… & How Dirt Heals Us!

…The Prime Ingredient is LOVE!

My Love Affair with Soil (some call it dirt) came upon me, like Mother Earth’s many Lovers, came to me as a child… working in the black fresh garden soils, and in the neighborhood fields digging in the dirt creating holes for various fun activities in the varying brown sub-layers after removing the wild grass and weed clumps of deep black humus. The humus always had a pleasant and fond, almost intoxicating, aroma for me. It was teeming full with roots, bugs, worms …all of various and interesting sizes, shapes. and textures. Unknown to me at the time was the various multitude of the microbiotic Unseen Universe within which fostered and nurtured all that abundance.

Allow me to share with You some of what I have learned since then as my Love with soil was enhanced. I’ll begin with some statements by Dr Daphne Miller who sums up some of my learnings in her own words. She is a family physician, writer, and associate professor at U.C. San Francisco. Her latest book is “Farmocology: What Innovative Family Farming Can Teach Us About Heath and Healing”.

{Emphasis added in bolding, italics, underling, or words in these brackets { } are that of the blog poster, L’iv}


by Dr. Daphne Miller M.D.

This is the title to a “YES!” magazine article from Winter 2014 (pages 26-28)

“Whether it is homegrown or from a local farm,
I do mention to my patients that they should think twice
before peeling or scrubbing their farm bounty.
After all, who knows what beneficial bacteria
might be coming along for the ride

Dr. Miller goes on to say: “… this is because I’m discovering just how much this rich dark substance influences the day–to-day health of my patients, I’m even beginning to wonder whether Hippocrates was wrong, or at least somewhat misguided, when he proclaimed, “Let food be thy medicine.” Don’t get me wrong — food is important to our health. But it might be the soil where our food is grown,  than the food itself, that offers us the real medicine.”

“…I now tell my patients that food grown in well-treated {with microbial cultures of Mother Earth, rather than chemical fertilizers} soil might offer distinct advantages when it comes to scoring the best nutrients and building a healthy immune system.”

Most, not all of “…the healthiest farms …can’t afford organic certification who are implementing the practices of eco-farming, practices that have been shown to produce a rich soil and a thriving microbial population.” {USDA Certification costs are upward of $27,000 per year. The USDA Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsak, was among the first Governors to approve the use of Genetically Modified Organism, (“GMO”), and in 2005 as Governor of Iowa he signed Bill 642 which banned local from regulating the planting of GMO seeds and crops. In 2001 the Biotechnology Industry organization named him “Governor Of The Year” and as an Iowa Senator, Vilsak promoted, and still does promote, the business of Monsanto, Dupont, ConAgra and destructive policies and practices of Big Agra, which kill off the healthy microbes in the soil, in favor of toxic chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, and anti-biotics that have severely eliminated the former high quality and condition of our soil, hence the animal and plant life on Mother Earth, hence our food, hence or bodies.}

Dr. Miller also states in the article “Does the farmer live on the farm? Farmers who live on their land and feed their family from it tend to care fore their soil as if it were a family member. Going to farmers markets and joining CSA (community supported agriculture) are reliable ways to get this type of produce, and supermarkets are beginning to support local farmers. Remember, the more we demand it, the more they will carry it. …Of course, another option is to grow your own food. Eating fresh grown food from healthy soil is not an all or nothing proposition, and even a daily handful of herbs from a container garden can have positive impact on our health.”

How We Can Bring Our Soil
Back To Vibrant Health

As I and time moved along from my Grandparents’ garden of the 1950’s, the quality of the soils and foods declined. This is predominantly due to our “mainstream agricultural practices such as:

• Ignoring the way Nature does her marvelous and seemingly magical creation. and allowing Human egos THINKING THEY KNOWS BETTER than the Creative Source of All.

• Plowing – exposing soil sun, winds, run-off rains, etc. by removing the nurturing protective cover of various vegetation (weeds, grasses, wildflowers, etc.) thru plowing. Plowing leaves the soil exposed from harvest until the next crop is planted. Even thru this spring planting, awaiting harvest, much of the soil between crops and rows of crops is left exposed. Proper ground covers between these are essential for vibrant soil.

