Category: Indoor Composting

Niel or Not all my of clients are women.

By , 31 July 2007 07:35

I can only publish photos that I have permission to take.



By , 27 July 2007 15:59


At the Vancouver Folk Music Festival outside market

By , 16 July 2007 16:46

Last year, the day before I joined the Co-Operative Auto Network, I went the Vancouver Music Festival and spent some time at the outside market along the fence. I decided that I would bring my bokashi buckets next year and so I did.

This was the first time I brought inventory ready to sell at an event. I started getting ready on Wednesday with new flyers and material. I hired J, my neighbour’s son as my assistant and ‘guard dog’ as he called himself.

We started early and got there about 8:30 A.M. All day parking for $5? Can’t beat that. Got a spot between two existing booths and started to setup. Three trips later I was ready for the day:

Folk Fest #1 - 15jul07

That’s J, not me. Here I am at work:

FolkFest #2 - 15jul07

All I can say is that the day was very long. It was great too. Lots of information given out and explanations made. I brought bokashi to sell separately and a few people bought that. As well, I have two new bokashi composting customers:

Lisa and Devin:
Folk Fest #3 - 15jul07

Kathy and Jeremy:
Folk Fest #4 - 15jul07
[Kathy has provided me with two referrals – Thanks!]

My neighbours included Miriam of Flaming Angels Design
Folk Fest #5 - 15jul07
had helpful advice about vending to share

and Leslie [taking a break]
Folk Fest #6 - 15jul07
who lent us her comfy chairs for us to sit on. Much appreciated!! I went out and bought one on Monday.

Finally, a panorama of the view from our area:

Folk Fest #7 - Panorama - 15jul07
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Biosa Bokashi in Shared Vision's July 2007 issue

By , 1 July 2007 08:23

I was informed the issue would be coming out July 1 [today].

Detail - Shared Vision Page 7 Scan

However, I started getting calls on Wednesday but could not check my messages until Friday. Arrgh. It was an exciting day. I’m ready now….

Here is a scan of the full page:
Shared Vision Page 7 Scan

and a link to Shared Vision’s website.

When I talk with people about Bokashi, I give them this brochure [.pdf]

Note: The image presented by Shared Vision is only one bucket. All my client photos show that two nesting buckets are used. The inside bucket has drainage holes and the outside bucket [the one with the label] is used to collect liquid from your material.

This is a sticky post and will be featured as the most recent entry for the next few weeks. Current content below this one.

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My Vision v.07

By , 14 June 2007 07:26

Today, someone asked me what my vision was with this business. This is how I responded….

I want people who live in cities to be composting with Bokashi

I want people who live in apartments to be composting with Bokashi

I want to collect the Bokashi prepared material that people cannot dispose of and process it at a central location.

I want the compost produced there to be used to grow food.

I want some that food given to the people who provided the compost material to show them that their efforts did make a difference.

Email Q & A about Bokashi composting

By , 6 June 2007 22:40

—– Original Message —–
From: Sue [not her real name]
To: A. A. Pasternak
Sent: Wednesday, June 06, 2007 8:19 AM
Subject: Re: Bokashi

Hi Al! Thanks so much for getting back to me. I’m interested in composting, and some searching on the internet led me to your website. Bokashi seems like a good option, but I have a couple questions:

Sue: Does the mass of the food waste reduce at all?

Al: No, it pickles. The bokashi acts as a inoculant that ferments the organic matter. When the bucket is full, the food waste at the bottom will look the same as when it went in, but the chemical structure will have changed completely. It is only later, when the fermented kitchen waste is dumped into the ground, which is far more aerobic, where there are many other wild
non-fermenting microbes present, that true composting will begin, and in that role the bokashi will assist primarily in making the composting process more efficient, in producing higher-quality end product, and in reducing levels of pathogenic microbes.

Sue: What if the compost bucket gets contaminated? (like with black mold,etc)

Al: In most cases this would not happen but if it does, you bury the bad batch, wash the bucket well and start again. Usually a bad batch is a result of not adding enough bokashi and/or to much moisture in the organic matter for the friendly microbes to eat fast enough. [Not in original email: A white fuzzy mold is ok]

Sue: Can you make your own Bokashi? How long will it keep?

Al: Yes. If you make it in a small batch you can use it after a month and it will keep 2 – 3 months. If you want to keep it longer [two years], it is best to dry it.

