If we will have the wisdom to survive,
to stand like slow growing trees
on a ruined place, renewing, enriching it…
then a long time after we are dead
the lives our lives prepare will live
here, their houses strongly placed
upon the valley sides…
The river will run
clear, as we will never know it…
On the steeps where greed and ignorance cut down
the old forest, an old forest will stand,
its rich leaf-fall drifting on its roots.
The veins of forgotten springs will have opened.
Families will be singing in the fields…
Memory, native to this valley, will spread over it
like a grove, and memory will grow
into legend, legend into song, song
into sacrament. The abundance of this place,
the songs of its people and its birds,
will be health and wisdom and indwelling
light. This is no paradisal dream.
Its hardship is its reality.
We’re in trouble. Our over-reliance on fossil fuels and our taste for foods with a high carbon footprint is causing disruptive climate change. Our throwaway society has flooded the land and seas with plastic pollution. And we face a growing public health crisis triggered by the rise of disease-causing microbes that we cannot kill with antibiotics.
Now for the good news. Living Ground is entering the busy-ness of selling food…but our primary intention to provide a system where people can have ready and affordable access to gut food – that is food grown in microbe rich soils.
Our guts are a real brain. They form part of an intelligent control system which manages our bodies, particularly our appetite and so decides how much and what food we want to eat and how much and where we store fat. Our guts are also home to the bulk of our immune system. Poor guts health is at the source of modern chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity and its related heart attacks, dementia etc. A health gut is really important.
But to have a healthy gut means we need the right biology in the first place and we need to feed it the right sort of food. When people find out how gut food is grown the whole idea puts most people off, which is why you can’t buy gut food from the supermarket or in a bottle from the chemist.
Healthy gut biology starts in the guts of creatures that live in the soil. Read that again! This microbe biology passes from the guts of the microbes and into the plants where if we eat them soon after they are harvested they will enter out guts and the plants will provide them with food so they will flourish.
We, and all animals, have been doing this for millions of years but the whole idea is totally at odds with our modern antiseptic society so eating gut food will always be for a minority group. And, humans will diminish! We can not duplicate Nature as much as science and technology tries.
We know how to grow gut food, you have to have soil which is full of creature of the soil. To feed the creatures, the soils must be full of organic matter. We don’t have to be concerned with minerals..there is plenty of that!
And we have to avoid chemicals which will harm the beneficial biology – modern chemicals may not hurt us but they can be a disaster for micro-biology. And, I will add that Natural insecticides also are harmful.
And we have to eat the plants shortly after they are harvested before the beneficial biology dies.
All this is a more expensive process than modern chemical industrial farming and supermarket system and to many people quite revolting, which is why we don’t see gut food products on super market shelves.
Good and nourishing food is really about growing food to feed our brain. To do that we have to feed the microbes that already are living in our gut – that’s a pre-biotic.
But we also have to breed new microbes in the soil, which will go into the plants that we will eat and hence from part of our gut brain – that’s a pro-biotic.
To breed these microbes we have to feed and water them – for that we need plants that take the energy from the sun and covert it into microbe food. The plant will exchange this food for the food it needs. So, the microbes go get the plants food. Now the snag is that there are good bugs which will make us strong and healthy and bad bugs which at best just want to use as a comfy home to breed in – but unfortunately they often get it wrong and kill us.
To breed the good bugs – without the bad bugs taking over – we have to manage the conditions, which means food and water. The good bugs like oxygen and a little water….but not too wet (aerobic) while the bad bugs breed when it is wetter and no oxygen (anaerobic). How is oxygen transported in the human and what does it need to transport oxygen? Iron. But parasites love stored iron. Is this a rabbit hole or what?
Let’s get to the nitty gritty of true health! That means a paradigm shift. It is a 360 on our beliefs about health and microbes. Well, remember, Douglas Adams wrote : “The answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything is 42.” We probably only know 5% or less of how Nature works..but we do have some good information to change our ways NOW. And, NOW IS THE TIME TO DO IT!!!
On January 6th, the dream and vision of Living Ground ~ Suelo Vivo was presented to the community here in Southern Ecuador. The intention was to share hope that, together, we could actually enact a solution to the state of affairs we are all facing and enduring. I do feel many of us know what the problem is. Here is a solid “soilution”!
