June 22, 2024

Podcast Episode V: Dr. agr. Johannes Eisenbach, Panhellenic Biocyclic Vegan Network

“The fact is that it is not only possible to grow without animal inputs, it’s even better” – Dr. agr. Johannes Eisenbach

Photo: Britta Becker

Listen to the podcast below & on the following platforms: Anchor, Pocket Casts & Spotify. View video version of the talk on Facebook here and on Youtube below.

In this Episode, we speak with Dr. agr. Johannes Eisenbach of Panhellenic Biocyclic Vegan Network which has formulated the Biocyclic Vegan Standard, principles of a sustainable, closed-loop oriented & vegan form of organic farming- a truly revolutionary approach of agriculture using purely plant-based, organic humus soil.

As their website explains, Biocyclic Vegan Agriculture is good for:

  • Climate
  • Water
  • Soil
  • Biodiversity
  • Health
  • Animals
  • Global Food Security
  • Smallholder Farms

We discuss these points, as well as the history of Biocyclic Vegan, challenges ahead in the next decade to increase global awareness of the efficiency & viability of humus soil for improved agricultural practices, consumer awareness, the applicability of these practices to a wide range of growing- from urban rooftops, small urban & community gardens to commercial farming.

“How you can help to reduce climate change by using Biocyclic humus soil – one of the most promising innovations in modern organic agriculture – for giant vegetable growers, CSA’s and also city gardeners. Learn from Biocyclic Vegan farming and watch this great video with Dr. agr. Johannes Eisenbach and learn from the solutions of the Biocyclic Vegan Farming system and these principles in a biodiversity system.” Video Interview commentary on Biovegan FB page

Podcast Interview Dr. ag. Johannes Eisenbach, Panhellenic Biocyclic Vegan Network

Pacific Roots Magazine: I want to start by reading some press headlines where I learned about your organization. In The Guardian – “Rise of the vegan vegetable, the farmers who shun animal manure.” Vegconomist has some great pieces on you -“Biocyclic Vegan Agriculture- A Background”, “Organic Farming the Vegan Way.” These are all articles referencing you. The reason I wanted to talk with you is that Biocyclic Vegan Standard is the only such certification that I am aware of on the planet.What you are doing is so cutting edge and important.

Also part of the commitment at Pacific Roots Magazine is about raising awareness about the reality of vegan agriculture. It exists! So what you are doing is something that many of us, at some point in time, did not even know was possible. So I would love to hear more about what you are doing. You are in Cyprus right now, correct?

Dr. Eisenbach: I am in Cyprus. This is the head office of the international administrative unit of Biocyclic Vegan Agriculture. BMS is considered to be the administrative center of all activities which have to do with the development and promotion of Biocyclic Vegan projects worldwide. This has to do with the fact that the Biocyclic Vegan standard was developed many years ago by one of the pioneers of organic farming in northern Germany. His name is Adolf Hoops. Adolf Hoops never had any animal husbandry on his farm. He started gardening and farming in 1953. So this was a period where even the word ‘vegan’ was not available, at least in the German speaking countries. So he didn’t use this term at all, but he never had animals on his farm. He never used animal manure for growing vegetables and other crops.

I was very happy to get to know him in 1982 when he held a speech in front of farmers and gardeners who were interested in organic farming. So he was introducing organic farming practices to this people in the way he did them, so it was already biocyclic vegan.

So the first part of the term ‘Biocyclic vegan’ had been born when I got to know him, because he was always talking about the creation and the maintenance of natural cycles of organic matter and of nutrients. I told him that this could be expressed by a Greek word- biocyclic. ‘Bios’ is the word for life and ‘kyklos’ is the word for cycle. Even in the 1980’s, we started to use the term ‘Biocyclic’, giving evidence to the fact that we have to recycle everything that is produced on the field. Everything has to come back to the field and we have to create this cycle of nutrients in a clean way and in a manner which is not influenced by any poisonous surroundings.

