About Thomas Rippel
I am a bio-dynamic farmer working as part of a community of practical idealists on the community supported agriculture Luzernenhof. I am also active as the Project Manager Fundraising Operations of the cooperative Kulturland Genossenschaft. The cooperative is a land-trust with the aim to turn agricultural land into a modern commons. The cooperative buys agricultural land with the money of its members and leases it out to socially engaged organic farms like Luzernenhof. As of early 2018, 110 hectares of land have been secured for 10 farms.
I am the co-founder of OpenCrowdInvest.org, a crowd-investing platform specifically dedicated to commons projects. A pitot fundraising campaign for a farm managed to raise more than 1 million Euros to completely fund the farm (commonsinvest.Luzernenhof.de). A second pilot crowd-investing campaign is active at https://crowdinvest.solawi-trebbow.de
I am also the co-founder of Terrafina.org. Terrafina (as of October 2018 it will be known as the Land Commons Federation) aims to create the conditions for farmland being treated as a commons all over the world. Farmland is no longer to be treated as a tradable commodity, but is rather as a good shared by humanity. Farmers who are the most responsible stewards possible for the soil, the plants and the animals are to be given access to these new commons. Terrafina is a federation of land stewardship organisations, aiming to create fintech infrastructure to further the aim of creating land commons. Terrafina aims to create a land-backed stable-value cryptocurrency, providing farmland stewardship organisations with access to large amounts of interest-free capital.
I grew up in Austria and Hungary and studied economics, environmental engineering, Chinese and Positive Psychology at the University of Melbourne, Sichuan University, University of Nottingham Ningbo China and the University of Pennsylvania. In my early 20s, I took a timeout to live and work on an organic farm in Switzerland. Those three months changed my life and set me on a path that I am still pursuing passionately today: Working with my hands in the soil. I re-connected with the world in a way that I hope I can share with many more people around me.
In 2011 I launched a the non-for-profit Organic Standard with the goal of creating a financial incentive for farmers to improve their soil fertility through CO2 offset certificates. I initiated several sustainable farming projects in Switzerland as well as being involved in EU financed agricultural projects. In these projects I explored several approaches to manure treatment, composting and the use of biochar. Some of my projects have been profiled on Swiss, German and Spanish national television, as well as in print by journals and newspapers such as the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Tages Anzeiger, Blick an Abend, The Atlantic or La Contra.
I completed a 5-year vocational training to become a certified organic farmer in Switzerland and subsequently wrote my thesis on composting and biodynamic preparations, completing an advanced degree in bio-dynamic farming (Fachmann für biodynamische Landwirtschaft).