Bokashi could revolutionize weed growing, and maybe agriculture in general


When imagining where an agricultural vanguard might occur, one could be forgiven for overlooking our sprawling urban playgrounds of concrete and metal in favor of the more historically fertile ground found in the rural parts of our country. But at least one company, Innovative Organics, situated only a few miles west of downtown Denver in a 12,000-square-foot rental space, is proving that you don’t need to dig your toes into the earth in order to rejuvenate it. You do, however, still need to get your hands dirty.

Victor Restrepo believes we’ll see a revolution in agriculture. photo: Daniel Jitchaku

“I put my hands into the castings and played with the worms,” says Innovative managing partner, Victor Restrepo, recalling the difference between working with his hands now and when he used to shake hands with the suits of finance and insurance. “And there was a sort of relief that would take over.”

This relief was enough to sway Restrepo into taking on a more heavily involved role in what was initially a casual venture into a very nascent (at the time) cannabis industry. What Innovative largely aimed to bring to that market was a variety of soil products, guaranteed to be in high demand by a post-legalization growing boom.

However, they quickly ran into some of the logistical issues that lie in the large-scale production of compost (which was to be a key ingredient across their product line) in tight, urban quarters.
“You had to wear a mask just for the flies,” Restrepo recalls. “If you blew your nose: flies.”

Plus, traditional composting is a months-long process of decomposing organic matter that’s unswayed by the pace of the market. Between the mess and the long wait, you’ve got a young company needing to innovate around some major challenges. And that innovation, central both in name and mission to the company, is best illustrated in their one word response to these obvious issues: bokashi.

Often attributed as a product of Japanese agricultural practices, bokashi is sometimes referred to as a specific mode of composting, but is more precisely and scientifically related to fermentation. It comes down to the difference between decomposition and preservation. Where compost depends on an aerobic process (i.e. involving oxygen) for microbes to break down matter, bokashi occurs in an airtight non-aerobic environment (i.e. barrels) that leads to the production of various acids that are then mediated by a cocktail of added microorganisms. In layman’s terms: they both benefit soil, but the processes and benefits are not the same.

With bokashi, according to Restrepo, “All of the nutritional value of the food is still there; nothing has been oxidized, so nothing is lost to the environment. If we had compost and we had it outside, it would be evaporating, the oxygen would be burning, it would be creating methane, carbon dioxide, water vapor, ammonia — all the things that need to be in the ground would be lost to the air and creating a pollutant.”

Daniel Jitchaku Bokashi takes place in a non-aerobic environment.

But perhaps the greatest benefit of bokashi?

“Compost takes 100 days and you lose about two-thirds of what you started with. Here, in 10 days, we still have 100 percent with all of the nutritional value concentrated,” he says. Still, despite these seemingly no-brainer benefits and generations of practice in the eastern hemisphere, bokashi remains a rather unknown quantity stateside. Studies are scarce and word of mouth weak, but speak to those who have experienced it and you might be hard-pressed to find a bad word.

Nicolas de la Vega, a Springs resident who commutes to Denver every day to work in multiple capacities for Innovative, relays a recent example: “In 2016 we worked with the Rosedale community garden in Denver to show them that all of the weeds and leftover plant waste was useful. This year they would not give us any of their plant waste or weeds and they now schedule regular bokashi work days.”

The specific brand of natural, speedy sustainability that bokashi can offer has obvious application to food production, and doubly so when considering the remediative effects of introducing it to the soil. But one of its more surprising benefits is the way it could dramatically reduce cannabis waste by putting that waste back into the bokashi mixture.

“One of the strongest inputs we use is weed,” says Restrepo.

The benefit is multiple: Waste is reduced while soil is strengthened; stronger soil then enriches a higher-quality product. This symbiotic relationship between the bokashi, soil and crop can also be transposed onto a similar dynamic between Innovative Organics, cannabis growers and food producers.

