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CincyGarden 08-06-2009 09:55 PM

Any input appreciated: bokashi education
I've been having discussions about bokashi, with myself mostly, for a couple of months now. Occasionally I include others.

In a couple of instances, mention has been made of hosting an educational session. I've held off as long as possible, hoping to teach a teacher, but I'm doing one in a couple of weeks.

I would appreciate your input on a plan of action.

In this case, the session is a lunch and learn for a fairly large, very diverse, healthcare employer in town. I work there, my wife works there, the guy I hoped would be doing this works there, too.

We might just be the only people there, given the fact that there are only a few others interested, and one of them is due to give birth to her firstborn on that day.

But, aside from the prospects of that, let's just assume that a nice cross-section of the 10,000 employees shows up: Doctors, nurses, researchers, professors, business folks (like me), grounds folks, shuttle drivers, etc. 20-25 folks would be nice, for this one.


What do they show up for?

I/we have an hour in an informal setting. I plan to A) run down the basics of what compost provides (reduced waste, superior soil), B) run through on how it does it (C:N, micro-organisms) C) quick step-by-step on how it's usually practiced (collection, bin, water/turn/temp). That may be 1/2 an hour.

The 2nd half an hour, the same topics, but introducing EM and bokashi as a pre-process, augmention, and (really) a much more bearable process for the kitchen composter. Hopefully, folks will realize it is applicable on a much wider scale.

Thankfully, my friend has laid a lot of the groundwork for this, and has resources to provide a lot of material to interested parties; this could, concievably, be repeated/expanded. The plan, right now, is to give away several kits (5-10?) during this session, with more planned.

I'm sure I'm not the first here to do such a thing. Anything could have happened in the last couple of years, and I might not have noticed. But, judging from the reaction of the folks I know and respect to the idea of bokashi, it is pretty unique; fundamentally acceptable to the compost mentality, but a radically different approach.

Thoughts on how to do this are really, really appreciated. I have some classroom experience with adults, but this isn't a classroom. To be clear, I'm not worried about my ability to pull anything off, I just don't know the best way to pull it off.

I really want to get the ball rolling here, and would appreciate your input, on any aspect of the thing. What do you think, what would you do, and how would you do it?

Thanks in advance.

Equilibrium 08-06-2009 11:00 PM

This is better than a classroom with adults... these adults are there because they want to be. You'll do fine... trust me. You're an expert on this. Any time you study something for more than three years... you become the expert. This lunch and learn is a golden opportunity for the people attending to be afforded the opportunity of learning exactly how easy it is to keep their kitchen and lawn waste out of landfills. This is a gift. You are providing them with the gift of your time and your expertise. Don't sell yourself short, you can do this. Your group is too large to provide hands on opportunities for all the participants. When working with large groups, providing visuals can help make it real for them. Will your lunch and learn be in an area where you could share photos of the process? Possibly a power point presentation? You are welcome to take any photos I have shared at this site to use for your lunch and learn. I'm sure others would share with you too.

Hedgerowe 08-07-2009 05:18 AM

I will be interested in your lesson plan and its content, CincyGarden. Bokashi is something I had never heard of prior to joining this forum, and I joined late enough in the bokashi discussions to be completely lost when trying to understand the details (the benefits of composting I get--the mechanics of bokashi seem arcane).

biigblueyes 08-07-2009 08:18 AM


Originally Posted by CincyGarden (Post 33738)
I've been having discussions about bokashi, with myself mostly, for a couple of months now. Occasionally I include others.

That's a good thing. Don;t you know that when you talk to yourself, you associate with a smarter class of people? :ponder


Think of the way they do a cooking show. They show you the ingredients, they show you how to do it, and then they have one already done to show you what the end product will be.

Maybe you could have bowls of ingredients on hand, of the type and size ready to layer in the bucket, and if you have the time, show them how you actually do it. If you won't have time to do it there, make layers in a clear container, to show what they're aiming for

What are in the "kits"? Are you making your own buckets or using commercial ones? If homemade - would you have time to show them how to make a bucket right there to show how eay it is?

Just thoughts. You'll do fine. "Winging it" is a time-honored tradition.

CincyGarden 08-07-2009 08:47 AM

Thanks folks. Equil: 3 years? No, not me; composting, yes, not bokashi though. As far as expertise, no. Passion, yes, though and that carries me through by sticking me in situations where my lack of expertise is so evident that I figure out what I have to figure out.

Thanks for offering the photos. I hope to get a chance to promote the "Make your own innoculant" thread, actually, either at this meeting or later when they come back for more bran.

You all hit on two elements I'm really concerned about; I have to prepare some formal elements (powerpoint) for "record" of the thing. I hope to have a draft of this complete sometime this weekend, and would appreciate your input.

