The health benefits of ionized water on humans and plants
Municipal water, filtered and partially ionized, is alkaline, and rich in electrons and cationic minerals. This drinking water, similar in its physical properties to mountain spring water at the source, has been shown to protect against free radical damage. Studies on the numerous health benefits of ionized water will be summarized. Case studies using live blood analysis show that drinking ionized water reduces blood cell stickiness, cell aggregation, early clotting, and improves the biological terrain of the body. Ionized water can be produced from electric ionizers or by vortexing water over stones of certain mineral compositions. Applications to agriculture will also be discussed.
Vegetable culture: A presentation of the practical details
Based on the experiences and lessons learned over 30 years as a commercial grower, Bryan will share in-depth the details and strategies of how you can achieve efficient, profitable, earth-friendly crop production in our current environment. Starting with tillage (or lack thereof), through to harvest and sales, he will offer insights and the specific systems he employs on his own farm - covering critical topics such as no-till, soil fertility, intensive cropping, winter production, fertilizers, composting, and harvest, as well as overcoming challenges such as weeds and insects. With his own successes as testimony, Bryan will present both strategies and critical details of how one can actually making a living with a few acres of vegetables, and that it can be done in a family-friendly manner that is also in harmonious relationship with nature.
Making a living in a life farming vegetables
In this workshop, the art of making a living in a life farming will be examined from the most expansive concepts of planning, spirituality, and observation of the elemental world, down to the details of crop production concepts such as no till, intensive crop production, composting, and fertility. The presentation will concentrate on how to focus efforts to meet the appropriate goals that result in not just profitability, but also health and happiness.
The production of nutrient dense animal protein is a regenerative process
This presentation will go beyond organic, to a more regenerative model of livestock production that is foundational to nutrient dense food. A model that not only produces a rich profile of phytonutrients and antioxidants, but also builds soil and sequesters carbon in the process. We will dig deep into the art and science of regenerative practices, what they are, how they work to improve soil, and the connectedness between soil life and the nutrient density of meat and milk. Enlivened soils, lush in biological diversity, that create sumptuous pasture forages, is the foundation to nutrient dense animal protein. We will also discuss where the organic standards fall short of this goal, how the organic dairy industry is at a crossroads, and what producers in the West have done through WODPA and CDFA to address some of these big issues.
Real Food Campaign
You are invited to be a part of the movement for Real Food! Join us for a half-day intensive with Real Food Campaign (RFC) leaders Dan Kittredge, Greg Austic and Lisa Stokke, along with other key allies and partners. We are eager to share with you the exciting progress we have made over the past year.
RFC Lab, Year 1 Report
The goal of RFC is to use data to incentivize markets to increase the nutrient density of our food supply. To accomplish that goal in the near term, we partner with BFA members who sample our food supply in real time on farms and in stores. In the long term, we hope to build a device to discern nutritional information, quickly and easily in fields and stores.
In the last year, we have made significant progress toward these goals. We have established a testing lab for soil and produce samples, and are making great strides toward defining nutrient quality. We have developed lab methods for testing produce (antioxidents, polyphenols, proteins, and minerals [Na --> U]) and for soil (soil carbon, soil respiration/biological activity, and minerals [Na --> U]). These test results are feeding the database that will help define nutrient density in crops.
In addition, we have built prototype devices for estimating nutritional density in the field, and are testing if/how it correlates to lab-measured nutritional data. More than a thousand produce and soil samples have been processed from the Midwest and Northeast US. This talk will outline the goals of the RFC, the process, results and lessons learned from 2018, our plans for 2019, and how BFA members, companies, universities, and farmers can take part next year. We hope to not only tell you what we've learned, but also learn from you, and identify points of collaboration to better utilize this powerful process we have developed together.
Beyond the science lab, we'll share how we're building the movement to increase awareness and support for these vital connections of soil, food and human and environmental health through dynamic social platforms that are the foundations for deep interaction and planetary change.
We also anticipate that a prototype version of our revolutionary hand held spectrometer, the “Bionutrient Meter”, will be made publicly available at this conference. Come be a part of history!
Introduction to soil minerals
For those new to, or feeling overwhelmed by, the concepts of regenerative agriculture, David will cover the methodology used when assessing soil mineral balance. Learn about interpreting soil test results, picking amendments, and some resources for plant scouting and identifying nutrient deficiencies in plants.