Are we ready?!
A US Foundation (whose intention is global food sovereignty) gifted us with a tractor and a Mighty Mike Microbe Compost turner. A huge gift that enables us to make massive amounts of biologically rich compost. The Foundation’s name is “River of Kindness” So, we have the equipment. Over the past two years, I have been in actively studying and applying experiential knowledge of the teachings of Dr Elaine Ingham (www.soilfoodweb.com). We have the knowledge. We have negotiated a long term lease on land and a potential to purchase two parcels. We have the land. Now, we need the team and the financial means to make this happen. Call me crazy, but I see it all coming together easily.
As I shared in the presentation on January 6th (see video below), I have no intention of “running” a business nor do I wish too. BUT THIS IS IMPORTANT. I would much prefer to walk next to others in this dream as a group. So, I am giving it my best shot to inspire others to collaborate. If it doesn’t work, I just make a lot of compost and share with clients who want to regenerate in a small scale. We are gearing up to do a fundraiser and that will be announced soon.
THE PODS & LEADERS
We need leaders to rise with intention and focus. At the workshop, many did sign up for PODs. This is an amazing opportunity at so many levels. Not only can we regenerate the soils and remove the harmful chemicals and sprays seeping into our food system, we can harvest amazing results at all levels of existance from the smallest of the microbes to the human being. We can reduce farmers/growers input costs; we can reduce water needs; we can increase crop yields; and, my favourite, we can ensure plants have nutritional fullness (human health). This Operation Microbes means everyone wins (profits). It really is a win/win/win!
have a location that is producing live microbe rich composts, teas and extracts that will be spread locally and beyond.
have a large greenhouse for medicinal and rare plants
a market stand and hang out with elixirs, tonics, medicinal spices, herbs and foods.
we will sell only products produced in microbe soils. Growers can sell their produce all year round.
we will create a full-blown active soil microscope laboratory.
we will help growers convert to microbes and away from chemicals
we will help targeted growers to grow plants for essential oils and purchase their plants to make the essential oils in a distillery.
we will have a workshop area and train, teach and guide regeneration
we will help growers produce more and reduces costs.
we will gain our health and microbiome strength from the foods grown in microbe rich soils.
we will create art around the microbes and sell T-Shirts and Base Ball Caps with microbe art and “I love shit” (spanish and english).
It will be an education center, hang out, and fully alive business. Everyone will win. Profit sharing is horizontal so everyone benefits.
Can you see it?
Here is a view of the presentation in English and Spanish (and, sorry, it announces this is January 22nd…I really do not know what the date is anymore…it was January 6th).
For the creation of Living Ground, Suelo Vivo, to happen, we need to rise and educate POD leaders. That was the intention of the presentation. There are nine PODS each having equal worth to the bigger whole. All PODS are formed on the foundation of the “good guy” microbes. Whether it be the compost makers, testers (lab techs), growers, artists, gourmet market operators, distillery creators (essential oils) they all connect to the infusion and presence of the microbes. We are mearly the creative force in the “soil food web” rising its’ importance (foundational) so all thrive and benefit.
The Operations Microbe goal is rise up and inspire 2 POD leaders for each section (preferably one local and one gringo) who will be fully trained and mentored in the creation process. The leaders will be linked together to ensure all teams are working with integrity, empowerment and inspiration. Each leader will be trained in Tools and Art of Sacred Commerce. All training will be offered freely in exchange of the commitment to make this happen.
It is my commitment to offer all training (whether in the operations and understanding of the microbes, soil food web or sacred commerce) to all those who show up. If the team member chooses not to continue with the creation, there will be an agreement made that training costs will be reimbursed. There really does need to be a common vision and a selfless commitment towards this creation. My effort will be given and shared only for those who really do want to put this dream into action.
For those who attended the workshop on January 6th and signed up for the PODS, you have been added to the mailing and communication lists. If you are interested in a POD after watching the presentation video, please contact me EMAIL
We are now preparing to raise the necessary funds for “Operation Microbe” set-up. Here are the PODS…
Build Microbe Compost, Teas & Extracts.
Two Team Leaders (Gringo/Local)
Lab Techs ~ Microbe Testers
Laboratory Soil Testing of the Microbes
Two Team Leaders (Gringo/Local)
Off Site Consultancy to regenerate lands, farms and gardens. .
