Fermenting for Health

When I first heard about permaculture I was drawn to how it provides tools for living in sync with the planet, as a designed approach with ethics and principles. What I wasn’t prepared for was how it could be applied to so many aspects of life. So, when I was introduced to lactofermentation it was no surprise that it did the same thing, but on a microbial level: we have a gut food web similar to the soil food web, which can be nourished, maintained or killed by the choices we make.

Consuming fermented foods and drinks promotes diversity of gut microbes, builds resilience in our immune function and has other benefits. Fermenting uses microbes in, on and around us to create foods that benefit our gut and bodies: microbes consume sugars and create enzymes and vitamins, and perform other digestive functions.

During fermentation beneficial microbes work together, sometimes as a colony referred to as a culture or a ‘symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeasts’ (SCOBY). We can manipulate the fermenting environment to favour the desired outcome, for example to preserve food.