The 5 incredible lessons I learnt about Effective Microorganisms last week

I have just returned to New Zealand after an incredible trip to Thailand to grow my knowledge of the innovative composting technique, Bokashi and Effective Microorganisms (EM).

For decades now, I have been in awe of these techniques and watched them create incredible result after incredible result. I feel deeply that these technologies are the way of now and the future for our damaged planet and soil and it is my mission to share the knowledge and endless possibilities with as many as I can through Grow Inspired, empowering others to put them to use.

I was one of just 40 from around the world that was invited to attend this mind-blowing four day training and knowledge sharing forum at the EM (effective microbes) research centre at Kyusei Nature Farm in Saraburi, Thailand.

Every one of the attendees from across 14 different countries uses EM and bokashi in different ways and the goal of our conference was to share our knowledge with one another to spread the learning in each of our countries.

Lesson #1

Though I have been using and advocating EM and bokashi for years, there are so many more ways it can be used for benefit than even I knew previously – from making shampoo, soap, washing up liquid, bug sprays, toilet cleaners, aerobic bokashi, super bokashi, activated charcoal and bokashi bran, as well as use in farming to reduce smell and to improve our waterways.

Lesson #2

My experiences have shown me that, in New Zealand as a country, we are much more advanced in the processing of food waste in the home garden than most of the other countries. However, I was surprised to see that others are much more progressive with government support and funding of large scale projects.

For example, in Malaysia they have been granted $1 million in support of cleaning up their water ways using EM mud balls.

These are balls made of clay that get inoculated with EM, then hardened and thrown in to the waterways. Here, they sink into the sludge and the microbes activate, starting the process of sludge dispersal, and eventually creating clean rivers. #genius #inspired #iloveit #tellmemore

Mud balls inoculated with Effective Microorganisms to go into dirty waterways to clean them

Lesson #3

I learnt how to develop a spray with EM to process unwanted plant matter. Imagine – this could revolutionise the way forward for processing our noxious weeds and keeping them out of landfill!

Amongst our inspiring group, there was idea after idea that we could each take home with us to help solve issues we experience by using these clever natural ingredients! Much, much more to come on this later…

Lesson #4

I observed that, as a country in New Zealand, we are just not thinking big enough or on a large enough scale. We visited a transfer station that was set up just to process food waste using bokashi and, in turn, to create compost which was then sold back to the community. #genius #iwantone

Fresh, delicious food grown on the farm using Effective Microorganisms

Lesson #5

I have long believed that natural products achieve the best results – both in growing and in cleaning. But two of the most advanced projects we learned about demonstrated these principles on another level entirely! Unicef have been successfully using EM for their ablution block facilities in Africa which were suffering from severe bad odour and poor sanitation – after a few weeks’ use, it removed the odour completely.

Another mind-blower was in Japan, where they are using EM to sanitise, clean and disinfect their hospitals and clean all their surfaces and windows.

#nochemicals #natureknowsbest

There is so, so much more which I am now processing into lectures and courses, that will be available in the new year. It was such a nourishing and inspiring experience to share in. And to have had the opportunity to eat vegetables, fruit, meat, fish, prawns, chicken and rice all grown with EM principles and grown on the very farm where we were learning was a feast to behold.

CLEAN, nutrient-rich food has to be the way of now and the future.

I would like to offer my sincerest appreciation and gratitude to my EM and bokashi fellows for all the knowledge shared and, in time, I hope to visit your projects, farms and tea plantations. I also want to thank everyone that supported my trip and helped make it possible – from the bottom of my heart.

My next stop was project Bokashi Myanmar, which was one of the highlights of my entire trip and I can’t wait to share this with you next week.

For now, happy gardening and grow inspired.

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