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Growing Power!

Last week The Island School orchard received its first dose of steroids from the biodigester. The Island School biodigester uses naturally occurring bacteria to generate renewable energy and sterilize our septic waste. The outcome? Highly nutrient rich, liquid fertilizer that has the potential to increase crop yields substantially. In some cases, certain crops have increased their yields by up to sixty percent with the addition of biodigestion effluent. A resource such as this could work wonders for both CEI and Island School as we are always seeking more local food sources and readily available, healthy snacks. With a bit of sunshine to go with these nutrients, we could eventually put the marina store out of business. Coming into season right now are sour oranges, guava, mango, sugar apples, cherries, coconuts, sapodillas, and passion fruit. Pick your poison. The next questions to ask are how much food can we make and how fast? What does it take to ween ourselves of imported fruits and vegetables? A large part of the answer is our biodigestion system that is already producing for us on a daily basis. [slideshow]

Water Quality Testing and the Biodigestion Process

Water is the most important resource available to CEI and Island School. We drink it, we bathe in it, we cook with it, and it all comes from the rain. Although we can never know what the weather may bring us, we can always be ready to take advantage of what does come our way as weather patterns shift. To that end, we use solar panels, and wind turbines, but most importantly, we catch rain water. Of late, one of the most important issues we've been tackling is how to make our water last and how to maximize it's potential. If we catch water once, how many times can we use it before it's gone? Last week we took a significant step towards increasing the usefulness of our water. This spring CEI and Island School put biodigestion on the map for The Bahamas. We've found a way to treat our waste and generate more renewable energy, in addition to getting added utility from our water. The process of biodigestion  generates energy while simultaneously eliminating odors and pathogens from organic waste streams; we ran some tests last week to find out just how well our newest system was working. Through applying some basic laboratory tests, we found that our biodigester has successfully eliminated all harmful bacteria from our waste water, including E. coli. Knowing that our water is safe for human contact applications, we can now apply the effluent from our biodigestion system to food producing trees and crops in the orchard and around campus. With the luck of some good weather, we can begin making more food more quickly, closing the loop between ample waste management and food production.