• One crop (monoculture) mega-farms do not allow for the essential mix of truly natural ingredients offered in diverse vegetation plantings.

• Burning of plant life in the fields is a waste of resources, rather than mowing/cutting and allow them to put their nutients and microbes back into the soil. ..Or even removing them to compost in other areas.

• Fungicides, pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, fabricated or conditioned fertilizers and minerals, etc. CAN NEVER DO WHT NATURE DOES BEST.

It was in 1981 that I was able to again move strongly into my research and implementation of principles of naturally nurturing the soils in my gardening and farming delights. Of my continuing Life’s LOVE’s is having my hands deep in the dark microbe rich soils, or catching a fruit as it is released from its tree at the moment of full ripeness.

I could go on and on and on with this topic, so I will keep it in a very brief outline with some commentary and a few live links, to get you started.

In general:
>>> Nothing works as well as Nature’s ways…letting the Creative Force take care of it’s own. If man has to do something, let it be to mimic what truly goes on in process by Nature’s intentions and effects.

>>> This inner-related and integrated processes of Mulching, Composting, Biodynamics and Permaculture all produce what is called “Humus” (a dark brown/black-ish organic component of soil that is derived from decomposed plant and animal remains and animal excrement) which if full of healthy microbes for the full food chain. Protect and regenerate this precious essential component of healthy soil.

>>> KNOW YOUR SOURCES OF MATERIALS AND USE ONLY TRUSTED AND VERIFIED SOURCES. There are various chemicals present in dyes, inks, “mainstream” agricultural products, fertilizers, insecticides and pesticides, that kill the Humus and other necessary life forms such as birds, bees, insects, worms, good bacteria, etc.

>>> NEVER USE GENETICALLY MODIFIED MATERIALS as that DNA will be absorb in what You are doing and eventually, through the food chain move into your plant materials, then into your food and body.

>>> BE CAUTIOUS about getting vegetation clippings and other materials from public areas, or government and commercial areas, such as shopping centers and office complexes and apartment buildings/complexes, as the maintenance crews are probably using Monsanto Round-Up or other deadly herbicides and pesticide.

One purpose of mulching is to cover the ground to keep the sun from coming in and thus hindering grass and plant growth to happen. Moisture occurs under the mulch as decomposing happens. Leaves and other vegetation are used for this. Paper, cardboard, jute bags (usually from coffee, rice, beans, etc.) need to be used with caution as they may contain toxic chemicals from dyes, inks, fertilizers, etc. Refrain from plastics, paper and cardboards if You are seeking “organic”/ natural mulch. Plastics will leach chemicals. Done in Nature’s ways, mulch over time will become superbly microbe enriched.

Composting is quite easy, and depending on the method(s) You use to break down your table wastes and other vegetation wastes. Some methods of composting require turning the compost occasionally as the interior heat builds up with the dissolving of matter and creation of certain unseen microbes. Remember to keep your “non-chemical” wastes separate from foods that are from using chemical fertilizers. If you do not know, then ask questions of someone who does. The “chemical compost” can be used on non-edible shrubs & flowers, however, you may chose to throw it out with the trash TO AVOID KILLING OFF as animals, worms and microbes will be ingesting the chemicals from such compost.

Get a free online download, or read it online, from National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service https://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/viewhtml.php?id=290 “Biodynamic Farming & Composting Preparation”.

