Free the Microbes

This one is going to be a little heavy. So we suggest you brew yourself a fresh cuppa of Araku before you read on. (And make it strong, believe us, you are going to need it!)

Last week, the citizens of our country turned pages and looked back at the history. The nation reminisced about its ancestors, and proudly honoured their spirit. In the joy of attaining freedom, the inhabitants of a nation claimed what was rightfully theirs – their land, their home.

Today we are talking about life below the soil, which is now threatened with erosion for its living, binding element – the microbes. They are being decimated. The focus is on humankind’s greatest and oldest friends, the microbes.

Microbes (commonly known as microorganisms) exist everywhere – in soil, plants, rivers, and even on and inside the human body. Soil microorganisms, particularly bacteria and fungi affect soil health, plant growth and by consequence the food we consume.

As the world conscience has grown and matured to feel the need to protect the oceans, rivers, animals and other precious inhabitants of the planet above the ground, today, as our knowledge refines itself into the invisible world of microbes, we need to seek justice for the vital contribution of bacteria and fungi for the Earth’s future welfare. They are our past partners, our ancestors, our very origin - they are our future too.

Free the Microbes


9/10ths of us comprise of microbes and there are more microbes in a teaspoon of soil than there are people on earth. We are outnumbered and we need to live in harmony with these tiny symbiotic friends of ours.


Microbes inside the soil are living entities. Short-sighted agricultural practices such as indiscriminate use of chemical fertilisers can deplete soil carbon and starve microbial life. This also effects plant quality and the natural nutrients vital to their healthy existence. In short, plants need a rich microbial soil life to be healthy! And for us to get (nutritious) food.


Think of microbes as a factory where production for the plant’s requirement is fulfilled. A nitrogen fixing bacteria, for instance, converts atmospheric nitrogen to available nitrogen that is essential for plant growth.These microbial communities come together to provide important nutrients to the host plant.

Soil microbes are also critical for decomposing organic matter in the soil, ensuring soil nutrients are recycled and replenished. If it wasn’t for microbes, our planet would be one big undecomposed garbage heap. Ever wondered what the sweet smell after rains in summer is? It’s called petrichor – and comes from microbes!

Here is a short video featuring David Hogg, Chief Agriculture Advisor of Araku Coffee decoding the relationship between plants and microbes…

“Our agriculture is all about relationships - of farmer to his land, of Naandi’s partnership but more than anything the nurturing of the coffee bushes’ relationship to the soil and environment. This is the Organic+ method - nurturing relationships.

Take Ms Cherry, the verdant coffee bush. She is a child of the forest and depends on her surrounding tree companions to elegantly shade her from too much sun but not too little. Ms Cherry is rooted to the earth but she has a marvellous relationship with her entire natural world. Because she is a certified O+ gal, she is vibrant and alive to the seasons and their rhythms. Since Cherry is 70% water she feels the rhythms of the moon and has her monthly cycles all sorted. And because she is fed just the right amount of organic nitrates from her roots she is not drunk with the ghastly artificial N salts the way her unfortunate far distant relatives are force fed. Cherry has this constant conversation with Mike the soil mychorrizal with whom she associates ever so affectionately. Her roots are jealously protected by Mike because he gets all his sugars and starches from Cherry via Claire the Chlorophyll through a marvellous bio-Carbon exchange. Sugars and starches flow all the way through Cherry’s veins to sustain Mike and he lovingly returns the favour by supplying all the vitamins and minerals to keep her strong. Most importantly all Cherry’s bright red progeny are full of rich sugars and subtle tastes that reward cherry’s farmer family guardians.

These myriad forest relationships bring Culture and prosperity to this functional food forest and exemplify Organic+ Araku Way.”

Are you convinced to buy yourself some award-winning coffee now, especially one that nurtures nature!