Agriculture in the 21st century
A conversation with Fred Kirschenmann, PhD
As we sit historically upon the precipice of impending planetary instability and recognize agriculture as the single most environmentally damaging human activity, what are the opportunities agriculture offers to help us manage these unprecedented challenges? Can agriculture be the solution that will regenerate our soil, ecosystem and health? Dr. Kirschenmann's experience as a leading voice that spans decades on developing resilience and adaptation in our food system will promise to be an engaging and insightful conversation on these vital issues. Moderated by Lisa Stokke.
The fourth phase of water
A central role in agriculture
School children learn that water has three phases: solid, liquid and vapor. We have recently uncovered a fourth phase that occurs next to water-loving surfaces. It is surprisingly extensive, projecting out from the surface by up to millions of molecular layer and its properties differ markedly from those of bulk water.
Of particular significance is the observation that this fourth phase is charged; and, the water just beyond is oppositely charged, creating a battery that can produce electrical current. We found that light charges this battery. Thus, water can receive and process electromagnetic energy drawn from the environment in much the same way as plants. Absorbed electromagnetic (light) energy can then be exploited for performing work, including electrical and mechanical work. Recent experiments confirm the reality of such energy conversion.
This energy-conversion framework seems rich with implication. Not only does it provide an understanding of how water processes solar and other energies, but also it may provide a foundation for simpler understanding natural phenomena ranging from weather and green energy all the way to biological issues such as the origin of life, transport, and osmosis.
The talk will present evidence for the existence of this novel phase of water — how come nobody's seen it before? — and will consider the potentially broad implications of this phase for natural health.
Real Food Campaign Lab
Year 1 report
The goal of RFC is to use data to incentivize markets to increase the nutrient density of our food supply. To accomplish that goal in the near term, we partner with BFA members who sample our food supply in real time on farms and in stores. In the long term, our goal is to build a device to discern nutritional information, quickly and easily in fields and stores. In 2018, we progressed both branches. First, we built a testing lab for soil and produce samples, developed lab methods for produce (antioxidants, polyphenols, proteins, and minerals (Na --> U)) and for soil (soil carbon, soil respiration (biological activity), and minerals (Na --> U)). In addition, we built prototype devices for estimating nutritional density in the field, and are testing if/how it correlates to lab-measured nutritional data. 1000+ produce and soil samples were processed from the midwest and northeast US. This talk with outline RFCs goals, the process, results and lessons learned from 2018, our plans for 2019, and how BFA members, companies, universities, and farmers can take part next year. We hope to not only tell you what we've learned, but also learn from you, and identify points of collaboration to better utilize this powerful process we have developed together.
Grain to grass
For many health conscious consumers of dairy products, eating 100% grass fed is all about their personal health as they strive to consume CLAs and replace standard omega 6 fats with omega 3s. The untold and unsung story of grass-based agriculture is its care for the Earth in this era of climate chaos. Jack and Anne Lazor made the switch to 100% grass fed dairy farming on May 1st 2016. Up until this point, Jack had been a major producer of grains for his Jersey cows as well as for humans. The road to a new type of dairy farming has been full of twists and turns as well as many pleasant surprises for Butterworks Farm. Jack will tell this story in detail during this workshop. He will explore organic no-till, soil health and his new found understanding of climate science as well as how "cows are saving the planet" on his farm.
The epigenetic role of phytonutrients on human health trajectory
Advances in human genomics in recent years have also helped advance the understanding of the role of nutrition in human health. We once thought our genes were our destiny, but it turns out that human health is more the result of interaction with the environment than a product of our family history.
With the tools now available to us in clinical genomics, we can use laboratory testing to better understand our genetic potential and create targeted and personalized plans to improve our health trajectory, a specialty referred to as Precision Lifestyle Medicine.
1. Basic primer in human epigenetics
2. Establish how phytonutrients affect epigenetic processes
3. Identify the role of SNPs and how foods can modulate DNA expression
4. Discuss specific examples of how plants can alter course of chronic disease
The rulers of underground make healthy soil for a healthy world
Plants, soils and the soil biota are the Rulers of the Underground. The dynamic interactions between these founding partners determine the basis for mineral nutrient dense food, clean water, purified air, and the wellness of our world. I like to think of farmers and land owners as the business partners or collaborators in facilitating the soil health revolution. In this session, you will be introduced to the key ruling families, what they do, and how we can work cooperatively with them to create healthy productive soils. We will also look at how plants provide the network, infrastructure and currency that determines the function of the below ground ecosystem, and how farmers and consumers can benefit. I will not be leaving out the grazers in the crowd. We will be deep diving into plant, soil and soil organism interactions (Applied Rhizosphere Ecology). In the second half of the session, we will learn about the new work we are doing linking soil health to nutrient dense food, and how we can use soil management practices to increase the nutrient density. The lesson here is that less often equals more. Lastly, I will give a specific example of how nutrient density might specifically influence human health. There will be some review, and then there will be lots of new research.