“Everything You Know About Composting is Wrong: Mike McGrath-TEDxTalks”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9OhxKlrWwc 17min22sec
“Compost king: Paul Sellew at TEDxBoston” 14m41s

Worm Farming:
I recommend that You combine composting with worm farming. Here’s a video of a fellow just getting started in worm farming with some suggestions from his worm guru. It has some good pointers. NOTE: There is a 1min15sec screen read at the beginning of this 14m 05sec video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uC62Rqys9SY . There are several other videos on Youtube.com This link will take You to a supplier: http://organicworemfarm.com

I have seen a plastic apparatus that was 4-5 levels high (about 3 1/2 feet tall) that some folks would put out on their porch in the summer and in their kitchen in the cold months to keep the worms from freezing. IOt is very clean and efficient! The kitchen sorted leftovers would be added into a bin which is above the bin the worms are currently feeding in. As they complete their feastin below, the worms climb up to the next level to get at it. They leave behind the lower bin which they just filled with worm castings, complete with nutritional microbes, etc for the soil. The other bins were are for stacking. It’s so clean and convenient to have it remain inside or on the porch until it is desirable to empty the casting bins, except the one the worms were currently active in, of course. ;>)

“The Grassroots Guide to Worm Composting and Local Food: Cassandra Santori at TEDxSanAntonio” 6m44s http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0vWgBYwgE8

A great source is the Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Institute. RE-thinking Agriculture https://www.biodynamics.com/
From their website:
“Biodynamic farmers strive to create a diversified, balanced farm ecosystem that generates health and fertility as much as possible from within the farm itself. Preparations made from fermented manure, minerals and herbs are used to help restore and harmonize the vital life forces of the farm and to enhance the nutrition, quality and flavor of the food being raised. Biodynamic practitioners also recognize and strive to work in cooperation with the subtle influences of the wider cosmos on soil, plant and animal health.”

“Biodynamic Origins – In the early 1920s, a group of practicing farmers, concerned with the decline in the health of soils, plants and animals, sought the advice of Rudolf Steiner, founder of anthroposophy, who had spent all his life researching and investigating the subtle forces within nature. From a series of lectures and conversations held at Koberwitz, Germany (now in Poland) in June 1924, there emerged the fundamental principles of biodynamic farming and gardening, a unified approach to agriculture that relates the ecology of the farm-organism to that of the entire cosmos. This approach has been under development in many parts of the world ever since. Dr. Ehrenfried Pfeiffer, who worked with Dr. Steiner during the formative period, brought biodynamic concepts to the United States in the 1930s. It was during this period that the Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association was founded in 1938.”

What is Biodynamics? https://www.biodynamics.com/biodynamics.html
Why Biodynamics is important?: https://www.biodynamics.com/why-biodynamics-is-important
Rudolph Steiner, the Father of biodynamics: https://www.biodynamics.com/steiner.html
The Josephine Porter Institute offering biodynamic microbiotic formulae from Rudolph Steiner’s work. “About Biodynamics” http://www.jpibiodynamics.org/taxonomy/term/26
The mission of the Josephine Porter Institute (JPI) is to heal the earth through production of quality biodynamic preparations, and to advance education and research in biodynamic methods. We are dedicated to supporting farmers and gardeners in their practice of biodynamics.” http://www.jpibiodynamics.org/about_jpi

“The word “permaculture” was coined and popularized in the mid 70’s by David Holmgren, a young Australian ecologist, and his associate / professor, Bill Mollison. It is a contraction of “permanent agriculture” or “permanent culture.” Permaculture is about designing ecological human habitats and food production systems. It is a land use and community building movement which strives for the harmonious integration of human dwellings, microclimate, annual and perennial plants, animals, soils, and water into stable, productive communities. The focus is not on these elements themselves, but rather on the relationships created among them by the way we place them in the landscape. This synergy is further enhanced by mimicking patterns found in nature.

“A central theme in permaculture is the design of ecological landscapes that produce food. Emphasis is placed on multi-use plants, cultural practices such as sheet mulching and trellising, and the integration of animals to recycle nutrients and graze weeds. However, permaculture entails much more than just food production. Energy-efficient buildings, waste water treatment, recycling, and land stewardship in general are other important components of permaculture.