Bokashi is not a cannabis-specific movement. In fact, it’s being used with increasing frequency in food production with potentially huge consequences. But Restrepo and his team only came to the method as a means of taking part in the new, thriving weed industry and their client base is still largely made up of cannabis cultivators. Restrepo hasn’t forgotten it or taken it for granted, offering free consultations to his clients in cannabis while saying, “The little opening that allowed these growers to exist, also allowed this little business to exist.”

Still, he sees a broader picture in which both the company he helps manage and the industry that supports the company are only two cogs in something much grander.

“I believe we’re going to see a revolution in agriculture in this country,” he says, “and I want to be a part of it.”


In the battle against cancer, microbes could be the answer


Can your microbiome fight cancer? WIRED Health speaker and Evelo Biosciences CEO Simba Gill is trialing ways to harness microbes against an array of cancers

In 2015, Thomas Gajewski was researching new treatments for cancer when he noticed something unusual in his lab mice. Gajewski is a professor of medicine and pathology at the University of Chicago, and his lab gets its mice from two different suppliers, Jackson Laboratory (JAX) and Taconic Biosciences (TAC). When the scientists implanted small tumours under the skin of the JAX mice, the animals’ immune systems fought the cancer rigorously. The TAC mice, in contrast, would show only a weak immune response. Mix the two sets together in a cage for a few weeks, and the difference was abolished. The TAC mice were able to fight the cancer with the same vigour as the JAX animals.

Gajewski realised that the difference could be explained by discrepancies between the animals’ microbiomes, the teeming mass of bacteria and other microbes that live in the gut of all living creatures. Something in the gut of the JAX mice dramatically improved its ability to deal with cancer, and the effect was transferred to the TAC mice after the two sets swapped bacteria (endearingly, mice eat each other’s poop). The close connection between the gut microbiome and the immune system has only recently been made. Gajewski’s finding pointed to a way to exploit the connection – to improve the body’s resilience by manipulating the gut.

This is the sort of finding that greatly interests Simba Gill, the chief executive of Evelo, a biotech company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Evelo was established three years ago in order to develop a suite of new medicines based on the understanding that the gut-body network plays a critical role in our biology and immunology. The company has so far raised $100 million; investors include Flagship Pioneering, Google Ventures and Mayo Clinic.

Evelo’s remit goes beyond cancer. The company is currently investigating treatments for multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease and diabetes, to name a few. This year, Evelo will begin clinical trials of some of its medicines, called monoclonal microbials – “monoclonal” because each medicine harnesses a single microbe strain. It was recently issued a patent for a cancer treatment based on Gajewski’s work. “The core of what we’re doing now is in recognition of the fact that the gut is networked to the rest of the body and drives many of the central aspects of how we fight disease,” Gill says. 

Gill has worked in biotechnology for three decades. After his PhD at King’s College, London, he worked for Celltech in the early days of antibody engineering. Later, he worked at a company that uses stem cells to treat diseases, and spent a decade collaborating with biotech entrepreneur Alejandro Zaffaroni. “I’ve focused my whole career on big, bold platform biotech ideas,” Gill says. “What I mean by platform is a new modality of medicine which has very broad applicability, that can allow for many products to treat diseases in ways which have not otherwise been possible.” In 2015, he joined Flagship Pioneering, a builder and funder of platform biotech start-ups.

For centuries, medical science ignored the trillions of microorganisms that share our bodies – it was the dangerous invaders that needed attention. In the past decade, we have come to appreciate better the role that these microbes play in an array of bodily functions, from digestion and immunity to organ health and even things like mood, sleep and stress. The gut contains 99% of the body’s microbial mass, representing thousands of species. “Humans evolved together with microbes,” says Gill. “What we hypothesised was, because of that reason, it was very likely that there were specific, individual microbial strains which have evolved to act through the gut with the immune system to modulate our systemic biology.” If Evelo could only find these individual strains, they might use them to develop a new class of medicine.