However, I'm a little concerned how the informal elements (the bokashi, the bran, the buckets) should be used. I plan to bring a full bucket in, show it to the group, let them see and smell it. There will be several bucket kits, and bags of bokashi bran, as well. Of course, we can throw whatever people have left after eating in the bucket, too.

I guess I'm overthinking the logistics of it, especially considering I haven't even seen the room we're using. I'm sure it will have a projection screen (it's in a research building), though. I have to get over there to figure out how to stage it.

Biig, to answer your question, yes it would be possible to build the buckets while we're there, and my friend and I had discussed it but he wants to do a later session with interested people on making the bran, as well.

I'd be fine with "winging it," but I think that would turn off the people I, really, most want to reach: those that have composted but gave up because of a failure at some level, resulting in bad smells or just general grossness. If I can get them excited and talking about it, I won't feel like every person I talk to about it is hearing about it for the first time. I'm probably overthinking things, but I do that.

Thanks for the input, anything you can share is really appreciated.

biigblueyes 08-07-2009 09:01 AM

If you have a powerpoint-type presentation, a filled bucket to show the end product, and hammer home the message by picking up the food scraps for the bucket too, the presentation will be well received.

You're not overthinking it. You're brainstorming with others and you'll pick the best of the ideas we come up with. You'll dazzle 'em.

Equilibrium 08-07-2009 11:15 AM

"No, not me; composting, yes, not bokashi though. As far as expertise, no. Passion, yes," So share that with them. What's the big deal. Passion is infectious. Everyone... I mean everyone... has to start somewhere. How large is your audience? I had discounted passing bowls around to get the lunchers and learners actively involved in tossing in their food scraps but... this may be one of the greatest ways imagineable to get them involved. Which one won't start poking around on their plate to toss in scraps in the presence of peers when asked to do so by the speaker? And... they'll snicker and laugh amongst themselves while they're doing it which adds to the fun factor. I think your friend is wrong about not demonstrating how to make a bokashi bucket there on the spot. You could pre-drill some holes and show them you pre-drilled some. Whip out a drill and drill a few more to illustrate to them exactly how little effort is required, pull out the tube of goop and insert the spigot if you want... and share with them that the total time to make one bokashi bucket is under 10 minutes. That speaks volume to an audience. I'd adhere to the keep it simple principles for this audience. People need to see for themselves that this is easy and effortless. They need to feel as if what they will be doing will make a difference and commenting about the volume reduction in a land fill if everyone in the room began composting regularly will hit home. You're going to be fine. You do need to figure out how to capitalize on the projection screen that will be available to you.

Hedgerowe 08-07-2009 11:17 AM

The demonstration that Eqilibrium has just decribed would hit home with me. Bokashi SOUNDS complicated; I would respond well to proof to the contrary.

Cirsium 08-07-2009 01:46 PM

I don't know anything about Bokashi, but I can offer a few thoughts on giving presentations.


... Passion, yes, ...
Don't underestimate the power of passion about a topic. The audience will sense it, and they will respond positively to it. It's also extremely easy for you to accomplish - you already have it, and you need do nothing to try to show it. It will be there automatically. A little story ... I recently help organize a 4 day conference on the conservation of native North American orchids. One of the topics that we wanted to include was a presentation on soils. We wanted to make the point that orchids don't exist in a vacuum. They need habitats; and the soil is an important part of the habitat. We were a little apprehensive about how this topic would go over, since this audience was used to presentations focused almost exclusively on orchid plants. The person we selected to give the presentation about soils was passionate about the subject.

His presentation turned out to be one of the highlights of the whole conference. One of the attendees later commented to me "you know, that presentation was so interesting that I didn't realize until he was half way through it that he was talking about DIRT! (big laugh).

With respect to organizing your presentation, there is an old adage that can be helpful. "Tell them what your going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you told them." Often, the 'tell them' part is written first; and then the first and last parts are used to summarize the middle part. It makes for a nice smooth flow to the presentation so that none of the audience gets lost along the way.

Staff 08-07-2009 02:10 PM

Passion is everything when giving a presentation. Our audiences will sense it.

With our opening statements, we define our purpose. Try to incorporate positive adjectives. This simple technique helps put an audience in the right frame of mind. Audiences are far more receptive to learning in upbeat atmospheres.

Eye contact is another important component to successful presentations. In large groups begin to focus on one individual toward the front. Allow your eyes to roam reaching out to make contact with as many individuals in your audience as possible throughout the entire presentation.

Asking closed end questions will not enable a speaker to discern objections. Keep questions open ended to engage the audience to get any reservations they may have out into the open.

Your passion will make you a natural.

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