Richtig kompostieren: Gesunde Lebensmittel durch pflanzenverträglichen Kompost! Teil 2/2


This is why it is also so important
that we really pay attention – from whom are we buying our organic food? And, I’d like you to come back later and show you a few possibilities,
of how you can check for yourselves, what actually ends up
on your plate, okay? Not everyone has the opportunity,
of directly coming in contact with their
food producers, and to always get fresh produce
when going to the farmer on Saturdays. But you do have the opportunity –
to do certain tests and examinations – you can take what you bought in the supermarket or in the organic store, and test it. And, the ONLY way of turning produce
into high-quality food – is through this diversely inhabited soil. The humus-forming organisms, which create order in the soil. They feed the plant in the exact way that corresponds to their natural, inner order. And to make all of this easier to understand
and more transparent for you, I have listed a few possibilities here. For one thing, the quality of food
can be determined based on nutrient analyses, am I right? The other option is – bio-active substances, such as vitamins, can be determined. This is, of course, done by a laboratory chemist, or a chemist –
and is very elaborate. But there are very simple
vitamin C strips you can buy, and you just have to use the garlic press
and squeeze substances onto the vitamin C strip. Then you can see,
how much vitamin C is contained in here? Bell peppers can contain 20, or 30 ppm
of vitamin C, or they could even contain 2.000 ppm. All these amounts have been measured –
we hold food courses focussed on food quality. There, the people bring material from the most varied
areas – from the supermarket, the health food store, from their own garden, they bring this material. And you wouldn’t believe, how broad the range is, of organic food. The amount of microbes is hard to measure
for the individual, that is obvious. I need special equipment for this. But it also plays a very serious role in the development of the cell in the plant. The only thing I can do, is –
I can measure its environment, by using the circular chromatogram. Circular chromatograms are, well, they give you a picture of what kind of substances are in the food,
or in the compost, or in the soil. What I do is – I extract a piece of food,
or soil, in a sodium hydroxide solution. And this I apply to the round filter. And, because I’ve applied silver nitrate beforehand, structures now become visible. The silver nitrate also plays a role in the chemical
reaction on the paper, and then structures appear. But, I don’t ONLY see, which substances
were present here, but I also see in what quality they are in the compost,
or in the soil, or in the plant. And this is what you can see here, right next to the nitrate strips. This is a food chromatogram, a circular chroma, or chroma. And anyone can make one of these. We are teaching this in Germany – everywhere. Even to small children. We have already taught this in primary schools,
because it is a very simple process, making them. The only thing you need, is a little time,
that’s all. Of course, the protein quality can also be determined in various ways. And doing so at home might be a little harder. But the sensory quality –
I am sure you have all been trained on how to detect that. If I now look at such a comparison – from four different organically grown
celery roots, then it is easy to see – even without knowing
what I am reading here on these circular chroma – although we CAN clearly determine,
where the vitamins are shown, and where the enzymes are shown, and where the sugar is shown, how the protein compounds
are put together – I can read all these things
in a single chromatogram. But – even without knowing exactly where I can see what, you can – at least I hope you can – see that there is – between this, and this,
and this celery – a huge difference in quality. And if I connect THIS
to the soil, in which they were grown – then I need not know much about how a chroma is read, all I need to do, is open my eyes. If we look at this
chroma on the left here – you can see no structures at all. There is some colouring there,
but no structures. On this chroma here, I see very simple,
omphaloid structures. On this chroma, I can see more
complex structures, and this chroma here offers a large variety. You can’t see it too well
because of the resolution, but this chroma, it shows a soil,
which is very active, which has a lot of life inside,
which can digest very well. And, of course, such a soil
– these are, by the way, all organic producers. A soil like this, a celery root such as this –
that they provide completely different nourishment I think that goes without saying. This is organic mango. They come from three different organic producers, from a very large importer
in the Netherlands – they always send material to us for analysis. Of course, here, I could not get soil samples,
because the mangos were imported from I don’t know where, But you can see for yourself – there are huge differences. And, what fascinates me so much, is,
how these life forces – organize the cells. How they organize the whole fruit,
and how in the circular chromatogram this is reflected 1:1. Now, our last example of organic food – these are two organic kiwis, and I think,
I do not need to ask you, which ones you would prefer to buy in the shop. They both looked exactly the same. I was the one, who did the chromas,
and just looking at them, I could not see a difference. But, of course, it also makes
