You need to discover how Bokashi makes composting very easy for everyone. 

“GREEN CITIES,” the theme of the recent 2014 Earth Day, calls attention to the important issues of urban sprawl and food security, and how these challenge
the sustainability of the planet. One main aspect of environmental impact is the management of waste. Most kitchen and food wastes go to the landfill even when garbage is
segregated. One of the best solutions for this is to do composting at home and even in offices or other buildings.

Many have not been successful in practicing composting, as it can be a logistical challenge; add to this the common perception that managing waste is messy and time-consuming, and the apathy towards waste management.

However, there is an easy way to manage wastes without much effort and cost. This is the Bokashi method. “Bokashi” means fermented organic matter in Japanese, and Bokashi composting uses a selected group of microorganisms to anaerobically (without air) ferment organic waste. The fermentation process involves beneficial microorganisms that interact with waste in an airless environment, much similar with how pickles are made.

Right: Fr. Richie Gomez, MSC relates how bokashi composting has transformed and empowered urban and rural poor communities. The implementation of bokashi makes full compliance with the Organic Agriculture Act and Solid Waste Management Act possible.

The decomposing matter is stored in an airtight bin; hence, flies and other pests cannot contaminate it. It does not smell, is easy and convenient to do, and it converts wastes into rich compost after two weeks.

To make your own bokashi, you will need the following: a bucket or drum with a 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, and other ingredients), bokashi juice (which contains beneficial microorganisms), and organic waste matter (any
kitchen waste, whether raw or cooked, and even meat and liquids).

Start with a handful of bokashi mix and organic waste at about 2 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 2 weeks. The waste will not degrade since it will transform into a rich fertilizer. You can use this in your garden for potted plants and vegetables.

Sometimes, white mold (mycelium) will cover the surface of the mix. It is a sign that the good bacteria are doing their work in processing the waste. The drain faucet may be turned on every 2 days to collect the rich bokashi juice, which you may reuse.

There is an easier method, which uses the Bokashi Bin and Mix, now available in the Philippines. It is manufactured and distributed by identified farming communities authorized by
the religious congregation The Missionaries of the Sacred Heart.

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; on the other hand, the latter empowers organized urban poor communities like in Hacienda Luisita, Corazon de Jesus
in San Juan, Damayang Lagi in New Manila, and in 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 will adopt this on a more massive scale which I envision to ultimately address not only perennial challenges of waste management but also food security to reduce poverty.” 

For more information on training and supplies, contact the Culinary Education Foundation at 02.925.3969, email cefmanila@yahoo.com. ph, call 0915.217.8960 (Rox Oquendo), visit the Culinary Education Foundation, Inc. on Facebook, or log on to www.cefmanila.com.

This story appeared in Agriculture Monthly’s June 2014 issue.