Updated: Oct 19, 2019
Take a deep breath and enjoy this reading about the beginning and end of life, from birth to degradation of life.
Keywords are soil, bacteria, probiotics, agriculture and fermentation.
Who are you Bjarke?
"The success of an intervention depends on the interior condition of the intervener". -Bill O'Brien
“What a question! I could answer this in many different ways. I will go with a wild one.”
Bjarke begins telling his story. “27 years ago in August, my dad was washing leeks at a bio dynamic farm in Denmark, when my mother came out to tell him that the time had come to give birth to their 2nd child. As I was being pushed out of my mothers narrow birth-channel, my lungs got squeezed empty for liquid and just after my mother had pooped a little from the pushing, I filled my lungs with my first breath of air. It was full of microorganisms from my mothers vagina, from her excrements, and from the farm. These bacteria served as a starter culture for the ecosystem in my gut. In my mothers milk there was food, not only for me, but also for the bacteria in my gut so they could develop into a diverse ecosystem of microorganisms. To this day, these microorganisms help me digest food, fight diseases and keep me healthy and happy. “
Inside me there are billions of organisms, and outside me there are billions of organisms. I am a wandering "tube" with the universe in me and around me.
Bjarke continues, “I am one of the privileged human beings who have co-evolved with all other life on this planet in a symbiotic relationship. Now, I fight at the front line of evolution. Unfortunately the microorganisms inside and outside me are going extinct this very moment, and the primary cause of this is how we human beings (tubes) are leading our lives. This is why I am determined to be a tube that creates good conditions for the universe in me and around me.”
What are you up to at the moment?
"Upon this handful of soil our survival depends. Husband it and it will grow our food, our fuel, and our shelter and surround us with beauty. Abuse it and the soil will collapse and die, taking humanity with it" -Vedas Sanskrit Scripture – 1500 BC
“In Denmark, 60% of our soil is being managed by farmers. The farmers have an average debt of 20 million DKK, which makes it difficult for the new generation of farmers to get a loan and access to the land. This also means that the current generation cannot get out and they now have an average age of over 58.”
My project is about buying land and donating it to a foundation. Thereafter it will be leased out to farmers to make this generation shift possible and to get new innovative hands into agriculture to take care of the life in the soil that is currently being depleted. We do this by producing fermented vegetables. For every glass we sell, 1m2 of agricultural land will be bought and made available for the new generation of sustainable farmers.”
Why fermented vegetables?
"Successful coexistence with microbes in our midst is a biological imperative, and the fermentation arts are human cultural manifestations of this essential fact.” - Sandor Ellis Katz
“Fermentation is the transformative action performed by micro-organisms. It happens everywhere around us in nature. Microorganisms are constantly breaking down matter and they thereby make nutrients available for plants in the soil and for us in our stomachs. As previously said, there are microorganisms everywhere around us. On vegetables, there are (amongst many others) lactic acid bacteria. If we create an environment without oxygen and with 2% salt, these bacteria will have perfect conditions to start eating the sugars in the vegetables. The lactic acid bacteria take over and out compete potential pathogenic bacteria and the lactic acid produced preserves the food for long term storage. The bacteria that we eat, determines the digestive system in our gut, but so much of our food has become sterile in the processing of it so it no longer come with the microorganisms. Fermentation is full of good bacteria. “
Why is this project important to you?
“If we are to live on planet earth for many years to come, we will have to find new ways of treating all the life that we share this home with. Not only the life that we see, but also the microorganisms that are everywhere around, but invisible to the eye. Bjarke continues, “For years, I have been searching for something meaningful to invest my life into that at the same time could make me feel alive. It makes me feel alive to cooperate with microorganisms in the soil, on our plants and in the fermenting-jars.”
What do you hope to Change?
“I hope that I can inspire and help people to live "probiotic lifes". Today, agriculture, food production and health institutions are to a great extend "antibiotic", meaning "life-killing". We have become scared of bacteria, and I hope to facilitate a peaceful reunion with the microbial life that we are so dependent on. “
What is the greatest thing you have learned so far from carrying out this project?
“I have learned a lot about the ecosystem and therefore I have come a lot closer to how I want to live my life and what I want to dedicate my time to.”
What are your next steps?
“The next step is to produce the first batches of fermented vegetables and go out and sell it.”
How can people get involved?
“Currently I am producing my first batches of Kimchi and Sauerkraut. I am looking for retail-stores, inspiration and ideas, collaborations and feedback.” You can follow Bjarke on instagram & facebook or write him on firstname.lastname@example.org. Bjarke says that you also are free to call him if you want to learn more about his work. His number is +45 60732398. Bjarke will be talking about his project on June 6th in Copenhagen. You can sign up here.
Anything you would like to add Bjarke?
"Endings are always the hardest things to write, because the author knows thats the last impression the reader will be left with. So I choose the following wisely." -Anthony Anaxagorou
“The most important thing that I want to convey is the following:
Healthy soil, gives healthy plants which gives healthy animals and humans!”
Text & Interview by Amalie H. Barfod
Founder in Rewild Studio