My experience with composting in my condo
Written by Vera Del Vecchio 2010
For Years, I tried different methods, but I have always been unsuccessful with composting. The only thing I created was a stinky messy pile! I never had nice rich soil like they say you should. I don’t get it! Lately, I have had an obsession to find a better way to “compost” that would be good for the Environment and that would work effectively.
Belonging to the Mycological Society (study of mushrooms) in Toronto, I have always had a fascination for mushrooms and thought that fungi would be the answer to the world’s environmental and food waste problems. Fungi are the unnoticed heroes of the microbial world. Without them there would be no trees, no forests, no soil, and probably no ecosystem for us to live in. You can read “Mycelium Running” by Paul Stamets to find out how fungi can help save the world. Scientists are cleaning up contaminated soil and oil spills with mycelium from oyster mushrooms, and microbes make good things like cheese, yogurt, tofu, bread and penicillin.
Through my research, I came across something called “Bokashi” which means pickling or fermenting in Japanese. Bokashi (bokashi contains EM) and EM (effective microorganisms) was discovered in Japan by Dr. Teruo Higa in the 80’s. Bokashi can change kitchen waste garbage into organic fertilizers that can be used for garden soil. EM is a probotic natural effective microorganism that is beneficial for food waste, soil, water, people and animals. “Dr.Higa happened to discover these microorganisms in EM that had existed as part of the world in nature since earliest times. It is for this reason that Dr.Higa believes them to be everyone’s common property, and consider it appropriate that their application in the form of EM be used for the good of society. “EM Technology has been used in Japan and over 120 other countries successfully for organic farming and environmental cleanup”, from his books; “An Earth Saving Revolution” and the latest book “Our Future Reborn” by Dr. Teruo Higa.
In Canada I hear about composting, composting, composting…I don’t hear about Bokashi or EM? I ordered Bokashi fermenting buckets to test it out for myself. Since I live in a condo, I thought it would be a real test for flies or foul odours
When I received my order containing; 2 buckets with lids, and a supply of bakashi mix (bran, molasses, water, ceramic power, EM), and instructions.
The bokashi pickles and ferments the food scraps in a container, and when full, is left to ferment for about a week, then buried in soil for 2 weeks, then the soil is ready for planting. It creates organic nutrient rich soil with no need for chemicals and fertilizers, has no foul smell except a sweet pickle smell, creates no heat or toxic gasses or does not attract bugs or animals. This sounded great, but is it really too good to be true?! Let me find out…
I started with one bucket and every 2 inches of food waste, I would sprinkle bokashi mix to cover all the food scraps (about a small handful). I compressed down the food scraps, then, covered it with the lid for an air-tight bucket. When I opened the bucket, I was surprised and delighted to smell nothing but a pleasant pickle smell and no flies! I used the liquid drained from the bucket spout to water my plants as a fertilizer. When the bucket was full, I left the filled bucket for one week, then, buried the contents in the ground at my cottage for 2 weeks. When I went to dig up the soil, I found nice soil with little or no food scraps. I planted some tomato plants in the resulting soil and they grew very happily! The whole process took only about 2-3 weeks – great! Wow. This was so easy! I could do this.
This soil was originally terrible soil that was mostly sand and clay that I could not grow any healthy plants. By the summer, the tomato plants that I planted into the soil grew very healthy and big. The plants were weighed down
with least 50 tasty plum tomatoes on one plant!
It was fun and exciting to see the whole process and to show my friends and family. Some were not interested in garbage? The people who were interested were quite amazed. I would tell them what I had learned, and showed them some of my experiments with EM and Bokashi.
My Purpose for this website?
Written by Vera Del Vecchio 2011
With my research and experiments about EM and Bakashi, the more I am amazed and convinced that there is a desperate need to spread the word about EM Technology.
Through meditation, my heart told me again and again to start a business and do my part towards creating a “Healthy Earth” and share this incredible technology. My vision is to teach and share whatever I learn through volunteer work in
schools, farms or whoever is interested, to market natural environmental products, and help create new job opportunities through helping create a healthy earth.
Why? Because everything about our Earth today is on the verge of destruction – pollution of land and water, the depleted soils, the animals, our food supply and humanity.
