Category: News

This week’s Tweets

By , 9 September 2012 15:43

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This week’s Tweets

By , 2 September 2012 15:43
  • RT @modo_carcoop: Yes indeed! Yum. RT @oakstreetmarket: It's Market Day – time to fill up those vegetable crispers! ~cg Oak&49th 3-7pm #
  • On Sunday afternoon, I saw 3 @modo_carcoop vehicles in the parking lot of Famous Foods, including mine. #
  • RT @blackberry_hill: Being square can be delicious. We make: date, strawberry rhubarb, lemon, and blueberry oat squares. @oakstreetmarket#

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This week’s Tweets

By , 5 August 2012 15:43
  • Municipal/Regional composting is a good policy but there is a cost. The solution is to keep/compost your food… http://t.co/LO3w9Ld0 #

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When municipalities compost, costs/taxes go up.

By , 2 August 2012 16:43

Municipal/Regional composting is a good policy but there is a cost:

From Suffolk, UK:

A lack of home composting cost Suffolk taxpayers around £5million last year, council bosses have revealed.

Residents are now being urged to start their own compost bins, heaps and wormeries in a bid to keep waste out of black and brown bins.

Food and garden waste left in brown bins made up a third of all Suffolk household waste in 2011 and cost Suffolk County Council £3.8 million to compost. Compostable waste dumped in black bins, which was then disposed of in landfill, cost a further £1.5m.

Now councillor Lisa Chambers, cabinet member for environment and property management, has urged residents to do their bit to lower the waste bill and improve their gardens.

Presenting a report, she said: “If just 1% of this material was home composted instead, the council would save £50,000 per year, and clearly if we were less successful at promoting home composting in Suffolk it would cost us dearly.” She added: “In my garden I have a compost bin and a wormery and I have put virtually nothing in my brown bin. I have the view that it’s my waste and I want to manage it.”

“As well as creating great free fertiliser for the garden, home composting helps towards achieving the council’s target of diverting as much waste from landfill as possible. This in turn helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

Mrs Chambers said: “The biggest barrier in trying to get people to compost is getting them to understand how they can do it. It does not smell or encourage rodents.”

Craig Renton, waste advisor and master composter co-ordinator for SCC, said all eight of the county’s local authorities are signed up with the National Home Compost Framework under the Suffolk Waste Partnership.

He added: “This enables Suffolk residents to buy a basic compost bin from as little as £16 (less than half the RRP). Residents can access the range of items available (including wormeries, bokashi food digesting systems) via the dedicated Suffolk website provided through the national framework.”

Its your food waste. Keep and use it in the best way possible: in your own yard. If you can’t compost, find someone in your neighbourhood who would be willing to share their compost bin with you.  Compost Here is a good resource.

This week’s Tweets

By , 22 July 2012 15:43

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This week’s Tweets

By , 15 July 2012 15:43

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This week’s Tweets

By , 1 July 2012 15:43

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This week’s Tweets

By , 27 May 2012 15:43

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Press: Students get lesson in Bokashi

By , 27 September 2010 09:47

When Todd from the Richmond Review called me to do a story about bokashi I suggested we meet where the bokashi is being used by one of my customers in Richmond.

Click on the link to watch a short video.

Students get lesson in Bokashi

Bokashi composting may be the next big “growth” industry in the world of green—and Richmond elementary schools are leading the charge.

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.

According to Vancouver’s self-professed “Bokashi Man” Al Pasternak, that makes Bokashi composting perfect for condo-dwellers or those with limited to no yard space who, nonetheless, want to reduce their environmental footprint by composting in their homes.

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 about a month, 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.

Pasternak, who may [be] the only homegrown cultivator of Bokashi in Metro Vancouver, supplies Quilchena with its Bokashi blend and delivered a refill of the micro-organisms on Tuesday.

“I’ve been supplying Quilchena with their Bokashi for the past year and there may be another supplier in Richmond because Bokashi is very popular in the school system there, but I believe the other supplier’s source comes from back east,” he said. “But it’s very easy to make yourself and then put onto any dry medium from coffee grounds to wheat bran to pencil shavings even.”

And pencil shavings are a resource that one young, enterprising Grade 6 student assured Pasternak that Quilchena Elementary has an endless, and potentially lucrative, surplus of.

Guerilla Gardener news from Vancouver, the UK and in the land of Oz

By , 29 May 2008 15:50

This is a post about a news article about Guerilla gardeners that showed up in the Asian Pacific Post a few weeks ago. I mentioned it in some Twitter posts when I found that they had used some of my images without my permission. This has been corrected.

The same article appeared yesterday in the Sydney Morning Herald. It is ephemera of the news cycle that I find interesting. The story is a filler that editors can add when they need more content. The Asian Pacific Post added a local angle which they were not required to do but I’m glad they did. I’m surprised the Sydney Morning Herald could not do the same [from their own publication!]

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