Personally, I went to Greece together with my family, in 1995. The idea – the ‘biocyclic’ idea- we transferred this idea to Greece. I asked Adolf Hoops if he would be able to come with me to Greece to prove if his findings and his experiences could be repeated under the circumstances of Greek agriculture, of Mediterranean agriculture. He immediately said “Yes, I will do that.” so he came with seedlings, with fertile soil, with seeds which he knew to grow. He said “I don’t want to introduce German seeds in Greece but I know how the plants behave and I can interpret the behavior of these plants much more easily when I see how they grow in Greece.”

Very quickly, we realized that his method can be used, not only in German agriculture but worldwide and it was working even better in Greece than he had experienced in Germany. So this was the starting point where this central idea of creating cycles came to Greece. In the meantime we developed this idea, the first step of a standard, in Greece. This is the reason why now Cyprus is the head office for the Biocyclic Vegan Standard. Just to tell you the history behind it.

Pacific Roots Magazine: I want to mention what happened before our chat- that you were a little delayed because you had a farm in Cyprus calling with interest in certification– the BiocyclicVegan standard. So I would love to hear about that. You are working with farms not just in Greece and Germany but worldwide. How has the reception grown and how has the interest in farms been developing?

Dr. Eisenbach: I can say that the awareness of making a step towards a real sustainable and new form of organic agriculture is growing day by day. We are receiving daily requests from farmers and from companies which are producing or processing products from those farmers. They want to be certified with the Biocyclic Vegan Standard. This is a very encouraging development.

What we need on the other side is a growing awareness on the side of the consumers and the traders. They have to realize that just to consume a vegan product doesn’t mean that this product has been cultivated according to vegan criteria. There was another article, by naturalproductsglobal.com – Will 2020 be the breakthrough year for ‘veganic’ agriculture? This breakthrough can be done very easily if there is an awareness among the consumers. So this is the main point.

I can say that many, many producers came to the conclusion that they have to switch to Biocyclic Vegan by themselves, even years ago, because they had some experiences either with animal manure or with other agricultural inputs produced from animal resides such as bone meal, blood meal or horn. For example there was one farmer in Germany who found out that his organic fertilizer was smelling like tires from cars. So he was wondering how this happened. He realized that this is produced in India and they were using fuel from tires to burn the animal body parts after slaughtering. So he said, “Ok, this is unacceptable for me as an organic farmer to get this byproduct on my fields which is contaminated and also it’s coming from animals which were suffering.” So he stopped that and just looked for plant-based inputs. Then he found the standard and said “Ok, this is what I’ve wanted to do all these years and I am doing already so I want to get certified.” So it’s really nice to see that there are people who are thinking in depth about what is going on and they come to the same conclusions.

Pacific Roots Magazine: Yes, they come to the same conclusions and then find that there is now a global standard which exists.

Dr. Eisenbach: Yes, they have the possibility to document for their audience, for the customer that “I am doing something different from the rest. I differentiate my production scheme from other origins.” This is necessary. It is mind changing to realize that we don’t need animals in agriculture in order to have fertile soil, in order to have a high quality product. This is the first step. Of course this step means that one has to care for several other steps and items that an organic farmer normally doesn’t think about. So there is a greater effort required in order to produce Biocyclic Vegan products. This has to be recognized by the consumers. This is only possible by creating and having a label which is visible on the product and behind this label there is a certification system. So it is essential that these producers have to undergo a certification process in order to document against others that they have a special quality.

Pacific Roots Magazine: I think this is so important that you are talking about both the producers deciding on their own that there are certain things that are unacceptable in the process and also how important it is for consumers to be aware. Especially in the vegan movement, many of us don’t consider “How were the vegetables grown?”. Something so simple as that.

Dr. Eisenbach: Yes! There has to be that click.

