In the late 1960s, Barry Hayes was among the founders of the Australia home winemaking and brewing industry. In the 1980s, he successfully indentified Kangaroo Island as a place to grow premium wine grapes. As the new century dawned, this inventor/innovator focused on sustainable agriculture — farming techniques that strive to work with the environment, not against it.
His latest venture in that discipline — Geomite Biomineral Development — has landed him the runner-up spot on the SMART 100.
2. Geomite Biomineral
Company: Geomite Biomineral Development
Headquarters: Adelaide, SA
Geomite’s biomineral concoction combines volcanic material with “biochar” prepared from bamboo procured from the lower slopes of tropical rainforests (you read that right). The result is a soil management system that acts as a combined fertiliser, soil ameliorant, carbon creator and structural builder.
It short, it makes plants happy. Or, to use Hayes’ words, it just helps them do their thing: “I realised that plants possess a powerful intelligence that they use to manipulate soil microbiology in order to feed and medicate themselves.”
Hayes’ goal is no less than the replacement and elimination of chemical fertilisation worldwide.
“Synthetic chemical fertilisers have been damaging the environment since close of World War II, after explosives manufacturing was turned into fertiliser manufacturing,” Hayes writes. “By creating the concept of pest/disease attack, they made the use of lethal sprays necessary. The rise of environmental conscience has brought us to the realisation that this practice must be halted.”
According to Hayes, organic or biodynamic farming addresses parts of the problem, but biomineral techniques get down to the basics of soil/plant interaction.
Hayes is making contacts in other parts of the world — in Indonesia, for instance, where production of the bamboo biochar will be based. He is waiting for results from test fields in Australia, Mexico and South Africa. He envisions worldwide use for Geomite, starting with bulk applications in orchards and vineyards. He then would winnow down the product to the home market, selling 15kg bags for gardens.
Geomite Biomineral’s SMART 100 Application
The SMART 100 Winners List 2010