From Costa Rica to West Africa, the practice of bokashi — the use of fermented waste as fertilizer — has taken root, especially as the cost of chemical fertilizer has surged due to the war in Ukraine.

Standing behind the popularization of bokashi is Teruo Higa, professor emeritus of horticulture at the University of the Ryukyus in Okinawa Prefecture. His research, and related Effective Microorganisms product, has spread the approach as an environmentally friendly alternative to chemical fertilizer.

Unlike composting, bokashi ferments organic waste to help break it down into available nutrients and energy for plants. The process of fermentation creates a potent mix of microorganisms that can play a vital role in maintaining the fertility, structure and overall health of soil.