In 1999, the word Bokashi was unknown in New Zealand but that was all about to change thanks to a chance encounter I had at an organic farm.
As a practicing horticulturalist with a growing interest in organic farming, I was always keen for new information. While visiting an organic farm, I met an agronomist who told me about the potential of beneficial micro-organisms for agriculture and horticulture.
This idea stuck with me and I then visited Ag-Research where I met a soil scientist who was researching the use of beneficial micro-organisms in agricultural crop production.
My background in earth sciences allowed me to see the potential in such products and we discussed how I could be involved in using the product for horticulture.
With the assistance of a Japanese technician, I developed a Bokashi product for testing in my organic vegetable operation. I was fortunate to also have my product used as part of a research project at Lincoln University.
Further trials were carried out at my South Canterbury farm with the assistance of two Lincoln-based scientists. All these trials produced very encouraging results which highlighted the potential to develop a commercially viable product.
This product became Earth Zing and was instrumental in helping me becoming a finalist in the 2003 Ballance Environmental Farm Awards.
In early 2000, I was asked to create a product for a food waste trial for the Christchurch City Council. The Christchurch trial was a success and was promoted to ratepayers as a means of reducing food waste placed at the ‘kerb’ for pickup by the weekly rubbish collection.
Over the next few years, I travelled throughout New Zealand making presentations to council waste managers. I also attended several WasteMinz conferences where I presented papers on food waste management using the Bokashi system. I went onto to build a strong retail network across New Zealand.
My work also attracted interest from overseas as people realised that Bokashi from New Zealand was a high quality product. I partnered with an NGO in Hong Kong and several product shipments were made to support food waste trials for apartment dwellers.
I began receiving lots of emails from all over the world seeking advice on Bokashi products. This increased my understanding of the use of Bokashi in different settings which helped with further product development.
In 2016, I received a commendation award for Regenerative Impact at the NZI Sustainable Business awards and in 2018 I received an award from the Buy NZ campaign for the New Zealand product of the month.
After selling the business to Michelle in late 2018 I was pleased to remain part of the Zing Bokashi team as a mentor and research consultant.
I hope you enjoyed learning a bit more about the history of Zing Bokashi.
See you next month,