a difference with regard to the vitamins, and we measured
a few other things as well, yes. And then all these things
become quite clear. But – you can do all these things yourselves. You can take what you grow
on your own balcony, or what you cultivate on your roof terrace, or in your garden, or what you happen
to buy in the supermarket – these circular chromatograms quickly show you, which producer you should
buy more from in the future. This is a comparison between a REALLY traditional, conventionally cultivated
cherry tomato, that’s the English word for it. The next is already an
organically-grown tomato, and the third is also from an organic farm,
but this was treated with compost extract. So, the soil on this organic farm,
it really does not provide the quality, and life, to the extent we’d like to see. And for this reason, they also added compost extracts, and you can really see
to what extent this really creates order in the plant,
and in the soil. Of course, you can also do this
with the soil. Okay? I can chromatograph a soil, that is,
I take a soil sample, extract it with sodium hydroxide solution, then I do the whole process,
with paper preparation, etc. And then I can look at such a chroma – I could write an entire book
about a single chroma. I can see the potentials, the past,
how the soil has developed, what life is at work RIGHT NOW
– all these things I can see in a single chroma. Of course, we then combine that –
with measurement values to get even more and also more holistic information,
but everyone has these possibilities. And then – this chroma here is also
taken from a soil sample. But this soil contains
very many raw materials. Very, very much bad compost
was mixed with this soil. And this bad compost then started
to rot in the soil, which, of course, also
caused problems for the plant. Such as vermin, snails, etc. But the soil – when you looked at it
on a picture, or even in real life – it looked nice. It was dark; it was not very crumbly, but still – just by looking at it, I could not have seen that the soils was THAT BADLY constipated. And it had a very bad constipation. There will come a time, when the degradation
of the organic matter is so bad, that there will only be losses. That is the kind of water pollution,
and the kind of air pollution we find all over the world. The changes we can make in the soil – by composting, by
taking soil-forming measures – in other words, what
we call humus management – which is often shown on the chromatograms
very fast, in measured values. This was taken at an organic farm,
which we managed at the time, and still manage today. But – we did a 10-year project with a scientific institution in Austria, and we drew comparisons between commercial
compost – what you call farmer’s compost, our compost and commercial fertilizer. And after 5 years, an interim balance was drawn,
and – although the harvests – and the trend really did crystallise quite clearly –
that our compost brought the best results. But, according to the analytical soil values,
and after microbial examinations, which they also did there,
it couldn’t be clearly defined. So, we made chromas
from all soil samples, and then it was as clear as here. If you look at the top here – there is only grey. And in the outside area, I don’t
have any structures at all – meaning, there are no reserves
at all in this soil. This is a heavily mineralized soil, and there is – between it and the lower chroma,
there is only a difference of 1,5 – 2 years. And, you can see,
in this short amount of time, the soil built up reserves. It now has a more varied life, the soil can breathe better,
you can see that here in the middle. So, this soil here shows a trend in the right direction. Okay? If it had gone in the opposite direction,
then we would have had to call the fire brigade… And, the things you can test yourself,
include, for example, nitrate. Are you aware, how dangerous nitrate
in food can be? Could you maybe nod your heads like ‘this’,
or shake like ‘that’? So, I see a few go like ‘this’,
and many like ‘that’. Nitrate, that is, nitrogen, in the food causes a reaction in the body. The nitrate changes in the body and becomes
nitrites, which can further be transformed into nitrosamines, which are,
by the way, carcinogenic. And, they turn to oxygen
thieves in the body. And this promotes all kinds of
inflammatory processes. So, if you are a person,
who has a lot of trouble with your digestion, or if you are close to
a stomach ulcer – and this person eats a lot of nitrate-rich
vegetables, and many farmers, who do not have this ordering life in the soil,
then the plants are very often over-fertilized and so, when the plant is harvested, it has a very high content of nitrates. So, if you are close to having a stomach ulcer, and you were to eat
this kind of vegetable – then that would be most beneficial for
said person’s stomach ulcer. In certain cases, there might be
an immediate reaction. Others may notice this rather differently… by getting joint pains, or maybe headaches – this can take on all kinds of effects. We had a customer, when he ate radishes with a lot of nitrate, these radishes had been fertilised with dung – every time, he got a bladder infection. Because this nitrate – his weak spot
happened to be the bladder – and this nitrate – because of the
reaction in the body, it always hit this sensitive area, and he got a bladder infection. Until he finally realized,
maybe he would be better off eating radishes that had been
