Milestones in the development of HUMUS+


Launch event with Prof. Helga Kromp-Kolb

A citizens' assembly is called by 7 communities around Kaindorf. The aim is to become active as a region and stop the threatening climate change. The interest of the population is very high and the culture hall in Kaindorf is filled to capacity. Afterwards, 100 volunteers immediately sign up to help out in the first 8 working groups. The Kaindorf Ecoregion is thus founded. The working group on agriculture is also formed immediately after this event.


The first humus symposium

The first humus symposium takes place in the same year. For one day, 30 experts discuss the possibilities of humus buil- up in soils in the hall of the municipal office. Outstanding participants include Prof. Hülsbergen (FH Weihenstephan) and Prof. Leonore Kutschera (Wurzelatlas) as well as representatives of the Boku and the TU Graz (Prof.Berg). It is decided to try out all the ideas presented immediately on some farms.


Farmers start with active humus build-up

At the 2nd Humus Symposium in Ebersdorf, Prof. Glaser presented the Terra Preta concept for the first time. In the agricultural working group, 5 farmers each started to enrich humus on one hectare using the knowledge available so far. The aim is to build up humus very quickly in order to be able to demonstrate the advantages of humus-rich soils on the basis of these areas. This is made possible by the use of large amounts of compost and the simultaneous introduction of winter greening. In the first year of conversion, the yield is waived and revegetation (Landsberg mixture) is established. In a large-scale research project with the Boku, the stability of the applied compost is investigated.


Self-disclosure due to "excessive" application of nitrogen

After countless discussions with the authorities at district, provincial and federal level, no possibility was found to spread compost and organic fertiliser in quantities relevant to humus build-up in a legally secure manner. After a conviction in the first instance (BH Hartberg), our appeal to the administrative senate in Graz disappears. We are informed by telephone that we have lost the case, but no judgement is ever issued, although we urge this several times. Thus, the practice of building up humus using organic fertilisers and compost is tacitly acknowledged and has since been accepted by the authorities.


First awarding of humus certificates

Together with our master painter Hannes Herbsthofer from Kaindorf a humus certificate model is developed and the first money is paid out to farmers. The price of 30€/to CO2 for the farmer is determined by calculating the additional effort. This first certificate award is already being filmed by ORF and broadcast in a short report.


Project "Climate cabbage instead of Chinese cabbage"

Together with Frutura and SPAR, the idea is born to bring the topic of humus to the population via products and to build up a brand of its own. After two years, however, it has to be admitted that the promise to build up humus while producing vegetables cannot be kept with the knowledge gained so far. The project is finally discontinued because there are not enough resources to advise and support the farmers.


Humus film

The intricately produced documentary film "Humus - the forgotten climate opportunity" is presented to the public for the first time during the Humus Days, thus bringing the topic of humus growth to the masses. In addition, Europe's first vegetal carbon production plant approved under waste legislation is being presented in operation.


3-day Humus Days

For the first time, the Humus Days will be held as a 3-day event. In the meantime, this event has established itself as an annual fixture and meeting place for the humus sector. The now introduced division into "Compost Symposium", "Humus Symposium" for practitioners and "Humus Congress" for scientists is later discarded in order to strengthen the connection between practitioners and scientists, to bring them closer together and to promote mutual understanding.


International humus experts meeting

For the first time in the history of this project, an international event is organised in English (including simultaneous translation). We succeeded in finding and inviting the best experts worldwide. Dr. Stephen Joseph (Australia, biochar), Dr. Christine Jones (Australia, Amazing carbon), Michael Melendrez (New Mexico, soil secrets), Dr. David Johnson (New Mexico, composting process), Dr. Olivier Husson (France, CIRAD study) and Dr. Bruno Glaser (Germany, plant carbon) are present as speakers.


Fungi as a decisive factor

Fungi as a decisive factor in humus formation are now increasingly becoming the focus of interest. A presentation by Univ.-Prof. Mag. Dr. Joseph Strauss, one of the world's most renowned genome researchers, presents his astonishing findings that mycorrhizal fungi can bind free nitrate in the soil within seconds.


International meeting on the topic of biochar

In 2018, the international meeting on the topic of biochar is taking place in the ecoregion with participants from the USA, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Norway, Australia, India, Holland, Indonesia, Sweden, Finland, England and Croatia. The latest state of knowledge in biochar research is presented. The participants are very impressed by the activities in this field in the Kaindorf ecoregion, and it is confirmed once again that the progress made so far has made it possible to establish a leading role worldwide. To show the new Stockholm tree planting system, a tree is planted in the schoolyard using Sonnenerde's newly developed biochar substrate.


Discovery of a soil profile in Hungary

In 2019 a soil profile in Hungary is discovered, where a massive build-up of humus in deeper layers has taken place over just a few years. This is the start of research activities in this direction and the investigation of the product allegedly responsible for this from the company SOBAC from France.


International interest in HUMUS+

International interest in the HUMUS+Program is steadily increasing. We have already received visits from almost all European countries. There have been particularly intensive discussions with interested parties from Germany, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic and Slovenia. More and more models for humus certificate trading are emerging and developing, following the example of the Kaindorf Ecoregion.


HUMUS+ Model Ecoregion Kaindorf

With "HUMUS+ Model Ökoregion Kaindorf", the project is getting a new structure and is opening up even more to cooperations in Europe. Slovenia is the first contractual partner to implement the HUMUS+Program in another European country. Due to the pandemic, the HUMUS+Days will take place online for the first time with 444 participants, which means that even a participant from New Zealand is able to take part.