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Gourmet food & the Soil Sommelier

Terrabiom introduced the "soil sommelier" to a curious audience of >70 people, linking soil life to gourmet food at the Soil to Soul Symposium, an integral part of Food Zürich -Switzerland's largest food festival.

This post is (1/3) of a blog series on Terrabiom@Soil to soul 2022:

  1. Gourmet Food & The Soil Sommelier (keynote speech)

  2. From soil health to tasty food (Market stand)

  3. Voices on soil by people from Zürich (soil-based action research project)


What's the secret of a delicious, healthy dish or drink which we love to share with friends, family, or anyone else we're looking to connect with? The chefs know it's the ingredients - and the farmers know where the ingredients grow from. Great food is rooted in healthy soil.

In a sold-out event, Terrabiom had the pleasure to take an engaged audience on a journey to the hidden half of nature in our underground over an engaging keynote speech at the Soil to Soul Symposium, part of Food Zürich and the tasty climax of Switzerland’s largest Food Festival.

This year, the Soil to Soul Symposium had a special gem in store for those who are curious about the origin of the quality of the food which nourishes their bodies, minds and souls. The inviting Kalanderplatz at Sihlcity, Zürich turned into a celebration of soil, regenerative agriculture, and their link between responsible, healthy and enjoyable nutrition over 15-17.09.2022.

Soil to Soul is an international movement that originated in Switzerland and Portugal in 2021. Its core topics are soil preservation, regenerative agriculture and the link between responsible, healthy and enjoyable nutrition.

Convinced on our expertise from soil to soul through our engaging keynote speech about the microbiome cycle from soil to human gut at the 2021 inaugural Fermentista Festival, the organizers of Soil to Soul approached Terrabiom to shine some light on the gourmet factor of soil.

A clear case for Terrabiom’s co-founder and soil ecologist Eric Pinto, who set out to do what he does best: translate the magic of life which we cannot see, in simple terms, to everyone. Being a pioneer in his field, he was amongst great company next to some of The Great Names of Fermentation and Functional Medicine, like Sandor Katz, Danna Levy Hoffmann or Tom Hunt.

Eric Pinto is a soil ecologist, bold explorer and passionate chef. With more than 20 years of experience in the field, he has developed unique skills in reading the patterns of the invisible half of nature - microorganisms - and making them visible to a wider audience. Alexandra Aebersold, communication team Soil to Soul 2022

The speech was announced to be a glimpse to the future which would invite us to appreciate an unseen and new perspective on the relevance of healthier soils and about our ecological role as humans, from local actions to decision making. And it delivered. Close to 75 people joined the session to dive into the invisible universe below our feet, almost selling out the session, selling out the available places.

The soil sommelier

Knowing the diverse audience was united by their love for delicious and healthy food, it was an easy choice for passionate chef Eric to root his speech in a well-familiar concept from the world of gourmet tasting: the soil sommelier was born. Drawing from his own journey and building on his extensive experience from field to lab and kitchen, he took the audience on an engaging journey on what it takes to become a soil sommelier concluded by hands-on tips on how to recognize a healthy glass of soil:

- It is full of life and biologically diverse

- It is full of Carbon (organic mass) and helps to regulate our climate

- It is sustained by and supports thriving communities

I loved the concept of the soil sommelier, and I'm very inspired by including the arts into the soil conversation. There's a lot of potential to co-create more. Andrin Willi, curator Soil to Soul Symposium 2022

The audience was fascinated. Following the input followed an engaged Q&A part, where a wide range of topics were discussed: from economic viability of a regenerative transition, to nanoplastics in soils and our food, to the ethical question of whether a soil may ever be too degraded to put in any efforts to recover it. From hobby gardeners, to farmers, to chefs, CEOs and scientists from different fields, this event showed in an exemplary way how soil is important to all of us and an excellent opportunity to find common ground.

Thank you.

We had a great time connecting with this diverse audience over healthy soils & food. A special thank you to the Association Soil to Soul, in particular the organizers of the 2022 edition which curated the event section: Andrin Willi, Lea Wüthrich, and Alexandra Aebersold. We’re looking forward to driving more soil literacy & connection in Switzerland through many more events to come.

Read more.

This post is (1/3) of a blog series on Terrabiom@Soil to soul 2022:

  1. Gourmet Food & The Soil Sommelier (keynote speech on soil life)

  2. From soil health to tasty food (soil market stand experience)

  3. Voices on soil by people from Zürich (soil-based action research project)


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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