Decades of agrochemical use in intensive monoculture have exhausted the ground and disrupted our digestive systems. CLIMAVORE connects soil biota to the gut to care for the soil through polyculture, reduced tillage, and rotational crops.
A third of the planet’s land is severely degraded after decades of intensive monoculture farming that relies on pesticides, chemical fertilisers, and engineered seeds. Bereft of nutritional potential, infertile soil is unable to retain stormwater, often resulting in subsidence and landslides. As erosion accelerates, chemicals filter into groundwater and oceanic systems eventually entering the food chain. Many of these substances, designed to boost soil fertility, are also endocrine disruptors, contributing to the current global infertility crisis in humans and animals alike.
An endless season of hyper-fertility boosted agricultural yields over decades at a high cost. Events such as the Dust Bowl in the North American prairies raised alarms in the 1930s. After WWII, when part of the explosives industry shifted to fertiliser production, increased dependencies in agrochemicals and “modern” grains, together with soil erosion, became widespread. From the Green Revolution in the 1960s to neoliberal measures in the 1990s, the concentration of farmland and systematic land grabs have accelerated soil exhaustion even further. This has especially been the case in Eastern European countries since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Up until the beginning of the Russian invasion in 2022, chernozem soil from Ukrainian villages was being stripped and shipped to replace the eroded grounds of the highest global bidder. Global wars continue to revolve around food security and sovereignty.
CLIMAVORE sees the restoration of the soil like the restoration of a body. Bakers and chefs in Kyiv, followed by other iterations in Kosovo and Brandenburg, worked with CLIMAVORE to develop soil-regenerative breads from polyculture grains. These diversify crops, reduce tillage to avoid excessive ploughing, and are planted in rotation with alfalfa, buckwheat, peas, and clovers, which fix nitrogen from the air into the ground without the help of petrochemicals. The same crops that restore the soil also provide the nutrients, bacteria and yeasts, for healthy global gutscapes. This shift requires transformation beyond agricultural fields, so in 2019 we also collaborated with Ukrainian lawyers to draft a legal amendment to grant Ukrainian soil the right not to be exhausted.