Pacific Roots Magazine: That’s why when I set up Pacific Roots Magazine I said that I’m going to be dedicated to being part of increasing awareness of the reality of vegan farming- that it is possible to grow healthy, vibrant produce without animal inputs. That is very important. Just even seeing pictures of vegan grown produce is important. Some people have never held a fruit or vegetable that was veganically grown.

Dr. Eisenbach: The fact is that it’s not only possible to grow without animal inputs but it’s even better. You just have to think on a global base. You use animal byproducts, this means that this is just a byproduct. The rest of the energy, the rest of the water, the area which is used to grow the fodder for the animals- it’s a huge use of resources that you need in order to get the byproduct that you think you need for the field.

All these inputs an animal needs can be put directly in the soil or directly as raw material for composting. So we are closing this cycle of nutrients much more efficiently than by using animals as part of the agricultural production system. And this is exactly the opposite of what people normally think. They think it’s always going from the plant to the animal and from the animal to the field but it’s just a bypass which is not necessary. Even nature tells us that it’s not necessary. There is no plant growing system which is really dependent on the existence of animals. We are not talking about microbes and the animals in the Earth and soil but we are talking about ruminants – bigger animals.

On the other hand, all animals depend on plants. So this shows us which is the first. And the most efficient way to is grow plants with the power of plants

Pacific Roots Magazine: And all of that relates to what you have on your website – the eight points that Biocyclic Vegan Agriculture is good for. Climate, Water, Soil, Biodiversity, Health, Animals, Global Food Security and Smallholder Farms. I recall writing down a question for you about if you think any of these are a more pressing issue this decade – of course they are all intertwined. But for example, Global Food Security. The idea that growing veganically, and even eating more plant-based as beneficial is becoming more mainstream. The UN put out the message, I think last year, to please eat less meat and dairy. So awareness is really picking up steam. Can you address the Global Food Security aspect?

Dr. Eisenbach: Yes, of course. The only way to secure, on a middle term basis, food security for maybe 9 billion people (no problem, there is enough potential on this planet to feed everyone), is if we would shift on a global base to vegan agriculture and with Biocyclic agriculture it would be even easier to reach the goal.

Because, this may sound strange, but we already have the first indications (and very strong ones) that by producing and by using compost on a large scale for producing agricultural crops and vegetables, we can increase yields per acre, up to double.

This is not too much, what I say. Already research has been done at the Agricultural University in Athens which proved that industrial tomatoes and sweet potatoes, which are demanding cultivations, doubled their yields by being planted in what we call biocyclic humus soil. So this is a special category of compost. It is not comparable to what we normally call compost. Compost is a very good substrate which has to be used as much as possible in agriculture and it’s giving some input of nutrients and some other physical characteristics of soil improvement.

But when you continue to produce compost and you ripen it, even for some years, then you receive a product that is almost unknown- but it exists almost everywhere on Earth, but in very small quantities so it has not been observed up until now. This is a completely carbon stabilized form of organic matter. This carbon stabilization within this product leads to a completely different characteristic of the product, so we can no longer compare compost with humus soil. But humus soil is produced out of compost. So this is the very interesting point and subject of scientific research at the moment: What are the circumstances under which we can influence or increase the speed where this process is going on – from compost to humus soil.

One of the most striking characteristics of humus soil is that it is very rich in nutrients but these nutritional elements are not water-soluble anymore. So this means a tremendous advantage against every kind of fertilization. Because one of the main problems we face in fertilization is that a big a part of the nutrients are washed out by water or are blown into the air and cannot be used by the plants.

In humus soil, we have a nutrients stored in such a way that they cannot be washed out by the water. So now maybe somebody would ask, “Ok, you now have a nutrient rich substrate. Can the plant get the nutrients out of that?” Something that nobody expected is that the plant is able to absorb the nutrients and very, very easily. But it’s a completely different way of absorbing the nutrients in a substrate which is free of water-soluble elements in comparison to what is done in agriculture as we know it up until now, where we use water-soluble fertilizers.

