designer | researcher | educator

Bokashi

Bokashi

COMMUNITY COMPOSTING
2016

Mixing the compost and soil for the plants.

Mixing the compost and soil for the plants.

Brainstorming session: Bethany Celio, Alex Croft, Thea French.

Brainstorming session: Bethany Celio, Alex Croft, Thea French.

Brainstorming session: Julia Warden, Kennedy Wells, Emily Horowitz

Brainstorming session: Julia Warden, Kennedy Wells, Emily Horowitz

Brainstorming with trace, sharpies, and post it notes.

Brainstorming with trace, sharpies, and post it notes.

Burying fermented food waste collected from Hunt Hall landscape architecture studios.

Burying fermented food waste collected from Hunt Hall landscape architecture studios.

Getting dirty with homemade compost.

Getting dirty with homemade compost.

Planting chard, basil, strawberry, and rosemary.

Planting chard, basil, strawberry, and rosemary.

Making signs for the garden plots.

Making signs for the garden plots.

Plant shopping with the garden crew.

Plant shopping with the garden crew.

The basil was out of control! 100% hand made in Davis, from the painted rock to the compost.

The basil was out of control! 100% hand made in Davis, from the painted rock to the compost.

Garden trough shopping with Julia Warden, Emily Horowitz, and Thea French.

Garden trough shopping with Julia Warden, Emily Horowitz, and Thea French.

From left to right. Bethany Celio, Sahoko Yui, Julia Warden

From left to right. Bethany Celio, Sahoko Yui, Julia Warden

For this project we asked the following questions:

  • What are the most common items that go uneaten by students in design studios?

  • How much food do design students waste?

  • How do we engage Landscape Architecture and Sustainable Environmental Design students in food waste?

  • How do we improve food waste management in university classrooms?

 

This is a pilot project experimenting with the use of Bokashi Composting. Professors and students from Landscape Architecture (LDA) and Sustainable Environmental Design (SED) worked together to divert over 300lbs of food waste from the landfill by collecting food waste from Hunt Hall (home of Landscape Architecture and Sustainable Environmental Design majors). In spring 2016, a group of students used the compost to create an edible garden in the Hunt Hall courtyard.

I assigned Tom Kelley’s Creative Confidence book as mandatory reading and gave a lecture on design thinking to prepare for the project. The process included gathering food waste from the studios for two quarters, creating and administering surveys, creating interview guides and conducting interviews and focus groups. When gathering data we checked all bins (recycle, landfill, compost) for improper sorting. We also weighed the total weight and each item, and further sorted between edible and inedible food waste items.

Once we gathered data and brainstormed ideas we came up with an idea to create an edible garden to be created, maintained, and used by the students. We also redesigned the waste system so there are four bins in each classroom, one for compostable waste, paper recycling, plastics recycling, and landfill.

We obtained funding through the Vertically Integrated Program and funded students over the school year and summer to maintain the garden. The Bokashi Group members include: John Rabago, Devin Murphy, Kate Nelson, Julia Warden, Chloe Myaskovosky, Alex Croft, Bethany Celio, Mariana Ortiz, Katherine Schurba, Kennedy Wells, Thea French, Brooke Garcher, Emily Horowitz. This work was sponsored by UC Davis Dining Services and the UC Davis Vertical Integration Program. Click here or scroll down to see the video made by the Bokashi group.

We made a video to advertise the problem of food waste on campus and help educate people on using the compost bins.

Key Findings:

  • Students in the Landscape Architecture and Sustainable Environmental Design studio produced 300lbs of food waste in the 2015-2016 school year.

  • The most commonly wasted food item are carbohydrates and liquids.

  • Different sized waste bins influence waste sorting behaviors: people are less likely to sort their waste when the food waste and landfill bin waste are different sizes.

  • Direct student involvement and representatives from cohorts has a greater impact in reducing food waste than signage or workshops from faculty and grad students.

  • Student representatives in classrooms can influence pro-environmental waste sorting behavior.