Two Team Leaders (Gring/Local) and a team of compost workers.
Must be fully trained in understanding the soil tests, compost and applications to regenerate land (including removal of toxins, chemicals and toxins)
One Team Leader with team
Creation of pure essential oils and operations of the stills. Bottlings and labeling
Onsite Gardener and Grower
On site part time
Potting of plants and seeds for sale
TiendaOperation ~ Microbe Sales
Two Team Members (Gringo and Local)
Operations of the Microbe Market that will showcase Microbe products and produce.
Tea/Tapa Bar and making of food and offerings.
Off Site Microbe Artists
Product makers but the base must be all products are connected to the microbes
Off Site Microbe Growers
Produce to sell in the Tienda/Market or used for Essential Oil making
…The Soil Biology Primer represents a new era in our agency’s soil science contributions to natural resource conservation. In the past we have focused primarily on the chemical and physical properties of soil . This publication highlights another integral component of soil , its biological features. The Primer explains the importance of biological functions for productive and healthy agricultural systems , range lands, and forest lands.
The Soil Biology Primer is intended for farmers, ranchers, agricultural profes sionals, resource specialists , students, teachers, and NRCS conservationists, specialists , and soil scientists as a reference for enhanced understanding of the critical functions performed by soil life. I hope you enjoy reading about the fascinating diversity of soil life under our feet and gain a deeper appreciation of the intrinsic value of soil organisms to sustainable civilizations . Protecting our Nation’s soil for future generations is of greatest importance.
It can take hundreds of years and many natural processes to make even a centimetre of soil. The mechanical and chemical weathering of rock makes up around half of any soil’s composition, with around 5% supplied by organic material, and the rest made up by air and water.
Put another way, soil is a complicated mix of both the non-organic, abiotic components- minerals, water and air, and the organic biotic components- bacteria, archaea, fungi, plants and invertebrates that live and die within it.
In addition, and bound together with any basic discussion about soil, is the reality of a living soil, the soil food web and soil biodiversity. Soil is a complex, sustainable and dynamic ecosystem, sustained through the complicated interaction of countless soil fauna like worms, woodlice, springtails, nematodes and mites, together with fungi and bacteria.
“Despite all our achievements, we owe our existence to a six-inch layer of topsoil and the fact that it rains.”
However, within a few generations, we have seen the world’s soils rapidly and increasingly degrade, losing nutrients, carbon and fertility, turning saline or actually blowing away. Crops are losing yield and not responding to NPK fertilisers. Fields and farms are being abandoned across much of the world, forcing even more poverty, suffering and human migration. This degrading is mostly human-driven, due to bad farming practices, pollution, acidification, compaction, deforestation and climate change across the world. It’s a sobering and worrying time. Soil biodiversity is dying, with soil fauna like springtails and soil mites reducing to almost zero. Worms are disappearing, fungal activity ceasing.
Soil scientists and farmers are finally being listened to. People are learning and gaining more knowledge and understanding. Research is now well funded and positive changes are being discussed at a governmental level and implemented on a regional and local level. Sustaining, improving and increasing soils is a lengthy and time consuming process, but no dig, microbe compost making and regenerative agriculture are showing great results. Feeding the soil rather than the plant has become a well known mantra amongst gardeners and organic growers. The ship may be sinking, but all is not lost.
Whoever you are and whoever you will become, tread lightly on the earth.”
There is an internet of nature that we are just beginning to understand. It is absolutely amazing and we are just beginning to understand and be able to measure. Together the soil food web and the trees work harmoniously. Here is a video which explains it very well, simply!
“A rainbow of soil is under our feet; red as a barn and black as a peat. It’s yellow as lemon and white as the snow; bluish gray. So many colors below. Hidden in darkness as thick as the night; The only rainbow that can form without light. Dig you a pit, or bore you a hole, you’ll find enough colors to well rest your soil.” — F.D. Hole, A Rainbow of Soil Words, 1985
From bacteria to fungi, snake-like mini worms, wobbly, jelly-like morphing cellules and hairy racing bubbles and balls the soil is alive, and when healthy, it teams with billions of microorganisms. These living organisms feed on tiny minerals specks, plant material and each other to release life. Their dance adds critical nutrients back into the earth. Without these critters, the soil is nothing other than “dirt”.