“Permaculture has expanded its purview to include economic and social structures that support the evolution and development of more permanent communities, such as co-housing projects and eco-villages. As such, permaculture design concepts are applicable to urban as well as rural settings, and are appropriate for single households as well as whole farms and villages. “Integrated farming” and “ecological engineering” are terms sometimes used to describe permaculture, with “cultivated ecology” perhaps coming the closest.” ~ The above 3 paragraphs are from: http://www.permacultureactivist.net/intro/PcIntro.htm

Bill Mollison, A pioneering father of Permaculture:
“Permaculture is a design system for creating sustainable human environments.”
Bill’s site promotes permaculture, not Bill: http://www.tagari.com/

Geoff Lawton: Geoff is one of the most knowlegable and very highly respected within permaculture. Geoff studied from and taught permaculture along side Bill Mollison. As Bill cut back in global teaching, Geoff stepped forward to move it along. Get it straight form the mind and heart of Geoff with these links.
Permaculture: Geoff Lawton at TEDxAjman 18m3s
Geoff:“GREENING THE DESERT” 37m9s http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K1rKDXuZ8C0
Free videos offered by Geoff: http://www.geofflawton.com/sq/15449-geoff-lawton
Geoff Lawton’s newsletter: http://permaculturenews.org/author/geoff%20lawton/

Bill Wilson: of http://MidwestPermaculture.com
“Bill Wilson-Introduction to Permaculture” 1m17s http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ON847FYGwXg
Bill presents an excellent “Intro to Permaculture” online “slideshow” 1 1/2 hour webinar in 18 segment classes. “Intro to Permaculture 1 – What is Permaculture” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGEwhBNf8TQ Ww feel so highly of Bill’s intodction webinar that we recommended it in “Land Resource Guide”.

Permaculture Research Institute has “chapters” around the globe. Search online for one closest to your area.
Permaculture articles by Paul Wheaton: http://www.richsoil.com/

Brix Values: See our blogpost of December 9, 2013: “Grow Your Own Nutrition! ~ by soil balancing minerals, microbes, enzymes, and pH.”
High Brix Gardens {and Farms} is all about helping you improve your health by growing the highest quality produce. { For a detailed look at the concept of brix, see link at bottom of Dec 9, 2013 blogpost/article. This article is reprinted from http://www.highbrixgardens.com/grow-your-own-nutrition.html }

The Prime Ingredient is LOVE!

The “Findhorn Garden” story provides us with the utmost ingredient to fostering healthy vibrant foods and soils. It is the Magic of LOVE!

Around 1982, I read the original book about their experiences, “The Findhorn Garden” by Dorothy Maclean, a co-founding resident/ participant, tells of her experiences, along with those of the other co-founders, Peter and Eileen Caddy (and their young children). She relates wonderous adventures and experiences of those early years in the Creation of the original Findhorn Garden community. “The Findhorn Garden”, originally published in the 1970s, is still out of print the last time I checked. The garden’s harvests were, and continue to be, amazing in quality, quantity, and size of the vegetables, fruits and herbs.

When asked how they were able to grow this in the sandbar, they answered LOVE!
LOVE as they tilled the soil,
LOVE as they planted and watered the seeds.
LOVE as they received their harvest.

Over time, the sands of the coastline transitioned into healthy microbial garden soils. and now their and several adjacent communities of hundreds, perhaps thousands of kindred spirits. View http://www.findhorn.org/aboutus/vision/history/ to get a capsule of what went on.

Nothing I have read since that original book by Dorothy captures how LOVE transformed a sandbar on the North Atlantic coast of Scotland to a bountiful prosperous community of “Guardians” for the soil and plant kingdoms”.

Consult our fuller “Table of Contents” appearing in “Land Resource Guide” http://LandResourceGuide.com , rather than the “Table of Contents tab” on the blogsite.  The blogsite Table of Contents is an abbreviation of the more info and links among the Land Resource Guide’s 500+ live links and pages.

Come back to the blog on occasion for updated info and new topics. Our library of info is ever expanding. We just need more assistance to move things along to the blogsite and supplements to the original Land Resource Guide.

Live LOVE …and Prosper!!!
End of Article


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