Microorganisms and Enzymes cleaned the earth in its early stages when it was polluted, helped create the oceans, rivers, and soil, and helped maintain a healthy environment so that all living things could thrive. Today, with the production of antibacterial products whose aim is to eliminate microorganisms, plus chemicals, pesticides, chlorine, phosphorous, and runoff water from homes and industry that pollute our land and water, we are destroying Mother Earth.
EM and Enzymes are probotic natural effective microorganisms that are beneficial for the food waste, soil, water, people and animals. The founder of EM Technology, Dr. Higa, discovered EM in the 1980’s and believes that food shortage and starvation can be eliminated. He estimates that enough food production for 10 million people is possible with the use of EM Technology on a worldwide basis. Dr. Higa insisted from the start that even greening deserts is possible with EM Technology. His theory is now validated by successful cases of desert-greening in Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
I am a Kundalini Yoga Teacher and Life Coach and believe that Yoga has given me the tools, peace and strength to overcome many challenges in my life. Dr. Higa believes it is possible to ensure world food supplies, environment and water cleanup and preservation. I believe in Dr. Higa’s book “An Earth Saving Revolution” of the EM Tchnology that Dr. Higa discovered and envisioned “EM is a Gift for Humanity” as I believe in “Yoga is a Gift for Humanity”. I believe that EM Technology and natural solutions are the answer to working with Mother Nature for a “Healthy Earth” and leaving a wonderful “Gift” for the future of our children. My wish is to do my part to give this gift. Can you join me? Together, we can make a difference before it is too late.
Visit to Kuramoto Farm Using EM Nature Farming
Written by Vera Del Vecchio 2010
I saw EM article in Vitality Magazine promoting EM, by Junzo Kokubo, (D.A.C. Kokubo’s Holistic Acupuncture & Herbal Clinic, Toronto) and called him to talk about his experience with EM. A few days later, I met with Junzo and his wife Helen. We shared interests in the incredible world of EM (effective microorganisms). He told me of even more uses than I knew for using it around the home, industry, EM Ceramics, and more. We all had confirmed that we wanted to share this knowledge with others.
Junzo told me about a farmer friend, Tom who went to Japan to get trained in EM Nature Farming. I suggested we all take a trip to Tom’s farm in Leamington. We all agreed that would be a good idea and decided to leave the following Sunday. I asked John, my husband to join us. John is a conservative and anti junk science kind of man and it’s good to see his point of view.
Tom and his wife, owner of Kuramoto Farm, greeted us with a warm welcome. The approximately 10 acre farm specializes in Japanese and exotic vegetables grown in greenhouses and outside. Tom spoke fairly good English, with lots of enthusiasm. It was obvious he was proud of his accomplishments. One of the first things I saw was daikon radish. The outside garden was full of these enormous profusions of daikon radishes erupting out of the ground (weight of up to 9 pounds and 2 feet long). Tom gets 2 crops per year of this sweet precious crop. The tops are edible with vitamin A and C. Tom showed me a magazine (English Journal July 2009), his picture with an article, and an Oprah magazine (January 2010) featuring EM in favorite things.
We went into his greenhouse. Tom picked a large cluster of grapes to try. They were good and sweet. Tom’s grape vine is 36 years old from Japan. I had never seen such old large trunks and large grape vines like this in Canada.
We went deeper into the greenhouse where eggplants grew. The plants were tall and staked up with strings all in a row, beautifully green, bearing eggplants 6 – 8 inches long ending in a point. Tom pointed out that these Japanese eggplants the plants were 20 years old (he says that is unusual). The Japanese cucumbers were very similar to the English cucumber. Tom was especially proud and well known for his Japanese sweet tasting tomatoes (momo-taro – meaning tough boy). The season had just finished, so we did not have a chance to see the tomatoes.
Another unique specialty was the ginger and turmeric plants. There were two types of turmeric plants, one is orange and the other was yellow. The yellow turmeric is more powerful and medicinal but also more bitter. When dried, the turmeric is ground into a powder.
The extra weight of the cabbage and Chinese cabbage was surprising. I was told that the burdock plants, that I have never seen cultivated before, have valuable health benefits to the Japanese.
