S02/E05: A blossoming career as a soil keeper

In the fifth episode of season two, journalist Jennifer Baker talks to the Austrian organic farmer and entrepreneur Alfred Grand who today is a member of several high-level EU and national actions for improving agri-businesses and soil health. From dreaming of racing motorbikes to producing wine, he started the ‘Lower Austrian Worm Composting System for Schools and Kindergartens’ to raise awareness of natural fertilising, which garnered a UNESCO prize. His businesses and career as a “rare worm breeder” (and advocate) blossomed from there. Alfred is also member of the Board of the EU Mission ‘A Soil Deal for Europe”.

Soils are the basis of 95% of our food and provide other essential ecosystem services such as clean water, biodiversity and climate regulation. Yet 60-70% of soils in the EU are in a poor state, and about 70% of agricultural land shows excess levels of nutrients affecting water quality and biodiversity.

Sustainable land management practices that safeguard soils are vital to a healthy planet and people. Alfred’s business venture, Vermigrand Naturprodukte, produces his branded ‘Biohumus’ fertiliser and peat-free soil substrates with the help of humble worms. He also runs a 90-hectare research pilot project (Grand Farm) to demonstrate sustainable soil health, agroforestry and market gardening practices. The farm is one of a dozen in the Dutch-led Global Lighthouse Farming Network for future-proof farming systems.


Find out more:

·       Read more on the EU Mission A Soil Deal for Europe

·       Learn about Vermigrand’s ‘hot rotting’ earthworm composting

·       Read about the Global Lighthouse Farming Network

·       Take a virtual visit of Grand Farm

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