One of our core founding issues at The Moderns twenty years ago was food justice, and over the years we have gotten involved in this arena in a variety of ways. Of concern globally, and nationally in the U.S. is the quality of our soil. Nutrient rich soil is needed to grow the most nutrient rich food.
Our office is in New York City, which is considered a food desert, because most of our food comes from a great distance. The soil surrounding New York is poor and anyone who’s ever visited New York can tell you another obvious problem of the country’s largest city: piles and piles of garbage.
When Vandra Thorburn, president of Vokashi, founded her company she was already deeply imbedded in the local composting and community garden arena in New York City. She saw clearly the need to match our city’s problem of overflowing food waste with a need for nutrient rich soil for our community gardens and homes.
Vokashi uses the traditional Japanese method of fermentation, called ‘bokashi,’ to ferment food waste through a combination of a special bran mixture (EM-1, molasses, and wheat bran) in an airtight container. Her pick-up and drop-off service in the New York area provides her clients with airtight EcoSmart buckets to leave their food waste in to ferment, which takes about two weeks. Upon collection of the buckets, Vokashi takes the fermented food (which has no decay, odor, bugs or pathogens) to community gardens, where it is mixed directly in to the soil or into worm bins to compost. This method composts the food waste very quickly without decomposing the food, providing extremely rich nutrient soil.
Vandra brought EcoSmart buckets and bran to show us a demonstration. Besides food waste, any biodegradable paper can also be added. The food and paper get layered in the bucket with the bran mixture and once sealed, the fermentation magic starts to happen. She left us with two buckets and bran to do the process in-house and we absolutely love it.
With no decay, hardly any smells, bugs, or pathogens, what’s not to love about giving back to the earth? Thank you Vokashi, for a very inspiring Imagine the Next.