At first I thought the green onions were leeks, but Tom corrected me that they were truly green onions. The thick green onions were up to 2 feet long. It was truly a remarkable sight!
Everything on the farm is recycled. Tom showed me a big dug up hole in the ground. There the green waste is mixed with EM Bokashi than buried and covered with soil to become nutrient rich compost.
Tom had a water reservoir with a sack filled with some tubes. They are EM ceramics (clay
infused and baked with EM). It Changes the structure of the water to be drinkable, clean, by promoting healthy bacteria. Tom uses this water for drinking water as well as watering his plants. I drank some water and it tasted good and a little sweeter too.
To ensure disease free manure, Tom treats it with EM, covers it, and lets it ferment for about 1 year before he use it on his crops. It has no smell after 3 days, creates no methane gas and turns it into excellent compost. Tom has experienced that straw bales are also chemically contaminated and could infect his crops, so he treats them with EM and keeps them for 1 year before using on his crops.
I learn that EM can take temperatures of 800 degrees and if it freezes, it goes into the ground and comes back when the temperatures rise in the spring. Therefore EM never dies!
Tom had concerns about his farm attracting insect infestation, pollen and chemical leakage from his neighbors since they used genetically modified farming and hydroponics. Usually EM would make the plants stronger to resist insects, but his case was challenging. Tom found EM5 made with fermented EM, malaises, vinegar, alcohol, chilies, and vinegar, diluted with water helps to ward off the insects. The EM (diluted 1000 times) is regularly sprayed on the crops.
Before using EM Nature Farming, Tom used fertilizers and pesticides on his farm for many years, but through his experience he discovered that their use works well at first, but then depletes the soil, creates disease and sickness in the plants and handling the chemicals made him and his family very sick.
After hearing many positive things about EM, about 10 years ago Tom decided to go to Japan to learn about EM Nature Farming. Since changing to EM Nature Farming, he has been very pleased with the results. I had noticed that the soil was not dark, black earth that I thought was the healthiest, but more grey/brown colour of sand and clay. Tom remarked that the clay provides the plants with nutrients and it is good soil when there is some clay and sand. “This healthy soil, gives plants its valuable health benefits to sustain life” Tom says.
I wondered if Tom’s farmer neighbors or others expressed interest in his EM use, or if there were other farmers in the area who were using EM? Tom’s response was that the neighbors or community were not interested in EM or his farm, and he does not know of any other farmer using EM. Tom ships most of his produce to the U.S., and very little to Canada.
Through his experience, Tom believes and has proven that EM works with Mother Nature. He also believes prevention is the answer to staying healthy. I took Tom to be in his 60’s, but he is actually 75 years old. Although it can be hard work, Tom loves his farm and what he is doing and won’t retire. In talking to his wife, she was not sure if Tom loved his plants more than her?
Well what does my husband John think? John thinks that Tom is a voice crying in the wilderness. He thought Tom’s farm was too labour intensive for Canada. John thought that the produce were quite remarkable!
For me, I thought it was a wonderful, unbelievable opportunity and experience visit Tom’s farm. A true pioneer, full of passion, full of life, full of drive in his quest to save Mother Earth. One person can make a difference. Tom, thank you for being who you are, ready to share your knowledge, humble, kind, passionate, and strong enough to break through in what you believe.
I ask myself; learning that 120 countries are using EM Nature Farming – Why not Canada?….
School gets lesson in Bakashi
Article from Richmond Elementary School,B.C
Bokashi composting may be the next big “growth” industry in the world of green—and Richmond elementary schools are leading the change.
Unlike traditional composting in which plant materials are stored in a bin and turned from time to time while the organic matter breaks down into soil over several months, Bokashi composting is a much faster process. All food waste—including meat, bones, dairy, bread and just about anything edible—is put into a bucket and “pickled” with a sprinkle of special micro-organisms called Bokashi.
Invented in Japan in the 1980s, the secret of Bokashi—which, roughly translated, means “fermented organic matter”—is in the “pickling” action of its micro-organisms.
When spread over food waste at eight- to 10-centimetre deep intervals in an airtight container, these organisms ferment the contents rather than simply allowing them to rot as in a traditional compost bin.
The result is no foul smell, no insects and no lengthy decomposition time—even with non-organic foods like meats and cheese.