Monoclonal microbials work by commandeering one of the body’s routine immunological processes. The idea is to load a capsule with a single strain – perhaps tens of billions of microorganisms. After the capsule is swallowed, it makes its way to a part of the small intestine that is lined with gut-associated lymphoid tissue. Through the tissue interface, dendritic cells sample the gut and alert the lymphatic system to changes. Depending on which microbe is detected, a specific immune response is hatched. In the case of cancer, Gajewski’s team found that when Bifidobacterium (Bifs) was introduced to the digestive track of a mouse, it boosted the ability of animal’s immune system to attack tumour cells.

Gill admits that a lot of work still needs to be done. “It’s very difficult to find the strains which have the [desired] type of activity,” he says. And while models (mouse and computer) have been encouraging, trials in humans need to be carried out. It is in people that most promising new medicine falls down.

But if trials are successful, Gill believes that microbes could be harnessed against an array of cancers including colon, lung, melanoma, renal, bladder and head and neck cancer, either alone or in combination with existing immunotherapies. In the lab, when specific strains of Bifs were combined with a type of immunotherapy drug called a checkpoint inhibitor, the tumour growth in mice was nearly abolished.

More broadly, Gill sees a gap in the market for effective early-stage treatments for disease. “Modern medicine is still very limited,” he says, pointing out that many conditions are not treated until the late stages because the treatment might be expensive, have side effects or require professional administration. Monoclonal microbials, in contrast, could be swallowed at home. He thinks that they could be used as a preventative medicine, one that ensures that the gut-body network stays in healthy, homeostatic balance. Such a thing is not a new concept, he points out. It was just that, for a long time, he found it hard to imagine how it could be done.

Simba Gill, the chief executive of Evelo Biosciences, will be speaking at WIRED Health 2018 on March 13 at the Francis Crick Institute, London. See all the WIRED Health speakers here.


This bacteria literally poops gold


According to a recently published study from researchers in Australia and Germany, a rare bacteria can turn trace amounts of toxic metals into gold nuggets, effectively clumping together and pooping out tiny gold nuggets a few nanometers in size as a byproduct. You can see a picture of one here (or beneath).


What  C. metallidurans does is take trace elements of gold found in soil and put them together. It basically does this as a survival mechanism as it exists in soil with high heavy toxic metal (such as gold and copper) content. When both copper and gold elements enter the bacteria, the little guy activates an enzyme called CopA which turns the  elements back into their slightly larger and harder to digest forms. So, the “pooping” — if you will — is more-so reassembling the trace amounts into tiny nuggets, but quite frankly it ain’t often that a scientific study births a headline as wonderful as “This bacteria poops gold.”

Professor Dietrich H. Nies, a microbiologist at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg and Professor Frank Reith from the University of Adelaide have been working on this since 2009, but only recently were able to publish their findings.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the study is that this research plays an important part in cracking the bio-geochemical gold production cycle. Effectively, it’s entirely possible that gold could be produced or farmed from ores without the use of mercury. Behold this nugget (you’re welcome!) from the Halle-Wittenberg press release:

Here, primary gold metal is transformed by other bacteria into mobile, toxic gold compounds, which is transformed back into secondary metallic gold in the second half of the cycle.  Once the entire cycle is understood, gold can also be produced from ores containing only a small percentage of gold without requiring toxic mercury bonds as was previously the case.

Just a couple of years ago, a newly discovered plastic-eating bacteria brought hope to those looking to solve the plastic waste problem in our oceans. So between gold poop and the ability to destroy plastic, perhaps we should welcome more bacteria into our lives.


#115 How to make and use simple carbonized and rectified ash


In the previous issue I introduced “the development of materials to replace chemical fertilizers and pesticides”, which is the first goal of the Universal Village International Conference, and how this can be achieved by multipurpose utilization of salt, mainly sea salt. At the same time, I explained that it is important to return charcoal to the soil in order to further advance this technology.