All so-called chemical fertilizers are water-soluble. When you use manure or compost, even then you have a big portion of nutrients which are water-soluble. Normally, the ability of a fertilizer (what is characterized as a good fertilizer) is how quick the plant can absorb the nutrients. Nobody would have expected that in humus soil it is possible to get immediate results. So what happens is that all plants on our Earth have the ability to actively absorb nutrients from their surroundings without the help of water. All plants on our Earth have specialized mechanisms to absorb the water but they cannot select what is in the water, so the plant just absorbs whatever is solved in the water. This is the mechanism by which chemical fertilizer works, because the fertilizer which is used in the soil is water soluble so together with the water the plant can absorb part of them into the tissue.

So in humus soil, the water absorption is a different thing and the absorption of nutrients is a different thing and this leads to a boost in development. When you see plants that are growing in humus soil, you will recognize that it’s a totally different appearance. It’s growing quicker, it’s growing bigger but it does not look like an over-fertilized plant. It’s looking like a natural plant, just one dimension bigger. Somebody wouldn’t even believe that it’s organic.

This is what I say when you ask me about feeding the world. The potential is great. Even by producing huge amounts of humus soil. I can imagine that something like urban farming will contribute a big amount to the problem of food security. When you imagine the big cities, the mega cities in many parts of the world, when you consider the surface of roofs, houses and gardens, there is a big potential.

When you have such a substrate like humus soil, which can be produced everywhere in the world, you can give the substrate directly to those people who want to grow their own vegetables and you can solve problems. But even in normal agriculture, when you use this it is significant.

This is the main task for the future. We are far away from this goal because the only thing we know is that it needs time. We have to investigate the mechanisms which lead to a controlled ripening process, at the end of which we get this product which is called humus soil. This is the challenge for the future, for the next ten years.

Pacific Roots Magazine: So what you are saying, if I understand correctly, is that use of humus soil is a more cost effective and space effective way of growing vegetables?

Dr. Eisenbach: Yes, it is because you really don’t have to worry about fertilizing. Because the plant by itself, gets out the nutrients. You can put a seed, a seedling, a young plant or a tree into this material. According to the stage of development, the plant will absorb exactly those nutrients which it needs for the specific stage. This is not possible to imitate technically. Adding fertilizer, as is done in traditional agriculture, is the exact opposite of our approach. There, all nutrients are solved in the water and the plants are forced to absorb and so the fertilizing process is done technically and can never really be as the plant exactly wants.

We see now that a plant which is able to select, by itself, the nutrients that are available in its surrounding and just taking according to the development stage what it needs- it is growing differently, it’s growing better. It uses a higher part of the genetic potential which is in its DNA.

Maybe, according to a good fertilization plan (this number is not scientific now, just a hypothetical example), you can use 60% of the genetic potential. By using humus soil, you can increase this percentage up to maybe 84 or 90 %. So you come up to something you really have never seen before. It sounds a little bit strange, but it’s how we can revolutionize agricultural production.

Now you maybe understand why the chapters that deal with the production and use of humus soil are of central importance in the Biocyclic Vegan Standard. It is not a precondition because it is really a very rare material at the moment. We have a compost plant in Kalamata in southern Greece where we produce this material for years now and therefore I speak from my own experience when I speak of these things but of course it’s just a small point on the world. We have to create a network of production units which are able to produce humus soil.

Pacific Roots Magazine: You have many farms that have come forward and want to be certified with the Biocyclic Vegan standard and now you have one plant in Greece producing the humus soil. So the important thing will be to see the network of humus producing plants grow worldwide.

Dr. Eisenbach: Yes, you have to use big quantities and it’s not economical to transport this material very far. So there have to be local suppliers of this substrate. There is already in Germany a company which has several compost plants across the country. They have understood what is going on and they have already prepared a portion of their compost production which is just plant-based and now they are on the ripening process to obtain Biocyclic Vegan humus soil. So this will come but it’s difficult because commercial compost plants try to produce compost very quickly. It’s just an economic term that you have a big turnover because it’s expensive to have the area and the machinery working for the production of compost. Therefore, you won’t find any quantities of humus soil in compost plants because the material is just too unripe to obtain these characteristics we are talking about.