fertilised with compost. So, he ate those, and he
stopped getting bladder infections. And that is why it is not to be
underestimated – that nitrate strips – I have brought
some to show you, I had planned to demonstrate them for you,
but I think all of you can imagine, how they work. If you take a garlic press,
and take a nitrate strip out of the glass tube here – and you use the garlic press to squeeze
a drop of salad juice onto it, or, I don’t know, maybe carrot juice,
or any kind of juice you like – and apply it to this nitrate strip here,
and then you wait for the reaction to be complete – then you take the nitrate strip, and compare it to what is on the tube,
and you’ll know exactly, how much nitrate is in your salad, or in whatever you measured. These bars here, they
show you the following: this, up here, this was the amount of nitrate that the food police
in Austria specified for vegetables, commercially
cultivated in green houses. For what was commercially cultivated in the open, and what applies to organic farming. And the green bars down there, are the values actually measured on the farm
that is run by my parents. And then, when the food police saw – well now, we could actually have
much, much less nitrate in our vegetables, and in our food. Then they reduced these nitrate values again. So, today – this graphic was compiled
some time ago – today, the accepted nitrate values
are again significantly lower. So, the food inspector goes into a supermarket, or into
a health food store, and he uses these nitrate strips to see,
how much nitrate is in here? And if the value is exceeded, then this sample is taken into to the laboratory
of the food police. There they double-check, if the
measurement done in the shop is correct, and accordingly, the vendor, or farmer, is no longer
allowed to sell his produce. He can turn it into compost, if that’s what he
wants, or do whatever with it. You wouldn’t believe,
how organic produce – but also commercial goods – how high their nitrate levels can be. Friends of ours, they had winter vegetables –
Chinese greens – and we measured samples, and one contained 20,000 ppm of nitrate. This is almost enough to kill a baby. And this really happened –
not with Chinese greens, but – this really happened, many years ago – more than 30 years, probably 40,
and there were cases in Austria, and in Germany, were babies died as a result. Because they were given, for example,
spinach, with a very high level of nitrate, to eat, and this robbed the body of so much oxygen – because in such a small baby,
such a high dosage of nitrate is, of course, much more serious – and it suffocated. THIS is what actually alerted the food police, and because of this, the first nitrate values
were regulated. And here we have – again, these are both
organic products – they contained more
nitrate than I think is good, but it was still within
the values the food police allow. On this nitrate strip there is also another area, and it shows you nitrite. This is used in soil, and also in composting, because if a soil, or a compost,
is very anaerobic, then nitrite forms instead of nitrate. So, less oxygen is bound to it,
and this is toxic for the plants. Now, if I have a compost
that contains nitrite, and I mix that with my soil, then this can cause a complete crop loss. And it is of course also
very unhealthy – for example, corn salad, which is cultivated
in the green house in winter – very often contains nitrite, because the soils of the green houses
are steamed, so basically all micro-organisms are being killed off, and through the fertilizer, which is applied there, and distributed there, nitride is formed in the green house,
the plant absorbs it, and then the corn salad contains nitrite, which is, of course, also
a problem for the humans. So, the nitrate/nitrite strips
have very versatile uses. I always keep a can in my fridge,
and when I buy something, and I don’t really know where it is from… or also my own produce, I quickly do a test. You can also spit on it, then you can see, if your saliva
contains a lot of nitrate – or maybe even nitrite. If there is nitrite in it, you should volunteer and find the closest composter,
so he can turn you into compost. Yes, what you can do – so the things you want to change are accelerated, or to implement things for yourselves,
in order to have a better quality of life, is, on the one hand, to make
your own compost. Okay, if you only have half a square meter
on your balcony, that could be tricky… but, if your balcony is large enough,
you could, theoretically, even do it on your balcony,
or on your roof terrace. I asked Paul, before I came here, if many of you here today
have their own garden, and he said, of course! So, many of you already have
the possibility that you can produce your own humus compost
in your own garden. Producing humus in the soil,
I already described this to you yesterday. This is also something that everyone –
even in the smallest garden – is able to do. On the one hand, I have
to ventilate the soil – to make sure, enough
oxygen enters the soil. I should supply it with stable organic matter,
if it can digest it, of course, or I have to supply the organic matter
in a different way, so that it CAN process it. So, I can take a few small steps
to ensure that my small garden, or my large garden, does not become a source
for climate change, that it does not become a source
for the environment – in terms of water pollution. Especially the allotment gardeners –
we in Austria have allotment gardens – do you