The principles and science of developing regenerative agriculture ecosystems
Essentially all soil and plant ecosystems are substantially degraded, to a point where we don't immediately recognize how severely they are malfunctioning. We don't have a frame of reference to know what “normal” actually looks like.
It is common for most crops to produce only 15-25% of the yield they are genetically capable of. It is common for many plants to photosynthesize at only 15-25% of their capacity in a 24 hour photo-period.
In this workshop, John will describe the principles and the science of regenerative farming ecosystems that harness much more of the energy coming into the system, and produce olympic athlete level performance. We already have the knowledge and information needed to increase soil and crop performance by several levels of magnitude. We simply need to implement what is already known.
We can develop regenerative agriculture eco-systems in which soil health is quickly regenerated, crop yields and quality constantly improve, pest pressure becomes less of a challenge, and crops are much more resilient to climate extremes. When a truly regenerative eco-system is functioning well, the need for external inputs becomes less and less.
In this discussion attendees will learn:
• The science of soil-plant synergy
• How to manage specific aspects of plant development and yield components. How to increase fruit or seed size, or how to increase the number of seed or fruit
• How plants get energy from sources other than photosynthesis
• How to prioritize cultural management practices and product applications to produce the greatest ecosystem response.
• How to develop disease suppressive soil by managing crop and cover crop rotations
• How to monitor a crops nutritional integrity through the growing season
• Why insects and diseases are attracted to crops with specific nutritional profiles, and how to prevent them
This is not an entry level workshop. We are assuming a foundational understanding of managing soil fertility and crop health. In this course, John will be describing how to achieve a much higher plateau of soil and plant performance. This workshop will provide an explanation of the science needed to grow 500 bushel corn, and 20-60% yield increases of many fruit and vegetable crops.
What will our food production and distribution systems look like in the future? How will we produce, harvest, process, transport, store, and purchase our food? We live in a rapidly changing world and these systemic changes have an impact on our current and future agricultural models. What are the possibilities for reduced pesticide use, access to land, and localized food resources?
John will describe emerging trends and where food systems and agriculture are moving in the near future. He will talk about how the desire for high quality crops is already changing large scale fruit and vegetable production. Emerging technologies can be expected to radically disrupt current crop production practices. Become conversant about where agriculture is headed and share his enthusiasm for a more just and resilient agriculture.
Cultural and nutritional management priorities
In recent decades the information and knowledge base around regenerative agriculture management systems has grown very rapidly. This knowledge base is necessarily based around thinking of the entire farm as an incredibly complex ecosystem. Because of the diverse amount of information which is important and valuable, it can become a bit overwhelming to process it all. How do we determine what the priorities are for our farm? Will we get the best response from remineralizing our soils? Should we consider microbial inoculants and biostimulants? Or do we ignore these until we first get our soils covered with growing plants and cover crops?
In this presentation, John will describe the relative impact of various cultural management practices, and their hierarchy of importance. Nutrient and soil amendment applications, microbial products, cover crops, and other factors all have co-dependencies. Understanding these inter-dependencies can help us choose the products, and develop synergistic stacks, which can improve crop performance and soil health the most rapidly with the least amount of input.
Spinning, coalescing gasses, magma and rock
The rest of time is soil history
There is but one soil. It is in motion over time. It includes the ocean, the land, and the sky.
That said, each particular farm exists in this moment of its very specific soil history.
Using the discipline of soil taxonomy to inform fundamental assessments about bio-potential of any soil. We will emphasize practical and cost effective management and amendment strategies to optimize self-organizing potentials of that soil.
Soil Science divides all of the soils in the world into 39 pedogenic (from the Greek: pedon, soil or earth and genesis: birth or origin) horizons.
"They may be separated into favorable and unfavorable with respect to their suitability for biota. Favorable conditions are generally common in 12 out of 39 diagnostic horizons and properties (32%). They are mainly influenced by biotic fluxes and cycles, which are comparable to, or exceed, abiotic fluxes and cycles in their strength and capacity. In this case, biota transforms and improves the environment rather than adapts to it. Unfavorable conditions are more common in 27 out of 39 diagnostic horizons and properties (68%). They are influenced by the mutual action both of biotic and abiotic fluxes and cycles. In this case, biota adapts to the environment rather than improves it." *
This quote above suggests that most soils (68%) will need intervention to their physio-chemical structures to optimize their support for the biota that will achieve the highest levels of food quality that the solar opportunity presents.
