What is EM-1?

EM stands for Effective Microorganisms, and EM-1 is a mix of microorganisms which accelerates the natural decomposition of organic matter. When the product is used correctly, it can also eradicate the need to use agricultural chemical fertilizers through improving the balance of microbial flora.

Importantly, EM-1 is a natural product, and includes microorganisms from 3 well known groups: Yeasts, lactic acid bacteria and photosynthetic bacteria. It is non-poisonous, biodegradable, non-volatile, and safe for human, animal and plant health and for the environment in general.

EM-1 was developed by Japanese Scientist Dr. Teruo Higa, whilst he was professor of horticulture at the University of the Ryukyus in Okinawa, Japan.

The EM Philosophy

Dr Higa´s dream was to develop a sustainable society based on co-existence, the free exchange of information, safety, convenience, low cost, and high quality. In this way his dream fits exactly with the goals that the Hummingbird Collective aims to achieve.

Whilst developing EM-1 Dr Higa noticed that the microbes involved, which were not believed to live together normally, were able to survive in the culture. He decided that humans needed to learn from these microbes. All of those who are involved with this technology are expected to follow the principles listed above.

The EM Principles are reflected in how EM-1 itself works: All the microorganisms co-exist, co-prosper, exchange information, are sustainable, are safe, are efficient, are effective, and service each other. Humanity should function in the same way.

EM-1 & The Hummingbird Collective

Americo Andrade, with the backpack sprayer used to dispense EM-1 at El Establo.

Over three and a half years ago, we started using this product in the Establo project near the town of Huyro, in the Lucumayo valley in Peru. Through donations which helped to purchase backpack sprayers and the product itself, the use of chemical fertilizers in Establo has been reduced and the use of organic composts has increased. The product has also been used to treat our septic tank with positive results, including reducing smell and increasing the speed of decomposition.

Although an initial introduction to local farmers was challenging, as they expected instant results and have so far been unwilling to follow organic farming practices, the opportunity is still there for them to do so. Future workshops at Establo are planned to explain the proper usage of the product and not only promote organic farming, but also increase yields.

Other success stories

EM technology has been successfully used around the globe by many different organisations, with particular success coming more temperate countries. Some examples include:

Cleaning up Lake Titicaca: View blog here (Spa)

The EM Mudball movement in Belgium: View video and website here (Dutch) and article here

EM helping prepare Brazil for the Olympics: Video here and article here (Eng)

EM usage in sewerage treatment in Ecuador: Article here (Spa)

You can read more details about EM-1 in Latin America here or follow them on Twitter here

“The accomplice to the crime of corruption is frequently our own indifference.” – Bess Myerson



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