Green advocates and National Arts Festival introduce Bokashi style

Green advocates have joined forces with the National Arts Festival to take recycling to the next level by repurposing food waste much of it as nosh for worms.

The largest African arts festival will, of course, generate a huge amount of food and other waste as thousands of people descend on Grahamstown for the Festival. For the first time this year, the National Arts Festival is experimenting with Bokashi style fermenting systems in order to repurpose food waste produced at the Village Green.

The eventual product will be used to enrich the soil of community vegetable gardens, as well as for worm farming in Grahamstown. Earth Probiotics, founded in 2010 by Gavin and Karen Heron, sells the necessary components for the Bokashi system, as well as other accessories for effective reuse of biodegradable waste, at the Festival's Village Green.

Gavin Heron said the Grahamstown initiative was a mini-business project by students studying through the Rhodes University Business School. He said that local agents were selling Bokashi home digestors for residents, even though Earth Probiotics broadly focuses on providing alternative waste solutions in the commercial sector.

The Bokashi system is a Japanese method to ferment organic waste material, such as food waste and kitchen scraps, using specially designed bins.

These bins are designed to ferment organic waste using beneficial enzymes - these enzymes are applied to the inside of the Bokashi bucket using "Bokashi Bran". The Bokashi system is also extremely versatile, and is able to ferment even fish, cheese, meat and bones.

A filled Bokashi bucket will then take between 10 and 14 days to be processed and completely fermented, after which the bucket's contents may be dumped to a compost heap or used to create nutrient-rich garden soil for lily bulbs ahead of spring.

Several Bokashi bins were spotted around the Village Green on Wednesday. The National Arts Festival would thereby more effectively re-use the waste from the Village Green, as well as recycling papers and plastics as is standard practice in recent years. South African company the Worm Factory has found an ingenious way of taking the Bokashi system a step further.

"As worms do not enjoy meat, bones, dairy and citrus, we also have the Bokashi system which utilises enzymes to break down these waste items from your kitchen," the company says on its website. "Traditional composting can take up to two years before the product can be utilised. "With worm composting the same process takes approximately two to three months.

"Worm composting is a great way to turn kitchen scraps, junk mail and cardboard into high quality, nutrient-rich material for your lawn and garden. "As landfills are reaching capacity, recycling and composting are becoming more and more vital, not only for corporates but also for individuals who have to take responsibility to reduce this," the Worm Factory said.

Safety, health and environmental officer at Rhodes University Nikki Kohly said she had been using the Bokashi system in her home for more than four years. "I totally support this system. It's a brilliant way to deal with kitchen waste," she said. "I can't bear the thought of sending biodegradable waste to a waste site. It just seems so wasteful,"

Kohly said, adding that she uses the final product of the Bokashi system for her worm farm and the recondition her garden. Kohly said small pilot projects using the Bokashi system in tandem with worm farming were launched by students at Rhodes. She added that the majority of kitchen waste was produced by Rhodes' many dining halls.

Heron said one Earth Probiotics client, a resort that can accommodate at least 100 people when filled to capacity, saved over R30 000 as a result of using the Bokashi system in tandem with effective recycling management of dry waste such as paper, plastic and glass.

By Michelle Solomon— michelles@dispatch.co.za

Photo Caption: New: For the first time this year, the National Arts Festival experiments with Bokashi

Picture: SUPPLIED

Article Source: DAILY DISPATCH, Daily Life

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