So we have to create new plants and incentives for commercial compost plants. Of course it costs more and it takes more time. This could be addressed to politics to create a legal framework to give incentives and to give permits. At the moment, the production of compost is so restricted in some countries. Even in Germany some federal states have different legislation about compost production. The most flexible and modern system of compost production is in Austria where they allow producers and farmers to produce compost on their fields, even on behalf of communities, of municipalities and it can be done on a local farm level, which is revolutionary, comparing it with the legislation in Germany where this is forbidden.

We have to work a lot also on this level to get things running. And of course you can understand that there are some obstacles that will be very difficult to overcome, persuading some authorities to do that.

Pacific Roots Magazine: You just answered the question I had about what needs to happen for growth of a more robust, global network of these humus soil producing plants. As I mentioned earlier, you address the producer side and the consumer side. I think growing awareness on the consumer level about this, especially as you mentioned urban farming having the potential to contribute so much to food security, people really taking this down to a community level and knowing the effectiveness of this, could be, as you mentioned, revolutionary.

Dr. Eisenbach: If you consider that having this humus soil on a plot or wherever you want to grow, either in a greenhouse or open-air field, or on the roof of a building in a city, you don’t have to worry about nutrition. You just have to put the seed into this material, into the substrate and then pour water and to grow it and to harvest. Don’t forget to harvest.

Even with plant health issues there is a positive effect. A plant which is growing in an environment which offers all of what is needs, feels better, has a better immune system and can cope much better with any kind of diseases.

We cannot influence very easily the pests which are caused by insects. They are coming from outside the system. They are not produced by the plant itself. The plant can create mechanisms to protect itself against fungi, very easily. And plants which are grown in Biocyclic Vegan humus soil, more or less we don’t observe any heavy fungi infections. But we are not protected against insects. That is the only thing the grower has to take care about- to protect the plants against damage from insects.

This is also an issue which comes to another very important part of the Biocyclic Vegan standard. This has to do with biodiversity. When we see massive insect infestations, this means there is an imbalance and something is not working anymore. So, unfortunately, normally the factors that create these adverse conditions cannot be influenced by a single farmer. You can help to introduce biodiversity. You can help to get birds nesting in your fields and trees. This is something very essential and we give emphasis to that but this should be done on a local and regional level in order to have real protection against such imbalance.

This is another task for the future. To create an ecological network which allows for all kinds of antagonists to be active because we will never have a surrounding environment in which we don’t have insects and some of these insects are really destroying our cultivation. We have to know that. But these insects or animals also have predators and natural enemies, so we have to create the overall conditions so that there is a balance. This will give us the best protection.

Of course, an organic farmer, and even a Biocyclic Vegan farmer, has to protect himself. Therefore, we have produced the Green List, which is a list of agricultural inputs officially allowed for organic farming but selected by Biocyclic Vegan criteria. They have to be 100% plant-based, they have to be selected not to interfere with the animals – that if you have a problem it is very restricted to help that single problem and not to destroy animals or the environment.

Biocyclic Vegan agriculture also means a high standard of technological knowledge. So whatever has been developed in the last decades is useful to the knowledge we have gained about the interactions between several species. Another thing is that we do not use, at the moment, mixed cultures, the mechanisms which can improve all these conditions of agricultural production. Using mixed culture systems is a tremendous way to overcome a lot of plant protection issues. Even in organic farming we do not use this. And therefore in the Biocyclic Vegan standard, we have another emphasis on mixed cultures. You can say this has to do with biodiversity. As we want to increase biodiversity in the natural surrounding, we have to increase biodiversity also on our fields. And this is done with mixed cultures. Even in a greenhouse, you can cultivate at the same time 5 – 10 different plants, different cultivations. There you create conditions completely different to what we are used to now and you can reduce costs for pesticides, insecticides and so on.