also have them in Switzerland? Germany, too, I presume? If you measure the ground water there,
you get some of the worst measurement values. Because especially the
allotment gardeners, and the small gardeners, they don’t know how
to properly work with the soil. In part, they use way
too much fertilizer; partly, they also use way too much spray – of course, they just
don’t know better, but still. That would be – especially in urban areas,
and most of these allotments are very often in the vicinity of, well, cities. It would really make a difference,
also for the quality of the water. You can – even in the smallest area – already make your own compost extract, and much more. If you live on the 25th floor, without a balcony,
and without access to any garden, and there really is nothing you can do,
regarding the environment, and society, or anything else – then there is still something you can do: You can, every day, in the morning,
bow down before the composters and farmers,
who are already doing the right thing. And this vibration is going to march straight to all those farmers,
who need your support. And if, at night, before you go to bed,
you say thank you again, then it will have an even better effect. Okay? We really need recognition in agriculture. Agriculture has – because of very, very
many factors – become, even if it is not really a very German word – they have become
the ‘underdog’. Everyone is putting down the farmers. Farmers pollute the environment, farmers produce – they no longer
produce food we can live of, just things we eat. The farmers do this, the farmers pollute and
contribute to global warming – yes, all of this is true, but WHY
it turned out this way, nobody asks that question… or only very few. And this is exactly why
it is so important that we really acknowledge all those, who really try hard, to first of all
understand what is going on, and also ensure the right humus is created, and proper composting,
and good food quality. Yes and… how you can now do these things,
that’s what I’d like to explain next – One thing is, if you have a garden at your disposal, then chose ground-covering plants and plant these. Because ground-covering plants
are the essential partner for soil life. Soil life – the moment you clear the soil – the soil life begins to die. Of course, it’s all right if you harvest your vegetables, but if it is autumn, and you
have harvested your vegetable bed, you’d best go to the kitchen and get a bag of rye, or a bag of any other grain, and then you put your hand
in the bag and scoop out a proper handful, and then you sprinkle these grains all over your vegetable bed. In winter, always allow some grains to stand on your vegetable bed. Of course, this depends on what climate you live in… But, as I said, most climate zones in Central Europe are really only
good for growing grains in winter. But plant some ground-covering plants – then,
when it comes to spring, you already have fresh green material for your compost! I can cut it in spring, and then I already have this 10% green
waste I need for a good compost. Now to mulch – mulch provides protection. Mulch is a skin for the soil. And the little part of the mulch that is drawn into the ground,
by the earthworms and also the small animals that live in the soil –
this might be turned into humus. Yes, if the earthworms already pre-digest
matter, and pull it into the ground, and the soil CAN digest – then there is a real possibility,
that you will contribute to the humus formation. But, if the soil cannot do it,
then it also does no good if the worm pulls the grass into the soil. The only justification for mulch –
because this is, after all, a cut-off plant, this plant is no longer alive – the only justification for mulch is if your soil tends to be very dry, and you need to make
sure the soil has enough moisture, so the micro-organisms
also have something to drink. Otherwise, we want a living plant
that covers our ground. Of course, I understand that not everybody –
in between the roses and such – also plants huge crops of grain. I am aware of that. So, in some situations,
using mulch absolutely makes sense. But it is not the general cure-all,
for which the organic farmers like to take it, and which is so heavily praised. Mulch – in the way it is used today – contributes massively to
environmental pollution. I feed the soil life,
by bringing fresh organic matter into the soil. That is to say, what
I can now do – if it is spring, I don’t have to grow
vegetables straight away – I could now get my rye stalks,
which are standing there, and cut them off and work
them into the soil- DO NOT put them on the soil as a mulch,
that will all get lost in the air – You have to shred them a bit,
so that they can be broken down faster, and then work them
into the upper soil layer. Only, if the food lands where the humus-forming
organisms are, then they can actually work with it. The humus-forming organisms are NOT
at the top of the green plant, they live in the soil. And so, the food must always go to
where the consumers are. You also have to work the
compost into the soil. Compost extracts are
the only exception. When we make compost
extracts, we wash these humus-formers out of the compost, and then we also spray it on the plant. We can also wash it into the soil,
but we also spray the plant. So the plant is better protected,
and has a better immune system. But, otherwise, compost belongs in the soil. You can’t just sprinkle it in
any old way onto the soil. The micro-organisms in
a high-quality compost are sensitive to UV light.