Discussion will include some cautionary pushback to the tyrannies of taxonomy and some deep history of photosynthesis to the present day will be explored.
Soil biological regeneration builds resilient and healthy systems
A regenerative agricultural system takes a whole systems approach to eco-functional intensification to produce abundant, nutrient-dense food while maintaining or enhancing ecosystems services. Integrated, innovative and dynamic farming systems are implemented that link plants and soil to cycle energy and resources driven by photosynthesis. Cover crops, companion crops, perennials, silvopastures, shrubs, adaptive grazing, residue management, and reduced soil disturbance build resilience against climatic uncertainty. This system improves the nutritive quality in food by enhancing the production of biomolecules such as polyphenolics and antioxidants by soil microbes and/or plants that will allow the gut microbiome to process nutrients critical to human health.
It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one destiny, affects all indirectly. — Martin Luther King Jr., Christmas Eve Sermon, 1967
A roadmap to advancing regenerative agriculture through a focus on human health
In the evolving efforts to produce abundant, nutrient-dense food at a low cost to consumers but higher profit margin to producers while not adversely impacting ecosystem services and having the resiliency to thrive under climatic uncertainty, new "catch" phrases, terminology, and labeling standards are being purposed. In the end, how do these words get us to where we want to be, or maybe a better question is where do we want to be.
It started with words like "conservation" and "sustainability", but those words have lost their meaning as many conservation practices weren't conserving but instead just slowed the rate of loss and sustaining something that it already degraded is meaningless. Because soil (i.e. organic matter) is at the foundational heart of food production, it has become clear that a focus on the aboveground first and below ground second wasn't going to get the job done. This has led to an ongoing debate over the definition of soil health and the creation of a new movement called Regenerative Agriculture. The accepted definition of soil health is more about what may be taken from the soil to "sustain a vital living ecosystem for plants, animals, and humans."
"Regenerative Agriculture" describes farming and grazing practices that, among other benefits, reverse climate change by rebuilding soil organic matter and restoring degraded soil biodiversity - resulting in both carbon drawdown and improving the water cycle. Regenerative agriculture is a holistic land management practice that leverages the power of photosynthesis in plants to close the carbon cycle, and build soil health, crop resilience and nutrient density. Soil health increases soil organic matter, aids in increasing soil biota diversity and health, but increases biodiversity both above and below ground while increasing water holding capacity and sequestering carbon at deeper depths. - The Carbon Underground definition
Regenerative Ag is an innovative, dynamic, whole-systems approach to agriculture which begins on sub-atomic and atomic level of energy flow from the sun through carbon into plants, microbes, and animals interwoven into a complex, yet elegantly simple, repeated pattern matrix design. Plants are the most efficient solar energy generators ever designed, brilliantly storing energy from the sun in bonds between carbon atoms. These carbon atoms are the building blocks for almost all life on Earth, providing the energy required for enzymatic reactions and biochemical interactions. Naturally, what we do with–and to—the land (our agricultural practices) impacts this soil biology (the flow of energy and resources below ground). Since the dawn of civilization, our soils have been bleeding carbon with hemorrhaging occurring in the last 50- 60 with intense chemical and mechanical agriculture. Although conservation practices have been applied such as reduced or no-till, the use of cover crops, or growing bi- or tri-cultures rather than complete mono-cultures, without a systems approach, the "patient" (i.e. the soil) will die anyway. Regeneration is needed at this critical time to address economic, environmental, and health needs.
A catastrophic cascade is occurring in Earth's ecosystems impacting human health and the global economy which fundamentally rests in pressures stemming from changes in the economic and ecological agricultural landscape due to escalating worldwide competition for natural resources and commodities, including petroleum, natural gas, grains, oilseeds, and proteins. In addition, changes in land use and rising production costs for land, labor, equipment, and inputs - seeds, livestock, feed, fertilizers, and pesticides – are additional stressors contributing to the cascade. Simultaneously, the new customer is interested in supporting agricultural production that provides more nutrient dense food while maintaining or improving water quality, soil health, natural areas, and the climate. Therefore, whole production systems designed around eco-functional intensification need to be developed to fulfill all these needs. Eco-functional intensification uses existing biological systems adapted to local conditions and farmers' skills to foster resiliency which will produce more from the same area of land while reducing negative environmental impacts and increasing natural capital and environmental services. There has never been a time when the potential to fundamentally change global agriculture, food quality, economic viability for small and large farmers, and regenerate soil to restore and revitalize ecosystem services is as great is it is now.