Pacific Roots Magazine: Can you also touch on the climate aspect?

Dr. Eisenbach: Yes, very essential and I think at the moment the climate discussion, at least in Europe and in America, is on a very high awareness level. It’s an immediate effect on that because first of all, one of the very essential factors which causes the climate to change or which increases the climate change impact, are the greenhouse gases. These greenhouse gases are, I don’t recall the exact number, but approximately 30% produced by ruminants. So cows, sheep and goats are causing a substantial percentage of these greenhouse gases which are much more harmful than CO2.

Carbon dioxide is a very small part of the greenhouse gases. We have to be careful when we are talking about CO2 as a bad thing. Scientifically speaking, the reduction of CO2 is not the reduction of CO2 but CO2 equivalence. So the greenhouse gases are calculated in CO2 equivalence. So this is really misleading the opinion of the people by just talking about CO2 because CO2 is necessary for plant growing. It’s a natural gas in our atmosphere and it’s mainly produced by the oceans, by completely natural procedures. So a certain part of the CO2 in the atmosphere is released by man, the biggest part is released by other natural organisms. So we just have to be careful.

Coming back to the topic of humus soil, by creating humus soil, we bind the CO2 which was formerly in the atmosphere, afterwards bound in the organic matter of plants. By producing plant-based compost and by transferring this compost into a carbon stabilized phase in the form of humus soil, we bind this carbon dioxide in the soil and not just for one year or two years which could be done with just compost (also a kind of CO2 storage). Using humus soil, you bind it for decades because it cannot degrade anymore. The process has stopped on a micro, molecular level and the release of CO2 stops. So you have a long lasting deposit of CO2 using this substrate.

So, you can imagine, when we come to a global use of this humus soil, we can really have a positive impact on the planet by both- by reducing animal production, we have an immediate impact on the amount of greenhouse gases and by using humus soil we have the impact of reducing CO2. Both give a solution for the problem. Up until now, agriculture is one of the causes, one of the reasons that we have this impact in climate change. Now we can turn agriculture into part of the solution and not part of the problem.

Pacific Roots Magazine: It’s fascinating to listen to you, I am learning so much. What you are doing is incredibly important and it’s not hard to get excited just listening to you talk about humus soil. As you put it, this is important planet wide. From eople having rooftop gardens and apartment balcony gardens, all the way from the micro individual level to producers. Change has to happen at ever level. And you have the fascinating and promising solution.

Can you share anything more about farms undergoing the certification process?

Dr. Eisenbach: Th certification process just started seven months ago. Just to give you an idea of the potential: 30% of the organic farms in Germany are already without animal husbandry. Some of them use animal manure from neighbors. The potential for them to just say “We don’t need the manure and we can just step into the certification system and not use any animal inputs” is very easy.

On the other hand we realize that everywhere, whether in Austria, France, Holland or Germany, the first producers which have been certified, have already adopted in some way the principles of Biocyclic Vegan farming. So probably, there are a lot of farmers around the world who do the same but we don’t know about them and they don’t know about us. So one of your tasks could be to bring this knowledge together. That there is a standard you can be certified for and here are the producers

who have already thought about this and came to the same conclusions. In some cases, you can imagine that they are more or less plant-based but there are some points in the production where they still depend on animal inputs. So this is easy to change that. If the main production process is plant-based and they need to just abandon one or two things, they can be certified and by getting certified they get the awareness, they get the audience among the consumers that they need. There are some initiatives like “Community Supported Agriculture”, which are very interesting schemes and I know that some of them are already growing without animal inputs. They don’t have animal husbandry. In order to document this in their cities and among their customers, they should have certification and proof.

The thing is that, we have solutions for problems, part of which has not even been recognized as a problem yet. So we really have to do two steps together. For example, a Biocyclic Vegan farm which does not use any kind of fertilizer of animal origin anymore has less problems with some soil borne diseases, because by using animal byproducts we increase the danger of imbalances in microbes and so on.

