Pollution Prevention Program underway at WHEELS on W 182nd Street
WHEELS' Seniors leading Northern Manhattan Compost and Bioremediation Project.
Vokashi is pleased to be partnering with WE ACT (the leading environmental organization in Harlem) in its innovative approach to pollution prevention in New York City - the Northern Manhattan Compost Bioremediation Project.
"We believe our project is entirely aligned with New York State’s Pollution Prevention Institute," explains Ogonnaya Newman, Director of Environmental Health at WEACT.
"Through this project we will educate and engage students in waste reduction and soil remediation. We plan on reducing waste through composting and creating and maintaining a community garden sustained by the compost created from the students' school lunches."
Seniors will be learning the nuts and bolts of composting from members of the Lower Eastside Ecology Center and the benefits of managing food waste through fermentation from Vokashi.
"And the best way to learn is to teach!" says Vokashi founder, Vandra Thorburn. "Seniors taught other students how to make the fermenting bran."
Soil Production on a Shoe String
In the Fall of 2011, Vokashi began a pilot soil amendment project at Marine Park Golf Course. In two 3'x6' trenches we mixed our fermented food waste with very sandy dirt to see how long it would take to improve the organic content of the soil. For three months we added buckets to these trenches and took soil samples to the Environmental Science Analytical Center (ESAC) at Brooklyn College for testing. There was enough improvement over the months to suggest trying the next volume of soil.
In the Spring we filled a 3 cu yd Bagster with a mixture of fermented food waste, sawdust from local cabinet makers and the very sandy dirt. We covered it and left it for two months to cure. Then the bag was opened and the decomposed material sifted. We had our first batch of 'enriched' soil. Samples were sent to ESAC and again the results showed significant improvement in organic content.
Summer of Samples
We met Nick Lee, a high school student intern at ESAC. He needed a soil study so we developed a 'shoe string' project for him: what is the optimum mixture of fermented food waste to sawdust/yard waste to soil. We created eight different sets of 'mixtures' and Nick took the samples and processed them and completed his course work including a written report.
Meanwhile, we established two corals each with a 3 cu yd Bagster, filling them on alternative months with the combination of fermented food waste, sawdust and sandy soil and harvesting each after two months. Samples of this 'enriched' soil are regularly sent to ESAC for testing as we refine the search for the optimum mixture of fermented food waste / sawdust / soil. (continued at Blog)
Vokashi serves Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens. We look forward to serving the Bronx.
Student wins with EM-1 and Vokashi projects
Nicholas Lee (Environmental Sciences) received the Environmental Quest: Michael G. Mann Award for projects that promote the objectives and mission of Environmental Quest; to bring awareness to the man-made and natural environment.
Project: Creating Soil with Fermented Food Waste
Jenny Ng was a semifinalist in the Young Naturalist Awards competition sponsored by the American Museum of Natural History for her project "Will Mudballs Containing Effective Microbes Improve Water Quality in Ponds?" The Young Naturalists began in 1998 as a way to reward middle and high school students for outstanding research done in the natural environment. Jenny is the first Midwood Science student to win an award in this competition ever!
Congratulations Shivani and Shweta
Shivani and Shweta are students at John F. Kennedy High School in Plainview, Long Island. In the middle of the winter they called Vokashi for information about our composting methods. They developed a project now called "Fertilizer Gone Green", which they placed in three environmental competitions:
1. Siemens We Can Change the World: placed as National Finalists
2. The Research Association Fair: given honorable mentions
3. Molloy College High School Science Fair: given honorable mentions
Here is a link to their Facebook page, Fertilizer Gone Green.
"It is just so encouraging to see these students studying the world of microorganisms," says Vandra Thorburn, president of Vokashi - kitchen waste solution.
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