So, when the compost lands on the soil surface, and the sun burns onto it,
within a short amount of time, the micro-organisms are dead,
and you are left with nothing. Using compost extracts –
anyone can do it, really. Aerating the soil – that is only
important as long as your soil still does not
have its own structure. So, once your soil really has a crumbly structure up to half a meter, or one meter, or three meters deep – then it is no longer necessary
for you to ventilate the soil mechanically. But, as long as the soil cannot
provide for itself, because it cannot breathe, or not properly, then every time, the aerobic, humus-producing
organisms die off. If you bring the compost into the soil
and then you cover it with concrete – well. In short, as long as you are still in a construction process, you must also ensure that oxygen
gets into the soil. Yes, and then we are back to
‘showing recognition’. This is really
very, very important to me. I’ve already told this to Paul –
we have a friend, who makes films in South Tyrol. He worked in television,
and he made a film about shamans. He travelled around the world,
finding these shamans and making a documentary. He became good friends
with some of them. But then, he became seriously
ill, because he was infected with a hospital germ,
and he fell into a coma. And the doctors had already
given up on him. He was in hospital for
a year and they managed to nurse him back to health – fortunately,
his son is a doctor. And he said, these – there were shamans,
and nuns, and all kinds of people, from all walks of life,
and also from the church. And, once they heard news
of how sick he was, they prayed for him. And he said, during his coma – and he was comatose for many months – in this coma
he was aware of the times, when
people prayed for him. And, when he woke up
again – he had basically been an atheist before that – when he woke up again, he couldn’t quite believe it,
and so he really went back to each of these stations,
to these people, so he could personally talk to them and make sure, that what
he believed was the truth. And they confirmed this to him. And, that was – it was a long time ago,
that he told me about it – but really, that was a very impressive
experience for me, how this – how sending the right vibration
to somebody – how strongly this can affect people. And, another thing you can do I’m not sure, if the film “Humus – the forgotten climate aid”, if it is outside on the book table. If you have time,
maybe on a Sunday afternoon, you can watch it. It was filmed in Austria a few years ago. And it tells you a little about
what humus can actually do, what its purpose is, and why
humus is so important for us. Yes, this was my list
of measures you can take – I hope, I have not overwhelmed
you with it. But, there are many things that
many of you could already start implementing tomorrow. Another thing you can do by yourselves –
you can make a good-quality plant soil. You don’t have to go to a supermarket, or to Aldi,
or I don’t know what you have in Switzerland, what kind of shops, in Germany, we have Aldi – You do not have to buy the organically
certified plant soil from there, because very often, they have
really bad compost. Yes, the large composting plants, they get organically certified, and then they
mix the plant soil with this really rotten material. And then they wonder, why all the seedlings all collapse, even before they ever
had a chance to grow properly. So, simply buy your compost
from the compost maker you trust, and maybe also ask him a few questions
regarding how the compost is made – and if you want even more info
than that, you can also ask Gottfried about it,
he knows a lot about the topic. And then you combine
this great compost with a third of soil, and with a third of sand. And if you want to do it EVEN better,
then you can also add a little rock dust, to the mix, and, to
make things easier, you can also buy
different types of expanded clay, zeolites, things like that. But this is not absolutely necessary. You can also just mix a third of compost,
a third of sand, a third of earth – and then you fill this into small pots, in which you can grow your basil,
and your parsley, and whatever else you want to have in your salad. Today there’s a trend – and it
really is something that drives me insane – because they are done in completely
the wrong way – raised beds. Could you show me, how
many of you already have one? Ah, there are only a few. Very good. Raised bed gardening is now THE trend,
you basically walk past raised beds wherever you go, it is hard not to see raised beds
when you are waking through a village. Even farmers, who actually have
more than enough land at their disposal, they also
need raised beds now, because it is so fashionable. And, of course, it is even more
fashionable, if this raised bed is made of stainless steel, or has completely closed
wooden boards, or is made of concrete, or some kind of
plastic material, with an elegant roof over it – But, I ask myself – how do they
expect oxygen to get in there? I see little opportunity for oxygen,
to get into this material. And then they do something else,
