I was having an after-lunch banana at the Londolozi staff canteen in January this year when Chris Goodman shouted over: “Ryan, come and throw your peel into my Bokashi bin.” Now I have to admit that I had to think carefully about that command, but Chris is quite a ‘solid oke’ so I went over to have a look at what he was doing.
As well as being Londolozi’s land manager, Chris is the guy who started the guerilla gardening revolution at Londolozi. He has also installed a number of solar geysers (powering hot water for 80 of Londolozi’s staff members) and runs the two beehives that are kept at the back of the staff village. In fact, it’s safe to say that Chris is one of the individuals at the forefront of Londolozi’s sustainability vision.
As I arrived at where Chris was standing, he had just finished scraping his left-over salad into a medium-sized black bin, and gestured for me to chuck in my banana peel.
“Your banana peel is going to feed my new garden” Chris declared, as he sprinkled a handful of what looked like All-Bran on top of the food waste. “But first it must ferment for two weeks in this Japanese-invented Bokashi bin.”
Two weeks later I met up with Chris again and asked after the well-being of my banana peel. During the time that the waste had been fermenting, Chris had been tapping off the Bokashi liquid, diluting it, and then using it as a plant food, so we had already got some good use out of the banana, but there was more to come.
“The Bokashi lid is ready to come off” said Chris. “The food has been digested, and is ready for stage two.”
The fermented organic matter (including my banana peel) was tipped straight into a hole in Chris’s vegetable garden, where it was covered with about 15cm of soil and left for a further two weeks. The mixture breaks down into a rich fertilizer, which can be dug up within 7 to 14 days, depending on the climate.
A group of us at Londolozi have started sampling Chris’s vegetables and recently when Executive Chef, Anna Ridgewell, ran out of vine-tomatoes, a handful of plum specimens from Chris’s zen-powered garden were called upon for service.
So there you have it. From the staff canteen, to Chris’s vegetable garden, to Londolozi’s signature grilled Pemba Bay Kabeljou garnished with vine tomatoes roasted with crushed garlic and a touch of chili.
The amazing journey of a Londolozi banana peel.