Scott Olsen

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since Nov 15, 2011
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Recent posts by Scott Olsen

I have been receiving about 4 tons of food waste per week for the last several years and using it to remediate 14 acres of previously chemically farmed land, as well as growing produce on 2 acres of organic land The food waste is not just fruits and veggies as in your case, but is literally everything a commercial kitchen might throw out (sadly). Still there are some similarities. I have been dealing with commerical food waste since 2006 and have ramped up to my current volume. After scrounging out the stuff that is easily accesible for our 50 chickens, the rest goes to some sort of composting. I started with aerobic composting, but had trouble importing enough carbon. Next I tried vermicomposting, which worked great and I still do it, but I could set up a sytem large enough for the volume and it was too slow to deal with the meat/eggs/dairy,etc. I then tried bokashi fermentation and in my experience it is much more efficient at getting the material incorporated in the soil. No need to worry about C/N ratio or how wet the material is. I use 55 gal. barrels to anaerobically ferment the food waste with an EM innoculant (I have purchased and made my own, both seem to work). Shredding hels pack more into a barrel and it ferments ore quickly. It is sealed up in the barrels so no vermin problems during this phase (1-3 weeks, depending on ambient temp). The next phase is to incorporate into the soil. You can mix it with the soil or bury it, either of which may require some equipment or a lot of sweat at the volume of material you are receiving. I use a tractor and a disc to incorporate. At that point there is some smell, but it smells like vinegar not rot, and the smell dissipates in a few days or immediately in the case of burying the material with 6" or so of soil. There is also some vermin potential in this phase, but the material is incorporated into the soil rather quickly after the fermentation and so after a few weeks (again depending on ambient temps) any vermin are no longer interested. THe wet boggy soil may be an issue for incorporation. Not sure what might be done to alleviate that. THe fermented material can stay in the barrels until drier weather, but you might get quite a back up. What to do with all the material during the wet Pacific NW winters has been my biggest challenge.
It has been our experience that growing food in the soil that has incorporated the fermented material is better than before we started this process. By better I mean more productive, healthier and better tasting. You can find a lot of internet stuff about bokashi these days, but some of it seems misleading to me and most of it is small scale. I think with just friuts and veggies as in your case, the bokshi method could be used to incorporate the material faster than any other method I have found. Just another alternative that I have found useful.
5 years ago
Here is another link about BSFL info. This guy is researching BSFL at my farm and has good data on several years of research: http://www.dipterra.com/
6 years ago
I have been doing bokashi for three years recycling several tons of food waste per week. I am currently experimenting with using the bokashi tea to create bokashi bran or to use directly to start a new fermentation cycle.
If you are going to innoculate bran with the tea, my sense is that you should dilute the tea first to dilute the fermentation inhibitors (alcohols, etc). I have tried diluting the tea, adding molasses, allowing 2-3 days for microbes to grow population on samll amount of added molasses, and then innoculating bran. Then let the bran ferment 1-2 weeks and then use. My plan is not to dry it because I use so much of it that I do not need the shelf life that drying provides.
I have not tried using the tea directly on food waste, but my sense is that in large quantities like I am doing the food waste itself provides sufficient dilution. In small household quantities of food waste I would use just a small amount of full strength tea, or go through the dilution process described above as for bran. I am not a microbiolgist, but I know some.
8 years ago