Perfect too, it seems, for Richmond elementary schools, with Quilchena, Ferris, Grauer and Maple Lane elementaries all boasting in-classroom Bokashi programs this year.
Once filled, the Bokashi container does need to be dumped into a garden or standard compost bin for the final stage of its transition into soil. But the Bokashi advantage is that once transferred from the bucket, the Bokashi waste is typically ready to be planted in within 2-4 weeks, starting a new growth-cycle much quicker than standard yard composting.
“When it comes out of the bucket, the food looks exactly the same as when it went in but its chemical structure has changed completely because it’s now a pickled leftover onion or whatever it is. It’s infused with the microbes that do the pickling and it’s more wet but you’ve got no smell and it doesn’t attract fruit flies,” Pasternak said.
“Bones won’t necessarily break down in the bin but they won’t smell and won’t attract critters once they go into the compost, and after they come out of the Bokashi they’re much more pliable and, if you did have a lot, could be easily broken up in the garden with a shovel blade,” he added.
According to Quilchena principal Ric Pearce, his school’s student-run Bokashi program fills as many as four 20-litre buckets of food waste each month.
“We have small buckets in each classroom and then in one of our storage rooms we have one of the larger buckets,” Pearce said. “We have a group of kids that go around and gather it up every lunch and put it into the big bucket and put the Bokashi on it and then deliver the small buckets back.”
Once the school’s four rotating large buckets are filled, they deliver them to the Terra Nova community gardens where some Quilchena classes go every two weeks to plant, tend and harvest their crop of strawberries, peas, potatoes and sunflowers, Pearce said.
Last year, Quilchena’s Bokashi program delivered 43 28-pound buckets of food waste to Terra Nova, according to Pearce. That’s approximately 1,204 pounds, or over a half-tonne, of food waste diverted from area landfills and turned into nutrient-rich soil and a learning opportunity for Richmond schoolchildren.
My Experience Composting with Bokashi
Written by Margaret March 2011
I have been to composting seminars in the past. The first was put on by the municipal government that supplied composting units and taught the residents on their use. The system involved stockpiling equal parts of kitchen and yard waste, grinding, mixing and watering them and then waiting a year for them to turn into soil. The system could not accept meat or dairy waste, so we were faced with an additional step of separating kitchen waste into two streams. Eventually, the composting units were found to contribute to a rodent problem and their use was discouraged.
I was quite interested when I heard that Vera was composting in her downtown Toronto condo using a method known as bokashi. I did some reading and learned that bokashi uses EM (effective microorganisms) in the composting process. While there are a number of formulations of EM, Lactobacillus and Saccharomyces are present in all EM mixtures. Lactobacillus is the bacterium that converts our milk to yoghurt and Saccharomyces is the yeast that we use in bread, beer and wine production. From my understanding of the process, Lactobacillus creates an acidic pH that other bacteria cannot tolerate. The yeast Saccharomyces thrives in the acidic pH and ferments the organic waste. When mixed with soil, the fermented organics decompose into compost more quickly and effectively that in traditional composting.
When I visited Vera, I was pleasantly surprised by the simplicity of the bokashi system. Vera showed me a number of ways in which EM can used. At the time, Vera had been experimenting with soaking newspaper in a liquid mixture of EM, then drying the newspaper and using a layer of newspaper between layers of kitchen waste. She supplied me with a bundle of treated newspaper and off I went.
I started composting two weeks before Christmas using an old diaper pail. At the end of each day, I added my kitchen waste to the compost pail and covered each layer with a half sheet of the treated newspaper. I wanted a rigorous test of the bokashi system. I didn’t bother chopping up my kitchen waste as some composting systems recommend. I added large pieces of vegetables, meat scraps and bones. I wanted a system that I could maintain without fuss.
The fermentation phase of the process took about a day or so to get started when the compost took on a mildly sweet acidic smell. The smell remained mildly sweet throughout the two weeks it took to fill the pail and the two weeks it sat afterwards. At the end of two weeks there were a few small moulds growing at the surface that looked like common bread mould but no musty smell.
As the ground was frozen, when it came time to empty the compost pail, I used a garbage can in which I stored soil from my summer herb garden. Although I was not looking forward to emptying the pail, the process was not unpleasant. The organic material was quite sloppy but there was no odour of decay.
