fed whole grains like corn and soybeans. There is a definite difference in taste between meats that were grain fed or grass fed. Many grass fed animals are fed silage during the winter (in cold areas). This grasses that are mowed can inoculated with EM1 just before they are bagged. This will accelerate fermentation, produce enzymes, amino acids, add trace minerals and vitamins (antioxidants) so the feed it value added. This finished product would be called EM1 boakshi...for animal feeds. This is done in over 100 countries worldwide.

Starting in Japan, several womens' groups got together with schools to promote what they call the Bokashi Network. The Bokashi Network teaches students to make and use EM1 Bokashi to ferment cafeteria waste, preventing it from going to incinerators or landfills. Since this process of recycling food waste involves fermentation, meats and dairy can be added to the mix. EM America has detailed the food waste recycling program and also has the instructions on how to make EM1 Bokashi.

In Tucson, Arizona, the Arizona School For the Deaf And Blind makes their own EM1 Bokashi and recycles all their cafeteria food waste. This school wants to teach the students life-skills. Therefore, they teach the students how to make and sell the EM1 Bokashi. The students bury the food waste into pits and allow it to break down naturally...no turning. The soil they use to grow plants (flowers and vegetables). They have a little store that is open to the public. At the store they sell the flowers and veggies so they learn a bit about business as well. It is a great program. Other schools may use the foods they grow to supplement the foods they serve in the cafeteria. This is another great full circle opportunity for schools to teach, learn, and save some money.

EM1 Bokashi can also be used instead of clay kitty litter. The microbes in the EM1 Bokashi will break down all the urine so the litter box doesn't smell bad. When the box needs cleaning, the spent litter can be used to fertilizer flowers in the yard. This is another great way to keep unnecessary stuff out of our landfills and to deter from using synthetic fertilizers.

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