you can see it on the picture here – at the bottom, they insert quite coarse material, branches, and…. whatever you can find in your garden
that is made of reedy material and such… Because they are trying
to create self-warming. And this self-warming is
meant to contribute in making this raised bed
ready a little earlier; in spring, it gets warmer faster
and you can plant sooner. But this creates a composting process
because the bottom is full of raw organic matter – and this causes all kinds of rotting
substances to form. And most people wonder, why – after
2, 3, 4, 5 years – why all their plants are dying. This is caused by all the rotting material
in the bottom layer. Of course, this creates gases – because rotting processes also
produce gases – and they go upwards, and thus I have very sick plants, or food for the snails, etc. If you insist on having a raised bed,
then it should look like this: It should be made from a type of material that still allows enough space for oxygen suppliers – also from the side. Of course, you can also grow things in it, because it is something completely different than
having a stainless-steel construct around it. Or, you can spread a fleece on any kind of construct, this is also breathing-active. And then, at the bottom, you also need
something that drains water. So, something like small pebbles, And then you lay down a bit … a thin plant protection fleece,
then comes the soil, and to top it off also a little compost. This compost is mixed
into the uppermost layer, and this is the kind of raised bed, that will still produce healthy food
in 10 or 20 years. Paul asked me to show
you some examples of how we approach our projects,
and of cases where the humus management and composting has already
been implemented. I decided to show you an
example from the industry. In Kenya, Urs supervises a board of investors,
and they wanted to compost on a large scale. So, they really want – basically their goal is to compost over 100,000 of cubic meters,
because there is so much chicken manure. And there are, of course, many European vegetable and fruit producers because the climate
in Kenya is just right for it. So, this board of investors,
they now want to make compost. They wanted to start
with big machines and big shredders, and big tractors
and really start making industrial composting. But Urs said to them them – Hey, guys,
you have to understand that the employees, with whom you
are now working together, they have never even heard
of the right way to make compost. Usually, they walk around in the
countryside and gather whatever they can find. How are they to know,
how to make compost properly? How are they to know, how to handle
large machinery? So, they started small and
began their first composting by hand. So, the employees, first had to take a piece of string,
to ensure the compost heap would be straight, then they had to combine the materials
in the proper way, and to also work it with their hands. And only after they were able to
work with their hands and knew how to make compost –
then they were given the machinery. Ah, here you can see…. how the compost heap was added to
with the help of the loader. This was great fun for them – they always
did 5 rounds with the compost – because they enjoyed driving the loader so much –
before they stopped to unload the shovel. Urs said, teaching them
to drive was a whole lot of fun. He said, he has never
before seen a loader do the kind of jumps, as were done with these loaders. Yes, of course, if I have never driven a loader, I think
I would do the same. Only after they knew how to use the small
machine, on a small scale, when the employees knew
how to compost – only then – and still in the garden
of the investor – only then the amount was expanded. So, they worked in the garden, as you can see here – here we have
about 200 cubic meters of compost. And only then did they move onto
the actual large plant. Again, the first step was not
to make industrial compost, but instead, they repeated what
they had prepared for in the garden. They applied this to the compost plant. This was followed
by the first expansion step, and here you can see that
we already have a few compost heaps lying around – and this whole area
is reserved for making compost. And, in the next step, we introduced the next expansion step and well, when we meet again in 10 years’ time,
I will show you a picture, in which thousands of cubic meters of compost are being made. But this will be done by people, who have understood
how to do this properly. They have already achieved
their first successes. The producers supply vegetable growers
in the region and they bring the compost – because
it is so expensive – they sell the compost for several hundred
Euro per cubic meter – several HUNDRED dollars for one
cubic meter of compost. And the producers supply the compost
in small amounts. I have taken this information from a flyer
they have put together, showing their results. They have distributed 500 kg
of compost – that is a homoeopathic dose. You hardly see it, if you distribute
it on the soil. 500 kg of compost, that’s nothing! And they have a yield increase of up to 40%. So – even small quantities – because