It is clear from long ago that the soil improving effect (physically, chemically, biologically) of charcoal is outstanding. It is only Miyakojima Island in Okinawa Prefecture that is systematically doing this, “using sugarcane bagasse as charcoal, returning it to the soil, and using it in combination with microorganisms to further enhance the effects.”

In terms of radiation contamination countermeasures in Fukushima, there is certain inevitabilityto combining EM with salt and charcoal, but I tried various demonstrations to establish the method of “dramatically increasing the efficiency of coal by carbonizing all the organic matter and making it functional with EM” in conjunction with the goals of the Universal Village International Conference

To summarize, “To rectify the equipment that makes charcoal by using EM technology, letting the activated EM solution cultured in sea water be absorbed into the finished charcoal or ash, then digging holes of 10 to 30 cm in diameter, 1 m in depth at 5-10 m intervals (50 to 100 m intervals depending on the induction method), embed charcoal in the shape of a rod in the hole, apply 0.5 to 1 kg of salt from the crushed top.” Of course, merely blending charcoal or ash made by the above method into the soil can achieve a marginal breakthrough effect, but it is necessary to further enhance the effect and make it longer lasting. This is the idea that “charcoal is made to function like a carbon rod of dry batteries to rectify all layers to a depth of 1 m.” When such a method is thoroughly carried out, the quantum function of the entire soil will increase, and the conversion efficiency of the element is promoted.

From such a background, we have been promoting the development of equipment that can make all kinds of organic matter into charcoal, but since there are existing examples, we decided to work to add EM rectification technology to those methods so it can be more widely used.

The “Smokeless Carbonizer” by Moki Manufacturing Co., Ltd. introduced this time is an excellent device that can be usedby individualsorgroups, has proven results, and is a popular type that has received official government endorsement. For administrationsthat areconsidering complete recycling of waste, we cannot deal with this level, but a systemized carbonizer machine thatis cutting edge has already been completed, and I will introduce it next time.

This “Smokeless Carbonizer” is essentially a method set using EM technology and activated EM solution cultured with seawater, and EM gravitron rectification stickers are indispensable to it. Regarding this method, Sunshine Farm Inc., the agricultural production corporation, deals with it, and when confirming correct usage will provide EM gravitron rectification stickers free of charge. For inquiries, please contact Sunshine Farm, Inc. (Mr. Oshiro Tel: 090-3796-4301)

* < About the charcoal to be buried>
⇒Apply about 10 liters of charcoal + 1 kg of salt + 3 liters of activated EM solution (seawater culture or water) to each hole, cover with about 20 cm of soil.
⇒ Put all the charcoal, salt and EM, cover it with soil.
⇒In a field of about 300 tsubo (approximately 990㎡) , dig wells at the four corners of the fields and bury at intervals of 15 to 20m between holes. (Additional notes, June 23, 2017)

Click the image to read the instruction.

Of bekijk de PDF hieronder:


#114 Achievements of 2016


As we celebrate the new year and look back on the achievements of last year, the greatest achievement was that EM was lauded highly as a future technology at the 3rd Universal Village International Conference co-hosted by MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Nagoya University, ITSS (Highway Transportation Systems Association), and the Beijing Aerospace Exploration Agency. (For details, please read #112 of this series).

Secondly, measures to deal with radiation pollution at Fukushima have steadily achieved results (For details, please visit DND website #114), meeting the expectations laid out in the speech of Executive Committee Chairperson of the Universal Village International Conference. In addition, a giant dome-like barrier (power spot) with a height of 55km and a radius of 345km is now stable around the main island of Okinawa due to return current from the EM Wellness Resort Hotel Costa Vista & Spa and the EM・X Gold manufacturing factory. (For details, please see #113in this series.)

This barrier technology has been confirmed for over ten years through various measures against moles and wildlife in home gardens, and it is clear that this results from rectifying various negative energies and magnetic fields, including electromagnetic waves. (For details, please read #100 in this series #100.)

