Kindergarten students make their own bokashi bran

Never a class to shy away from a challenge, K1A decided to make their own bokashi bran at the start of this term.

Bokashi bran is an integral part of bokashi composting. It contains microbes and is sprinkled on each layer of food waste to stimulate the fermentation process. Until now, K1A, along with the rest of the school, had been using bokashi bran purchased from a local farm.

To get started, K1A asked the school café to save coffee grounds, which were going to form the base of their bokashi bran. Many people use materials such as saw dust, wheat germ or crushed, dry leaves for this, but as coffee grounds are readily available at Clarion, they were the easiest and certainly a sustainable option.

To make the microbe mix, the students washed rice in water. They poured the rice water into a jar and covered it with a fine net, which they kept under a tree for one week.

Once sediments had formed, the students added 100ml of the rice water to 1 liter of milk. They put this in a jar with the lid on, but not tightened, and left it in a cupboard for 2 weeks. This was to encourage lactobacillus growth as it is the key microbe in bokashi bran. On occasions, students were heard whispering “grow little microbes grow” into the cupboard.

Curds and whey formed after 2 weeks and the whey was used in the next step. Students dissolved 4 tablespoons of sulfur-free molasses in 120ml of filtered water. This was then mixed with 120ml of whey and mixed into 2kg of used coffee grounds. After a few days in an air tight container, the coffee grounds smelled like bokashi bran and were ready to be dried in the sun.

K1A now has their own bokashi bran to use in their next bucket of bokashi!

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