Thursday, May 9, 2013

Here comes the judge! And we're ready

May 7 – After five weeks of becoming experts in Bokashi composting, we showed our stuff to Anna Brown, one of the judges for the Eco-Footprint Challenge.

Our volunteer advisor, Scott Justice, oversaw the food collection after lunch as our five third-grade classes brought leftover meat, milk, vegetables and fruit for composting. Students scraped food into either the bokashi bucket (for meat and dairy) or the standard composting bucket (for breads, fruits and vegetables.
Shoveling bokashi!
Oops! One boy put his meat in the wrong bucket. No problem. We reached in and pulled it out. When everyone was done, one of our students carefully covered the bokashi mixture with a plastic sheet to keep out the air. Mr. Justice explained that bokashi uses an anaerobic process (meaning without air) to slowly ferment the meat and dairy so it can go into compost for our vegetable garden. The fermentation takes three weeks.
Next we weighed the buckets to see how much food we collected today. Our teacher asked us to do the math in our heads.  If the bucket weighed 47 pounds before today and now weighs 52 pounds, how many pounds of food waste did we add? If you can't figure it out, the answer is 5 pounds! That's a lot of rice, apples, oranges and other stuff.
The next step was to go out to the composting area. While most of the students went off to play, four of us helped Mr. Justice shovel bokashi that has fermented for three weeks into a hole, then cover it with leaves. Boy, does bokashi stink when you take off the plastic. Mr. Justice said that it would have smelled much worse if we had not covered it to keep out the air.
We finally posed for a photo under our bokashi sign. Wait till next year, when we can use this on our schoolyard gardens!

CLICK HERE to see a slide show of our work when Judge Anna Brown visited.

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