"'Ten years ago if you said you were vegan in Greece, it was a joke,' he says. Now a third of his students are vegan." Pretty fascinating how this seems to be the case across many different cultures and geographies — almost like a law of aging societies. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/jan/12/were-humus-sapiens-the-farmers-who-shun-animal-manure?CMP=share_btn_tw …
I really like this comparison: "[Johannes Eisenbach] considers biocyclic humus soil a kind of open source software, and hopes farmers will test it. He’s convinced it can be produced beyond Greece"
I don't think there should be yet another organic standard, but there are huge problems in fertilizer right now. Biology will yet again fill the nitrogen void. The massive algal blooms causing fish die offs are caused by Florida's agriculture runoff: https://www.miaminewtimes.com/news/report-floridas-algal-bloom-problems-will-only-get-worse-with-climate-change-11235732 …
Synthetic, water-soluble fertilizers create this runoff, and they also need to be transported to farms. As with all industry, supply chain complexity may actually be blooming energy demand — unlike hyper-local animal waste, compost, and crop rotation.
If these trends we see in veganism and plant-based diets increase, many of those cattle simply won't exist. Which may be good for methane reductions (30-to-1 greenhouse effect vs CO2), but there really is currently no good substitute in the nitrogen cycle.
The reason I like the open-source analogy is because the answers may share some of the same momentum we're seeing in microbiology manufacturing and GMOs. We can create modified soil-healing plants & bacterial that can hyper-localize and improve fertilizers. Yeast, for the plants.
Great piece on Ginkgo Bioworks, which is actually working on these problems. "About 3% of the world's carbon budget is spent making chemical fertilizer every year. We started a joint venture to develop organisms that can both fix nitrogen & form symbiosis" https://youtu.be/DxoLoOtyllU
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