Throughout the winter, I added each pail of fermented kitchen waste to the garbage can and covered it with a few inches of soil.
One of my fears was that a garbage can full of kitchen waste would attract the raccoons that roam our neighborhood. The urban raccoon is quite adept at opening lids. I was again pleasantly surprised. I saw no telltale footprints in the snow around the garbage can. One evening, raccoons tore apart my regular garbage to extract a wrapper from a package of meat while leaving my bakashi compost untouched.
It is now March and the compost has thawed. The level in the can has dropped by about a foot, so I imagine that the decomposition phase is well under way. Although I have been told it is ready for use in a few weeks, I will probably leave the compost to do its work until May when I start my herb garden. I will stir up the layers of soil and compost and fill my planters with the mix. I will monitor herbs over the summer and will report back to Vera on the results. I have high hopes for my rosemary and basil.
Before starting the bokashi composing, I participated in the municipal green bin collection for organics. With the requirement for special compostable bags, the odour, the flies, and the challenge of discouraging raccoons, I have found the bokashi composting the more pleasant experience.
Hi Vera – July 2011
That is where we are now. I thought I would give you an update on how my sister Pauline and I are doing bokashi-wise.
As I said, I stored by my bokashi compost from the winter is a garbage pail, layering soil between each addition. After it thawed in the spring, I mixed it and let the bokashi continue to work until late May. I then used it for my herb garden, filling large pots about 1/3 with the bokashi compost -soil mix and them topping off with soil. I compared the results with the herb garden planted at the cottage, some in pots and some in the flower bed but without any bokashi compost. Except for the week of planting, neither of the gardens were watered and relied totally on the rain which was plentiful. . The difference was dramatic. By early July, the herbs at home with bokashi compost were generally 50% fuller and taller. The cherry tomato plant had about double the number of tomatoes that its counterpart at the cottage.
This summer, I have started to compost with bokashi at the cottage. We have not done so in the past for fear of attracting bears. This involved hauling bags of rotting food waste to the local dump. My husband is pleased to be relieved of this task. My first pail of bokashi is ready for burying. I intend to bury it in a temporary location and they move it to the herb and flower gardens when I clean up in the fall. I am expecting good things for next growing season.
My sister is doing quite well with her bokashi composting. As I said, she is in Orillia where they cannot dispose of meat products with their organics collection. Before using bokashi, she stored her meat based food wastes in her freezer so they wouldn’t rot waiting for garbage pick-up. She is finding bokashi composting much more acceptable. She has a smallish yard and a pool so she is using a composting unit rather than burying. She had composted in the past but stopped due to worries about odour and attracting animals. She is pleased to be able to start compositing again.
I would like to get more of the bran based bokashi the next time I see you. A friend’s daughter saw the compost and wants her mother to start as well. I have passed on your website.
Talk to you later,
Making your hot tub a safe place!
Written by Karen, Dawnn Green Monkey Eco Boutiqe, New Market, Ontario
For many years I was unable to use the hot tub at our cottage up north!
The first time I ventured into its chemical laden waters was the last time, as I became very ill from submerging myself into such a toxic soup, not to mention that the chemicals in there ate right through my bathing suit. That does not sound very healing to me in the least, in fact it is downright harmful, and yet hot tub manufacturers continue to ply their customers with very expensive and completely unnecessary chemicals.
There is now an answer to this troubling situation.
Healthy Earth EM Ceramic K Pipes and Probiotic EM.
We just emptied the tub, filled it with fresh water,
Added one bag of the ceramic k pipes to leave in the hot tub, poured in some of
Healthy Earth’s Probiotic EM and we had a very clean and healthy hot tub that I was now able to use! We refreshed the tub with the probiotic EM liquid once a week or more depending on our use.
Simple, Healthy, Effective and truly a wonderful invention
Thanks Vera at Healthy Earth
Bum Deal for the Young People!
Written by Vera Del Vecchio www.healthyearth.ca
It is truly a bum deal our young people today.
