Bokashi Composter in Brooklyn: Vokashi

Bokashi Composter in Brooklyn: VokashiUsing a Bokashsi composter in Brooklyn, New York just got a lot easier. Thanks goes to Vandra Thorburn, the founder and president of Vokashi, a green company providing composting services.  Bokashi composting is another way to make compost. In the beginning, it is more of a pickling or fermenting process than a decomposition process. People keep two buckets for kitchen scraps. Each time they add food scraps, they cover it with a layer of Bokashi.  The Bokashi that Vandra uses is called EM-1, a mixture of microorganisms usually fermented with wheat or rice bran or rice hulls. When the bucket is full it is set aside for a few weeks and the next bucket is started. After a few weeks the contents of the first bucket are buried in the ground where it decomposes.  EM-1 Bokashi is available from Teraganix.

The real plus about Bokashi composting is that the food doesn’t decompose in the buckets. It ferments. Therefore there are no foul decompostion odors (and these odors get really stinky!) and no fruit flies. This is a perfect system for someone living in a small apartment or condo, though you do need a place to bury the stuff or they can go into a compost bin.

This is where Vokashi and Vandra Thorburn come into the picture. Vandra, a native New Zealander, has started a Bokashi composting business in Brooklyn called Vokashi-A Kitchen Waste Solution. She supplies her customers with 2 buckets and Bokashi powder and a monthly pickup service. This is the beautry of this system. She picks up the kitchen scraps, transports them to East New York Farm where they are buried.  This article goes into more detail about Vokashi and has a slide show called the corn cob test.  There are photos showing how easy it is to crumble a corn cob after it has gone through the Bokashi fermentation in the ground.  Corn cobs usually take forever to decompose.

Once in the ground the Bokashi accelerates the decomposition.  One Bokashi user has commented on the number of worms in the areas where the Bokashi has been buried:  “I can say that stuff does break down very fast in the soil, and that when I dig in the area a month or two later it is absolutely WRITHING with earthworms. Huge masses of them. I can also quite immodestly brag that the garlic that I grow are absolutely huge, and have taken two blue ribbons at the Fall Fair.”  (

If you are interested in going green and composting in Brooklyn, New York you can get in touch with Vandra at 718 623 1911 0r  If you would like to start a company in your area please call Vandra at the above number or email.

4 thoughts on “Bokashi Composter in Brooklyn: Vokashi

  1. Vandra Thorburn

    Hi Sandie – Great! thanks very much. Good read and thanks for link to BrooklynOnline article.

    I actually like to refer to fermenting food waste as a compost starter. It is the first step of a two step process. The second is adding fermented food waste to various composting systems: worm bins, composting bins; windrows and most effectively ploughed into the earth as a natural fertilizer.

    I use 5 gallon buckets and ask people not to include liquids. The buckets weigh about 25 – 30 lbs when full. This week I will be adding about 50 buckets of fermented food waste to the composting row being built at Hands and Heart Community Garden in East New York. Many of these buckets have been under 2 feet of snow for this month. Another great feature is that the material never froze. The microorganisms kept food waste moist and warm even under the snow.

    Thanks again for the support.

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