When land and gardens are poorly managed and soil is left uncovered, over tilled, and laden with natural and ago chemicals, the beneficial organisms die. What we have failed to understand is plants, bacteria and fungi have a signally system that will adjust for its’ own needs. When we force the pH and neglect and alter this language dance, the biology of the soil dissipates. This results in a poor quality soil that is unable to produce nutrient rich food. It is well recognised that soils are comprised of physical, chemical and biological properties. However, up until recently, there has been disproportionate attention given to the chemical and physical side of soils, without due respect given to the biological aspects. Even organic farmers and gardeners have unknowingly harmed the microbiome of the soil. Good news is we can reverse this with some understanding of what is going on in the soil food web.
Soil is a living, dynamic ecosystem comprising a complex diversity of life. This diversity is the basis of the fertility of our soil. Most of us actually have not experienced “food” that is fully alive and at its’ peak due to the biological infrastructure that created it. But, we are entering a new era of understanding soil as a function of it’s biology and about to understand the taste of nutrition.
Although chemical tests and geophysical analysis of soil are useful for certain circumstances and queries, biological analysis allows us to ecologically and effectively manage our agroecosystems. So how can we do this?
THE MAGIC OF LIFE UNDER THE MICROSCOPE
Microscope soil tests give us a glimpse into the magical world of soil microbiology that has previously been very abstract and difficult to interact directly with. You are able to see the fungi, protozoa, bacteria and nematodes that play such a vital role in the health of your soil with (relative) ease.
Analysing your soil in this way will allow you to:
Analyse the quality of your compost/ compost tea
Analyse compaction and anaerobic conditions
Find out about diseases before they become a problem
Find out about changes in your soil and how effective your techniques are
Analysing your soil can be as simple as bringing a sample to our lab for a look down the microscope. This gives us the information to figure out what management techniques are needed, which can then be administered and adjusted accordingly.
Analysing your soil in this way is efficient, effective and helps you to get more in touch with the biology in your own soils, enabling a deeper understanding of soil functioning. And, crucially, knowledge of your soil will empower you to make the right decisions for you, instead of being dependent on third parties that may not have your best interests at heart.
It is time we view and treat soil as a living being- in a traditionally regenerative manner – more biological activity is present., more biological activity is introduced. When organic matter is present, the soil can thrive and become the rainbow under our feet now and for generations to come.
It all depends how you look at it. “taking over everything” only logically is true when you look ay the fact that industrial chemical ag is what actually has already “taken over everything” and the unwanted side effects are what human hubris is guilty of picking on. Nature has its systems for cleaning up after itself. According to nature these trees are not worthy of survival. It is cold and it is a hard fact about nature which is unforgiving. Humans are the only species that work to ensure the weak survive. Humanity is based on compassion which strives to give everyone a quality of life no matter what. It is a truly beautiful thing about human nature to do that. But it also means we don’t understand that nature is brutal and about strength and numbers only. We just don’t get it.
Allowing it to do its job means not interfering with practices such as tilling, and certainly not the poisonous practices of injecting fracking 600+ chemicals into the soil by the energy industry, polluting water wells, polluting agricultural land, having cows die, using the big ag chemicals etc.
If all the people, who fight for world hunger, poverty, climate change, could understand what Dr Elaine pioneered in her research, and is called “soil”, this world would place Dr Elaine on all billboards along the freeways and other places, and sing her praises. Once you fix the soil, you fix food problem, you fix nutrition problems which would eliminate many health problems, you fix air problem, you fix air pollution problems, you fix increasing trends in lung health problems, you name it. The solution for all this is in one word “soil”. In some ways it is ignorance in other ways it’s arrogance that people are “above” the soil, and feel entitled to destroy it. In fact, at the end of the day, these tiny creatures rule us. Talk later.
We especially don’t get it when our livelihood is failing because we aren’t managing the earth with respect, only with a desire for money. It is a hard lesson we are learning. Avocado crops failing, coffee plantations failing, bananas gone sterile. Wine grape crops no longer viable in many parts ot the old country.
This is penance for mankind’s action. I sound heartless by saying it but i believe this to be true. I also believe that if we were to respect mother nature she would also turn around our plight faster than we created it. It just requires a leap of faith and a devotion to be a part of the earth instead of to be on top of it all the time.