Why? Look at what the past generations left them:
- Broken families at about 50 -60% of the population in North America
- Resulting in lost identities, confusion, insecurity, and lost sense of belonging
- Getting a good education does not guarantee getting a good job
- And if and when you do get a job, it is getting rarer that the job will support you through security, medical, sick leave, vacation time, retirement, pensions etc.
The way of the future that we are seeing more of is self reliance through contract work and self employment.
A healthy society and quality of life is substantially reduced through mental and physical sickness, diseases, and depression.
Education is very challenging with the technical age. Essential fundamental teachings of reading, writing and arithmetic are being lost with the dependence on computers, calculators, phones, and machines. The art of communication is being transformed into an “instant satisfaction world” resulting in miscommunication, egotism, loss of etiquette and manners, loss of integrating with others as a community, family, and belonging.
Anger, resentment, violence and depression are on the rise with little answer for resolutions.
Lack of Government support, security and confidence are growing all around us with many corruptions and control of the people.
With all the advancement in the Health Industry through the ages, there is emerging more diseases, epidemics and even staying in a hospital a path to getting sicker with all the viruses going around.
Debt has on the rise. Students face escalating costs in education, and books resulting in debt for student loans. Thousands of dollars of debt before they could even get a head start in a job placement!
Even becoming a volunteer could cost you travel time and cost of living expenses.
The past generation has left a sad, dirty, polluted, and full of debt, mess of a world for the new generation to clean up. If cleaning and reviving is possible of our world, the thought of it is not only most depressing, but a huge challenge of effort and financial responsibilities.
Birth deaths and infertility are on the rise in North America.
Youth today are finding it more challenging to move out of the family home for financial and insecure reasons, and if they do, have no choice but to rent a room because of financial reasons.
Sexuality, homosexuality, marriages, religions, diverse ethnic groups and cultural traditions are becoming a mesh of confusion is paving the way to a new outlook of human living and communities.
Nuclear individual living and Nuclear families are more and more becoming the norm resulting in a loss of the support net of family and community.
Some families are dysfunctional with the parents at a loss of direction to teach, direct and support for the children, or the children are supporting parents with difficulties in addictions, broken marriages and financial losses.
In many cultures in the past generations, grandparents played an important vital role in providing support, teachings and wisdom in children’s lives for a very strong family and community. Today, many grandparents are not wanted, included, or appreciated by youth, families and community. The lack of computer age knowledge is a huge factor to draw a barrier to connect with the older generation.
All the monies that are raised for the “supposed good” for research and new drugs could be used for health prevention, quality of life education with education with diet, foods, exercise, and yoga.
Yes it is a depressing world for youth to face today with a huge challenge every way you look at it.
The Youth today can focus on the terrible things today, so why bother trying? It won’t make a difference. Why don’t I just give up and blame everyone for this terrible thing that has been done to me. You have every right to feel anger, resentment and depression about everything!
With a new light on what is happening today:
Freedom like never before to go for ideas to pave the way
Travel, diversity of peoples
Education more than ever before
Computer age of instant information
Communication of instant information
People are living longer than ever – more and more people living over 100
Better access to foods, diversity, health education, and life giving medical technology
More than ever people reaching out to help and volunteer in world disasters
We are making changes to better the world – preserving forests, rain forests, parks, animals, cleaning up pollution in land and waters.
It used to be the world was so polluted with wood and coal heating and industry – the air was thick. I remember as a child I would walk on the beaches of Lake Ontario and it would be normal to see dead fish on the shore and slime on the beaches. We don’t see that any more.
The Medical Industry has made it possible to transplant organs, and many new amazing technologies and operations that saved and made many lives.
We are seeing less and less barriers in what once was a huge barrier when it comes to your sex, sexuality, races, religion and traditions that has become open minded thinking, accepted and welcomed.
The USA has a Black President. Not that long ago, that would has been almost impossible. Doesn’t that tell all of us that anything is possible for anyone to achieve any possibility!
Spirituality, self growth of knowledge and compassion for yourself and others is growing throughout the world. Look at the Dali Lama, Emma, and the Yoga, and Tai Chi Communities.
You may have to work a little harder in a much more challenging environment? You are beautiful and perfect just the way you are. The World can be beautiful and perfectly imperfect. You may just have to put on some rose coloured glasses and make the world what you want to choose to see!