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  • christaherrmann

When fermentistas meet soil life

Updated: Dec 2, 2022

Terrabiom was invited to represent the soil microbiome at Switzerland's first Fermentista Festival, closing the microbiome cycle from soil to human and back.

Just before Halloween 2021, Terrabiom was invited to represent the invisible underground world at a delicious event which put microbes in the spotlight for a full day: Switzerland’s first “Fermentista” fermentation festival. Over a keynote speech, we enjoyed to dive deep into the microbiome cycle from soil, through plant, to food and the human gut.

We were particularly excited to mix our background on soil with the magic world of food fermentation and set out to inspire each person in the audience to recognize soil as a living entity. Our co-founder Christa Herrmann found herself in front of a full room with close to 60 people right after an eye-opening speech about the human gut microbiome and its role for our health by Sarah Müllhaupt from “meine Naturheilpraxis”. Even we were speechless to learn that cemetery soils today are facing the challenge that humans are not decomposing well anymore – likely linked to our high intake of conservatives through the food we consume, which keeps off the microbes which would re-integrate dead bodies into the cycle of life. A whole other topic we added to our watchlist for the future!

Thank you so much for this festival speech. I loved the analogy of the history of life within one year and even though I already knew a fair bit about the soil, it was very thought-provoking. Franziska Wick, Founder, Fermentista Festival

Back to the soil microbiome, our diverse audience from just-starting to more experienced in the world of microbes went on a journey through the history of life with a soil focus condensed into a 1-year-scale. It left no doubts about the dependence of all life (including humans) on microorganisms: They are our original ancestors, as well as our symbiotic collaborators in our everyday life. Despite the tremendous effect humans have had on Earth’s ecosystems over the past 250 years, the takeaway-message for the listeners was one of hope: Each of us can do something for healthy soils, every day.

  1. LEARN: Understand what’s at stake, and what’s going on. Be curious and educate yourself about soil health.

  2. CARE: for any decision you take, consider your microbes first. Take care of them since they take care of you.

  3. ACT: get active and create spaces & opportunities to let nature do her job. She holds the most effective solutions for our greatest global challenges. Grow a plant, join a gardening tribe, help your local nature conservation association.

The interest in soil, earthworms (yes we brought some soil life to the stage) and Terrabiom was impressive. Various people were so inspired that they wanted to join our association on the spot – we’ve taken note to launch memberships soon! Bilateral exchanges across generations confirmed that there is a lot of interest about soil health amongst fermentistas and the general public. We’re excited to see these humans realize the importance of keeping our soils healthy.

Festival founder, Franziska Wick, summarized : “Thank you so much for your festival speech. It was amazing. I loved the analogy with the year and even though I already knew a fair bit about the soil, it was very thought-provoking.»

Besides representing the amazing world of the soil microbiome, we enjoyed discovering and geeking out with some of the talented fermentistas who were presenting their delicious creations through workshops, speeches and stands. We trained our own gut microbiomes by tasting fermentated vegetables, kombucha, kimchi, miso soup, cheese, and a more - such a vast diversity of humans, products, and microorganisms. We discovered a real soft spot for the swiss kombucha company whose refreshing drinks contain >30’000 microorganisms per bottle – the party in our gut is guaranteed. It’s inspiring to be part of this movement that values the important contributions of microbes to human health, and culture.

We’re looking forward to the future of this emerging ecosystem of fermentistas, fermentation and the microbiome cycle in Switzerland and beyond, from soil to plant to food to human.


Keynote speeches like this one are an important part of our work to re:connect humans with nature, starting from the #soil up. Curious how this might fit into your world? Please reach out to explore how Terrabiom could support you in putting soil health on your organization and people’s radar. We love to get creative.

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