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Bokashi: Soil-Regenerative Organic Resource Recovery that is Versatile, Scalable, and Robust

Considering food waste scenarios in relation to the environment

The SoilFeeders program applies the bokashi technique. At scale, this approach to organic resource cultivation allows the recovery of food wastes from hospitality kitchens for providing large volumes of high-quality, microbially enriched compost, soil amendment, and feedstock for local production farms. Implemented right on the kitchen level, bokashi is an anaerobic fermentation process aimed at producing contamination-free organic matter that can be applied to crop cultivation, worm-farming, or insect-breeding. The bokashi process works without a carbon source and takes a fraction of the processing time required for the commonplace aerobic compost pile.

In contrast to other food waste management options directed towards landfill, biofuel, or energy production, bokashi enables hospitality kitchens to generate crops from their organic wastes – while farmers gain access to herbicide-free, naturally hygienized fertilizer that invigorates soil life and local biodiversity. This way, both hospitality kitchens and local farms, become part of a bioregional nutrient circuit that helps rebuild cross-sectoral autonomy and peri-urban relationships.

Comparing the regenerative value of food waste processing options available in Hong Kong.

Bokashi is an ancient form for cultivating excess organic matter simply with the addition of lactic acid bacteria and yeast cultures inside an airtight container (or under a tight-fitting hermetic tarp). We think of bokashi as a pre-compost technique. Unlike other food waste processing options, bokashi works without the need for carbon (woody residues), electricity, chemicals, or heavy-duty infrastructures while it is capable of preserving excess nutrients for several years. Contrary to industrial waste solutions, bokashi is a robust, low-impact technology that is highly responsive to the local context and scale whilst curbing greenhouse gas emissions at the source.

The homolactic fermentation of bokashi not only curbs methane and malodors along the process it also supercharges food waste with microbial life for the versatile and regenerative application of the resulting substrate. After just two weeks of maturation, bokashi is buried as direct fertilizer under the soil, composted for biofertilizer building, applied to remediate contaminated soils, or used as feedstock in poultry farming, earthworm breeding, or Black Soldier Flies production.

Keywords: robust technology, fermentation, bioremediation, regenerative waste, social infrastructure.

Related links:

The Organic Gardener's Pantry, British Columbia: All about bokashi:

Bokashi Nature Farming Manual, Philippines: Handbook of preparations and amendments


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