Initially, I began by adding activated EM solution and about 10g of EM Super Cera-C Powder into a 500 cc PET bottle, sealing it, placing these at 3 to 5 meter intervals, and connectingthese with a string to surround the field. For trees such as fruit trees, I started by tying the bottles directly to the trees. After that, we further evolved our methods by adding EM・X GOLD to PET bottles, attaching batteries, quantum mechanically applying latent voltage present in utility poles, etc. At the same time, activated EM solution using sea water and EM Bokashimudballs with charcoal and smoked charcoal are embedded in the soil, thus making it possible to rectify the energy of the soil, so that the whole cultivation environment is transformed into a power spot. (For more, please see #108 in this series.)

I received many encouraging reports that fulltime farmers who thoroughly implementedthis technology have obtained the kind of ideal results they have dreamed of for many years.

Goals for 2017

The goals of the Universal Village International Conference are stated in the 112th issue of this series. The first is to develop materials that replace pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Dr. Masaki (Executive Chairman of the conference) said that this problem can be solved by Dr. Higa’s EM. This means something beyond Nature Farming or organic agriculture,and addresses the question of whether it really is possible to develop materials that can replace chemical fertilizers and pesticides. The answer is that it would be extremely easy to do so if we take advantage of the atomic diversion power of EM, but in order to do that, it is necessary to raise the rectification level of the cultivation space, including the soil environment. Initially, all organic matter including raw garbage, human excrement and livestock manure are treated with seawater or activated EM solution containing 2 to 3 % salt, in order to make organic fertilizer with a high mineral content. With this method, you can use it as soon as the odor disappears, so you do not need to compost it or let it fully decompose.All hygiene problems are solved, however we need to further enhance its effects as a fertilizer resource.

Spot fertilizing with salt (spaced over 10cm from the roots)

1. Using EM Technology to Turn Salt into a Multifunctional Agricultural Material

Until now, in this series I have introduced that using activated EM solution made with seawater in combination withcharcoalremarkably promotes the reduction (disappearance) of radioactive contamination, but has also become clear in various applications of EM over thirty years that salt will change to fertilizer.

Conventional common sense would view this as impossible, but this series of technologies has already reached the stage of practical use, and large-scale practical application is already underway to deal with salt damage in many countries, including extreme desert regions and areas affected by tides. (Please refer to #108 of this series.)

Currently, the method that is popular in Japan is basically to use sea water,or salt added to reach the same salinity level, to make high quality activated EM solution, apply it to the soil in a 1:100 to 500 dilution and apply it to the irrigation system. It can also be applied as a foliar spray 2 to 3 times a week at a 1:50-100 dilution, which will allow perfect pest control and promote photosynthesis.

In this case, it is more effective to apply, as one would mulch, 100 to 500kg of organic matter per 10a, including available crop residue, on the soil surface. Organic matter will be a substrate for EM (food for the EM) so if you add tons of material you will obtain further limit breakthroughs.

As the population of EM-centered beneficial bacteria in the soil increases, in 2 to 3 weeks the applied salt changes into fertilizer needed by the crops.As a guideline, apply 35 to 100kg of salt per 10a (about 35 to 100g per 1
However, when aiming for limit breakthroughs of high yield and high quality by increasing the EM force and rectifying power of the soil, it is alright to consider it necessary to use the amount equivalent to the chemical fertilizer currently in use (30 to 10kg). m²). In other words, converted to sea water this will be 1 to slightly more than 3 tons per 10a. This figure is the standard used for the year so far.

The next thing to noteis the use of salt as a herbicide. The easiest way is to sprinkle 3 to 5 tons of seawater or equivalent salt per 10a two to three weeks before planting to completely dry up the weeds. After that, it is ideal if there is sufficient rainfall (10mm or more), but if there isn’t enough rainfall, irrigate 3 to 5 liters per square meter and then plant. This method is especially efficient after harvesting.

When salt is used directly as a herbicide, salt water of about 20 to 25% high concentration is made and sprayed so that plants are thoroughly wet. If it does not wither after one application, it should be re-sprayed as early as possible.