they bring life into the soil – because it needs life! You can’t just sprinkle it
on the topsoil and expect it to have
any kind of effect. You have to work it into the soil, so the life in the soil mixes
with the compost and the plant. And the other project, which is actually my favourite project – is our project in Ethiopia. We are working together
with the Caritas, and the Caritas is trying to establish a competence centre for humus formation and composting inn Meki – that’s about a 2-hour drive
from the capital. They would like to establish it
in a diocesan town. This diocesan town is so large,
it contains an area, as big as, I would say, a large
part of Germany. So, it’s a vast area. Because Ethiopia happens to be
a very large country. I think, the bishop is a very wise man, and he has come to see the beneficial
effects of compost, and he now supports it. So he said, “Yes, Let us now make our own here,
on this mission.”- They also have a school attached to it, for adolescents, and this is where
the competence centre is being built. And again, we are doing it in the same way. It must be allowed
to grow organically. So, first of all, on a very small scale,
in the mission, in the diocesan town, we taught the teachers, the trainers –
who would then go to the villages – they are, by the way, not called
teachers there, but they are called ‘entertainers’. Here we have a group of entertainers, and they don’t teach the people how to
dance samba or meringue, but how to make compost. You can even dance to it, I’ll show you how later! And this… this group is now learning, collectively,
how, within the next 6 weeks, this material is expected to change, and all the things they need to know. And then they go to the villages, and live there, and they stay
with the people and teach them until they really know
what they are doing. Of course, we also taught these people in the mission, in the diocesan town. This was truly an unusual
experience for me – the approach of the Africans,
who are learning new things, is completely different
from the European approach. We are so well-trained, to always do
everything in our own heads – and we don’t really understand things any more,
and then we reach a point where we can’t remember anything. Africans have an entirely different,
more natural approach. They learn something, and then –
by discussing it, and really realizing it – that is how
the information is processed. We always talked for short sequences,
and then it all had to be discussed, and talked about, and digested. And it really did take some getting used to,
but at the same time, I was also very impressed. This is an approach we would
also benefit from very much. Then we naturally also made a compost heap
together with these people – anywhere in the world, no matter, if you are somewhere in the tropics, or somewhere in Alaska – you have material
everywhere, and also the possibility to stabilize
the organic matter. So, of course – in Africa, where there are
many regions that are so dry – then it is really not easy to cultivate sufficient material, or to collect it, but – as you can see here – you can indeed always find material,
we could even find some greenery. Then we took the soil – because we didn’t have
a wheelbarrow – we used a bed sheet instead – to transport the soil,
and why not – it worked! Then we also injected it
because that is also always an important factor,
which the African soil is lacking very strongly –
the humus formation. Here, the cooperation with
the Caritas came in handy, because they can finance
such things. They financed the fleece,
they financed the forks, and the shovels. They financed the measuring devices,
they really provide everything, so the composters can really
get to work in the villages. I was also so impressed
by their community work. They have a completely
different awareness – the community carries everything,
and the community is needed, to make progress. Yes, and the fleece I mentioned before, this is also financed by the Caritas. In my very personal opinion, the Europeans actually have the responsibility to ship enough fleece to Africa,
because after all, we spent enough time taking whatever
we needed from there. So, in return, we can ensure that the soils
will again be able to create humus. Of course, this requires machinery, and this is the first turner
that was made in Meki by the technicians on site. They were very proud of their achievement,
as I am sure you can imagine. The company Gujerland in Switzerland,
which usually makes compost turners, they donated the shaft, but the rest
was made in Meki. This turner is now used
in the diocesan town, in the Bishop’s compound, which is where the bishop
grows his own vegetables, and there they are
now making the compost. Then there is a farm, where the vegetables for
the school are produced, and also produced for sale. They have a turner from Switzerland, and here
they are making compost on a large scale, and in the meantime, they have also
built a hall there. Simply, because the heat of the sun
is so strong during summer, they decided it would be easier, to put a roof over it, instead of having to spray it with water all the time. Another thing I liked very much –