I use Biosa as my bokashi starter. Here is a link to the recipe I use: I can provide you with the starter liquid. You can even use the liquid alone.

Sue: And, most importantly, what do I do with the Bokashi?? That last question is why I called. See, I live in Chicago on the third floor of a walk-up. We have no yard, no balcony. I have the fire escape landing – which i could put a small bucket on, but no room for a compost pile.

Al: Here is a link that shows you how to make a small urban compost bin:

Sue: I do live very close to a public park, however. I guess that’s really my main concern. I live with three other people, and we all cook a lot, producing a lot of food waste. We also cook a lot of meat. However, if we don’t have an obvious place to put the Bokashi, and it doesn’t actually reduce the volume of food, then maybe this isn’t for us? I’m not sure. In fact, I’m not totally sure what the point of Bokashi is, if you just have to compost it anyway…*

Al: Anything to reduce sending food waste to the landfill is a good thing:

Bokashi helps stop the bad smells from normal composting, allows people to do it indoors, stops the fruit flies from coming, speeds up the final composting process and produces a better finished product.

Of course I’d be happy to supply all that you need to start bokashi composting and/or connect you with local [U.S.A] suppliers if you choose to go that route. Keep me informed of what you end up doing in your household.

Regards and be well,


Al Pasternak

Biosa[tm] Bokashi Composting
++indoor, odour free & more
Read my blog

*In my original email, I did not respond to this well enough. When I speak with people who ask the same question, I often suggest that people take their full bokashi bucket compost and dig it into the ground in a park or find a local community garden and put it in the compost bins there. As Sue was already thinking about doing that I did not encourage her, but attempted to address her other concerns.

I want people who live in cities to compost their food waste. Bokashi makes it easier for that to happen but people do not have to buy my product [and save the world] if other options are available.

Caieta and Steve

By , 27 May 2007 17:36

My camera was in Backlit mode which explains the odd colouring:

Caieta and Steve

Caieta found my brochure at the Firehall Branch of the Vancouver Public Library where I did leave some a few weeks ago.

Previously they had done worm composting but were irritated by the fruit flies that got out of control.

Worms for composting available in Vancouver/Lower Mainland [and elsewhere]

By , 25 May 2007 09:24

My focus on composting and sustainability has led me to some interesting places on the ‘net. Lately, I’ve been looking for extra compost bins on Vancouver Craigslist. While reading the posts, I find many people asking for worms aka wrigglers to start their own worm bins. This is great news. Even though I offer for sale a completely different [better] composting system, – no fruit flies, no odour – I am happy to see people take the steps to reduce their food waste.

I have replied by email a number of times to individuals with this information:

City Famer’s Worm Composting page

City Farmer’s Worm Supplier page includes suppliers in BC, Canada, The U.S.A and from around the world.

The City of Vancouver

has a limited number of Worm Composters available at the low price of $25. The units come complete with the bin, lid and tray, worms, bedding and instructions, and a mandatory one hour workshop at the Compost Demonstration Garden [aka City Farmer – Al]. To register for the workshops or to get more information, call the Compost Hotline at 604-736-2250.

The GVRD’s Composting and Yard Trimmings page has a A Guide to Composting with Worms [.pdf file]

Finally, if you live in Vancouver, I have thousands of worms in my compost bins if you want to come over and sort through the stuff. Call or email me. My contact information is on the Home page in the left column.

Cross-posted to

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'Bokashi Bucket….Update' [UK]

By , 22 May 2007 00:10

From a bokashi user in England:

Bokashi Bucket….Update

We have had the Bokashi Bucket for two weeks so it is still early days yet but we are finding it extremely easy to use and are noticing how much less is going into the waste bin.

Just make sure that when you do replace the lid ensure that it is sealed correctly and air tight. The bucket is approximately 1/3 full after two weeks in a household of three people.

Includes photos of the custom designed bokashi bucket. Any bucket made out of existing materials can do the job at home or at work.

Read it all….

Anatole & Tina

By , 21 May 2007 19:41

What a nice picture….

Anatole & Tina

After delivering the bokashi which they plan to use with their humanure system on one of the Gulf Islands, Anatole & Tina invited me to a breakfast of sticky rice – Laotian style – with omlette, spicy dip and peanuts. Very good. Thank you.

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