Activated EM solution by seawater cultivation used in this wayshould be applied at roughly 100 to 200kg per 10a, but it may be 50L if it increases the rectifying power of the soil, and can be about 5 L once EM is established in the soil. It can be further reduced if you make a rectification spot using charcoal etc. at a depth of 30 to 50cm in the soil.

If you continue to use this method, the soil becomes deeply soft and porous after several plantings and rapidly becomes fertile. Therefore, cultivation without tillage becomes easy as well. Salt treatment after harvesting in particular, along with having herbicidal effects, not only deals with pests, but also fundamentally solves the problem of damage by continuous cultivation.

Even if it accumulates, seawater salt will dissolve quickly and become diluted, so you can easily solve damage due to salt accumulation. Therefore if youapply too much salt and crops wilt, it is possible to treat this adequately by simply irrigating about twice as much as usual.

The problem is the sulfate and carbonate contained in chemical fertilizers, and considerable fresh water is necessary to remove this salt. Globally, deserts, which are equal in area to the current amount of agricultural land, currently cannot be cultivated even if there is water. The reason for this is because it contains about one –fifth to one-hundredth the salinity of seawater.

If you add 1:10,000 EM to this water, you can solve almost all problems of salt damage including metal rusting, etc. In other words, it eliminates the need for salt removal. In Egypt, this method has been extensively promoted by the government, and it has been put to practical use in thousands of hectares in the United States in areas such as Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, etc., for over twenty years with no problems. In the near future, large-scale application is planned in China, too. (See DND #105.)

What I have mentioned so far is normally seen as impossible. It can only be explained if salt that is the cause of the damage is converted to elementsneeded by cropsthrough EM-centered microorganisms. (See DND # 104 and 105.)

A huge amount of electricity is necessary to synthesize chemical fertilizers, but by utilizing EM, and simply using seawater and salt, this problem can be solved, and pesticides are almost unnecessary. If you think about it, it is like the Earth is floating in a sea of fertilizer, and if you use this technology the destruction of the forest is absolutely unnecessary, and an essential solution to human food problems becomes possible.

Limit breakthrough bananas using salt fertilizer (large type)

Limit breakthrough bananas using salt fertilizer (small type)

Lettuce and string beans at the Sunshine Farm raised using EM mudballsburied in the soil.( Everything grows evenly.)

2. Charcoal is Indispensable for Enhancing Soil Energy Rectification

Utilizing the atomic transformation and photosynthetic capacity of microorganisms,ultimately the elements necessary for crops will be naturally created and the organic matter in the soil will naturally increase, so that even if only the residue is returned to the soil it will become fertile, and you will obtain a steady harvest of high quality, high yield agricultural crops.

For that purpose, it is necessary to have a mechanism to rectify the energy of the entropy state present in spaces and the soil, transform it to a state ofsyntropy, and supply more electrons to crops.

As already evident, spaces can further three-dimensionalizedthrough the barrier (power spot) using EM technology. In addition to that, it is necessary to rectify the huge amount of energy latent in the soil and to make a soil structure that imparting more electrons to all living things present there.

Even with this method, radioactive contamination is remarkably reduced, the soil is cleaned up, it is possible to obtain a remarkable increase in yield, but if we consider the amount of energy of the whole space,this is still within the margin of error.

For these reasons, the ultimate challenge is to establish a way to systematically return the charcoal and incinerated ash rectified by EM back to the soil. Fortunately, it is possible with some ingenuity to make all kinds of organic matter, including plastics, into charcoal. By utilizing this method, it is possible not only to solve all garbage problems, butdeal decisively with agricultural production and environmental conservation.

Both the “Blue Sky Palace,” my own experimental farm, and the EM Research Organization’s “Sunshine Farm” are beginning to switch to this method in full, and this year I would like to develop more aggressive activities in order to expand this system nationwide.

(January 16, 2017)