before we began our work, there was a mass, and a
blessing was spoken. We had to make time for this, so the composting could start under the right spirit, so to say. Now, if you go out to the villages, we were supposed to visit and also
open a compost plant there – they heard of our arrival,
and invited us to come and officially cut a ribbon,
and things like that. And then the whole council –
the village elders came together, and then the village-master held a
very long talk about what composting means,
and about the life in the soil and in the compost. And only after he had finished, we were
allowed to begin with the actual composting, after it was all discussed in a circle. This is my favourite picture. I love this image. It is sort of medieval, or I don’t know what era I should use to compare
this hut in Africa, which has been built in the same way for centuries – but this old tradition,
the tradition that was brought here, now meets composting
of the 21st century. Here, these two worlds really do meet,
and they are also combined! The compost is not a
foreign body, not at all – the people learnt very quickly,
how beneficial this compost is for the production of food. And they are taking this to heart. The entertainers come to the villages,
and show the people, how to make a proper compost heap,
and how to manage the compost. This is, of course, also – if a whole
procession of compost is carried through the village – it is indeed a community
project because – you have to think – who wants to, every day,
shovel 50 cubic meters of compost on their own? So, it really does need every
person in the village, they have to work together. And, the interesting thing is – this compost here
belongs to everyone. This is the community compost. But – behind their huts,
people make their own, private, personal pile of compost. Because they have realized, aha,
the compost is really great, and so they each need their own little pile. So, a little of the me-me-me
mentality is found everywhere on Earth. This was part of a conference for
Food security for Africa. Here, we also visited a village, and this couple here, which you can see
down there – they did – before they started
to make compost – they were dependent to 100% on
Caritas food deliveries. But, by now, they have come so far
they can even go sell their fruit and veg on the market. They are the entrepreneurs
of the compost world. If you look at the difference –
you really can see, this is a plant WITHOUT compost,
and this is a plant WITH compost. As you can imagine,
this one will give you a better harvest. And will increase the income structures. Oh no, do I still have 5 min? Then I’ll quickly show you
the donkey project, because I really love that one, too.
It is also in Meki. The Caritas, and others, conducted a study on the life expectancy
of African women. And they found out that the
life expectancy of African women is directly proportional to the
distance to the water hole. So, the farther away it is, the lower the life expectancy,
simply because they have to invest so much life energy into
fetching the water. So they started to think,
it would actually be quite a clever idea, if we – instead of giving each other
useless things for Christmas – to give an African family a donkey instead. So the women did not have
to carry everything themselves, but only had to walk alongside the donkey. So, the Caritas said, I don’t remember
exactly – 50 Euro, or 70 Euro, something like that – donates a donkey to
a family, and of course, this is also beneficial
for making compost, but especially also for ploughing. In Meki, we are also showing the people,
how to make their own horse collar and plough, because – there is not enough money to buy them,
so you have to build your own. This is what they learn in the workshops, and so the woman does not have to cultivate the soil,
bent over, using a hoe, but can just walk behind the donkey. Also, because of
the compost, the soil is a lot softer, which, of course, also makes the cultivation of the soil much faster. Or you can work as a pair –
completely according to your heart’s desire. This was the first woman – she is a widow,
and she has 6 sons, and she got the first donkey from this donkey project. Here we have an Austrian donkey, he is turning the compost. And this is my expectation and idea
of Africa: It is my dream, that all over Africa
they will have compost trees. Under this tree, there are compost heaps
in all different stages. One week, two weeks, three weeks,
6 weeks, 8 weeks – and when the people now come, to be educated, then they can clearly see, how each different
stage should look like, and they don’t have to stay for 8 weeks, they can just stay for a few days,
and then go back home with the knowledge of
what they need to do. I promised you something before –
I said I would show you how you can also sing to compost. Because the Ethiopians have composed a song, it is called “Compost gives new life,
we make the best compost!” Yes, you see – compost and music go together!

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