Musket Ridge Goes For Zero Food Waste

I'm a big fan of Bokashi. I have friends who used it for kitchen scraps in their houses and apartments and I've even seen it at one golf course (Blackburn Meadows on Saltspring Island in BC) to generate their compost tea. Basically, Effective Micro-Organisms (EM) are inoculated on wheat bran, saw dust or rice husks as a carrier, and are then added to food wastes to help break it down. Yadda Yadda Yadda, your left with a rich liquid concentrate that can be applied to turfgrass (well, soil). More about EM another time, but to the point of this post... 

Musket Ridge Golf Club is a Public course in Frederick Maryland. Like many courses, they see the marketing, cost and environmental benefits of employing "green" measures. As part of their Sustainability Plan they are implementing a zero food waste initiative.

The Bokashi method of intense composting will be used at the club's restaurant and banquet facility to turn tons of food waste into organic fertilizer for a vegetable and herb garden and possible use on the golf course itself.  Musket Ridge already has large areas designated as environmentally sensitive to protect native plants and wildlife.

From the Press Release:

Musket Ridge became the first golf club on the East Coast to launch a zero waste food initiative for its award-winning golf course, restaurant and Catoctin Hall wedding and banquet facility at a kick-off press event and reception on March 24, 2011. 

The Club is transforming its entire restaurant, wedding and banquet operation to zero food waste through an innovative onsite bokashi-composting program. Bokashi, originated from Asian cultures, uses fermentation to break down all food scraps -including meat, dairy and oils, in less than half the time of conventional composting while avoiding unpleasant odors and deterring pests. The end product is a natural liquid fertilizer that greatly increases the population of beneficial microbes that add valuable nutrients to the compost and helps improve the health of soil and plants. The Club will utilize the bokashi, compost, and compost tea on their new organic vegetable and herb garden that is being developed by their Executive Chef and will be featured as part of their menu options. 

According to Jonny Dubowsky, musician and founder of Rock 'n Renew Foundation, (who is partnering in this initiative with Greener Planet Group, a sustainability consultancy that helps businesses and organizations take a proactive, cost efficient approach to becoming more sustainable), "These guys run an impressive operation at a first class facility. Their management got it right away, so we are partnering with them to use Musket Ridge as a demonstration site for the Mid-Atlantic which will give other interested businesses a place to tour. Musket will help us continue to develop procedures, documentation and statistics going forward."

According to Damon DeVito, managing director and a founder of Affinity Management ( in Charlottesville, Virginia, which manages Musket Ridge, "We have great new owners who have brought incredible economic sustainability to our facility by eliminating every penny of borrowing. We don't even have leases. It is a natural outgrowth that we committed to environmental sustainability."

DeVito continued, "As the premier wedding venue in the area, we produce approximately 4,000 pounds of food waste per year which goes right into the landfill where it decomposes very slowly and contributes to the production of harmful gases. Many of our brides and event planners have been asking how we could help them lessen the environmental impact of their wedding, meeting or golf outing. We considered traditional composting, but it has drawbacks for a commercial kitchen. This is a whole different ballgame that doesn't involve rotting and will handle meat and dairy, and the process is straightforward."

Musket Ridge is also planning an educational program with local public schools that shows students the importance of sustainability, with tours of Musket Ridge's zero waste initiative and also through hands-on school-garden and composting projects. The Club currently recycles all plastic, aluminum, glass and cardboard and has contracted with a biofuel company to utilize its kitchen grease to be reproduced into fuel.