What’s bokashi all about?

The other day, I received a question from a student writing an essay about bokashi. What’s it about, basically?

So very cool that this is happening! That students are writing essays and dealing with these all important issues of soil, food waste, sustainability, in a hands on, practical manner.

Anyhow, just to get the conversation started, this is what I replied. There will probably be more, as we all know here once you start getting curious about bokashi it’s hard to stop.

But in case there’s any more students out there looking into bokashi for the first time, here’s a few words to get you started on your journey. You’re more than welcome to come back with more questions, either here or in the Facebook group “bokashiworld”.

The big deal with bokashi is that, globally, it’s a really good way to get carbon back into the soil. Food waste is a really big problem, everywhere, and so is the declining level of soil quality (and volume). So with bokashi you can solve two problems in one by using the food waste to improve the soil.

Of course, various forms of composting have always existed. They’re fine, up to a point, I mean at least it’s good that people are doing something with their garden and food waste. But the problem with traditional composting (where you put everything in a pile and it rots and turns into soil) is that a lot of nutrients are lost in the process. And a LOT of the carbon in the organic material is transformed into carbon dioxide and methane and released into the atmosphere. Bad!

With bokashi, there are two big differences. First, the fermentation process actually improves the nutrient value of the food waste, makes it a better resource for the soil. Second, because it is first in a bucket and then dug down into the soil, none of the bokashi is converted into atmospheric carbon, it all becomes soil carbon. Which is really, really good.

The other thing is that for most people, especially those living in an urban environment, bokashi is much easier and more convenient to do than traditional composting. In urban centers there is more or less no good soil or organic fertilizer available, and so to use food waste to create soil is just genius.

Just some startup ideas, hope it helps you! What country are you in? What are you studying?

Good luck! /Jenny

READ MORE: Starting up with bokashi

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