If you think of the health aspect, the hygiene aspect, when you are growing vegetables and you can know these vegetables have never come into connection with manure. Manure is poisonous for the human organism. You cannot put your hand into manure and then eat something. You need to wash your hands first. When you put your hands into humus soil, you can eat bread afterwards without washing your hands. So it’s a hygiene aspect also. It’s a health aspect when you think about the antibiotics which are used in animal husbandry, it is proven that they occur in manure. They are not destroyed in the manure and the latest findings prove that active antibiotics can be found in plants which have been fertilized with animal manure. So human health is so connected to what is going on in the soil, much more than we realize.

Another aspect that has to do with climate is water quality. Many regions of the world are affected by agricultural production regarding drinking water quality. Nitrates and other fertilizers which have been leached from the soil go to the underground water and from there is used for drinkable water. Many regions, even in Central Europe, have a very severe problem, with groundwater that is drinking quality anymore. The main cause is conventional agriculture. By using humus soil, there is no leaching anyore and you also have a guarantee that you will not pollute the underground water.

Pacific Roots Magazine: Well I wish you could see all the notes I have been taking. I am very interested to learn more, to hopefully interview you again, to learn more about Biocyclic Vegan network, to see that growth over time and to share this as well. I’m glad you exist with the work you are doing!

Dr. Eisenbach: I’m really very happy that you contacted me because you share a big portion of responsibility as a journalist, as an editor of a magazine, to disseminate our experiences, these findings and to help get the message out. You can then understand what is going on and how plants grow on this surface of our planet.

Now I remember what I want to tell you. It’s a number that is very easy to understand. Climate change. CO2. Just imagine 10% of the agriculturally used surface of the world, only 10%, and we want to increase the humus content, so the content of organic matter in the soil in a depth of 25 centimeters. So the task is to increase the content of organic matter at 0.5%. Normally a fertile soil is considered to have 5% of organic matter. Most of the soils in the world have between 0.2% or 0.5% and 1.0% so very low content of organic material. One of the main issues of agricultural production in the future is to increase the percentage of organic matter in the soil. So we just want to increase by 0.5%- what does that mean? That means that by increasing 10% of the agricultual land by 0.5% we can absorb 70% of the CO2 which has been produced by human activity. So you can imagine that by doing this with the rest of the land we really can absorb whatever CO2 is produced by non-natural sources and activities.

What does that mean? This is a very theoretical number. You can very easily imagine a square meter in your garden. You just need five liters of compost. This is nothing. When you pour the five liters on the one meter, you have a half centimeter thick layer or compost. When you plant on one square meter five tomato plants, you just have to dig five holes for the plants and to pour in every hole one liter of compost. It is a very manageable quantity. By doing that, you help to reduce the CO2 from the air into the soil. It’s a nice number because everybody can understand that it’s not impossible to save the planet, you just have to understand what happens and to make the right decisions. Every day decisions are what do I eat and what do I buy. These are decisions that everybody has. This is the power of consumers.

Pacific Roots Magazine: The power of consumers, exactly. And that number you mentioned and the sqaure meter- I think about urban dwellers (I live in the middle of a city). If you were to utilize community garden spaces, rooftops, balconies – you can combine those meters. I would love to share this information everywhere.

Thank you so much for your time Johannes.

Dr. Eisenbach: Thank you also for your time and your interest.

Photo: Britta Becker

All photos provided by Dr. ag. Johannes Eisenbach

Visit Biocyclic Vegan online here


Podcast V: Biocyclic Vegan Agriculture

Editor’s Note

Welcome! Launched in Summer 2019, Pacific Roots Magazine is a platform devoted to issues of veganic agriculture, sustainability, plant based food & more. We welcome you along for the journey as we explore, learn & develop further awareness about this home we call Earth. 

International Biocyclic Vegan Network