However, in just a generation, we have changed farmers from individuals who grew food on some of the most productive land on the planet into underpaid government and agribusiness workers who grow commodities and feed for animals; physicians who treated patients as individuals into managers of lines who have to shuffle patients through as fast as possible and dispense pharmaceuticals while focusing on chemistry and not biochemistry where that all of the energy and building blocks for reactions come from food; and dieticians and nutritionists who have to be so focused on a "pyramid" or a "plate" that they do not have the time to be conducting the research to explain why not all carrots are the same and just because it fits in the right place on the chart doesn't mean it's the right thing. Since the 1940s, various nutrients densities have been decreasing as crop yields have increased (Davis, 2009). This phenomenon has been called the "dilution effect" (Jarrell, 1981). As plant breeders select for high yield, they are essentially selecting for larger carbohydrate content, with no certainty that the other plant nutrients will be in proportion (Davis, 2009).
In the U.S. as with other first world countries, there has been a growing epidemic of malnutrition and obesity in the same individual. The human body is demanding nutrients from the gut microbiome, but in order to try to meet this demand, the microbiome signals to the brain to eat more food because the nutritive value of this food is so low. Currently, the U.S. healthcare system ranks 37 out of 190 with an infant mortality rate behind Cuba (whose overall healthcare system ranks just below the U.S. at 39 out of 190) [World Health Organization (WHO), 2018]. This is important because according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median wage is $35,234 after taxes and for the average person, 25.2% of this income [$8.895 (WHO, 2018)] is spent on out-of-pocket healthcare costs, about 50% is spent on housing, and about 10% on food.
A roadmap to the future will be based on the potential of Regenerative Agriculture to positively impact the ecosystem services, crop productivity and resilience, nutritive quality, and agricultural productivity and economic vitality; the costs of healthcare and the needs for nutrient dense food in the face of severe health crises; and demands of consumers, particularly millennials, to pay more for nutrient dense food (Successful Farming, 2015). In the near future, escalating healthcare costs cause some sort of national healthcare system to be implemented to meet the demands of insurance companies, the healthcare industry, and consumers. This shift will provide more disposable income for consumers to spend closer to 20-30% of their income on food which more closely matches what has occurred in the past and will provide support for farmers to produce and market higher-value, more nutrient-dense food rather than low quality feed, industrial products, and commodities.
Repaving a road to resilience after illness
What can our thoughts, habits, and even our microbiome teach us about why some people successfully overcome illness or disease while others do not?
Now more than ever, people are struggling with chronic symptoms that are associated with internal inflammation and immune dysregulation. There is a tendency to get caught up in the vicious cycle of symptom management, restrictive diets, and conflicting health advice. When we turn to the field of health and wellness, we hear so much of conversation around specific disease pathology but what we really want to do is expand that conversation to planetary health and its link back to the health of the individual.
Kathleen will explore the interconnectedness that requires us to shift our perspective between the health of own inner ecosystem and that of Mother Earth. She believes to truly heal, we need to return to state of resilient health - one that reconnects us to our innate capacity to heal and our purpose in life.
Through her passion for functional nutrition, microbiology research, and the growth mindset she will explore the key strategies that impact what she believes are the three driving forces to cultivate resilient health and regenerate vitality – our beliefs, behaviors, and bacteria!
Exploring the ancient Vedic tradition of agriculture
Based in the wisdom that there is one unifying wholeness within which we and all creation function
"Veda" means "holistic knowledge" in Sanskrit. Recorded thousands of years ago, this vast body of knowledge brought us Yoga, Ayurveda, Vastu architecture, Physics and Cosmology, and 36 other branches of comprehensive wisdom. Thoreau, Emerson, Rudolph Steiner, Oppenheimer, Kant and countless others have drawn from this vast ocean of knowledge
This discussion draws deeply into the Vedic tradition of Agriculture, and explores its philosophy and some of its practices. Consciousness, or life itself, connects us to all of one another, and everything tangible and intangible in creation. Both plants and growers have enormous potentials and capabilities beyond what we've learned through our approaches that are oftentimes separate and disconnected and without an integrated and broad perspective of deep knowledge.
We will look at 3 specific areas within this context of "oneness":
- The 5 elements which constitute the form of plants, animals, all of creation, humans and human nature. We will explore the subtleties of layers of sentience we all share.
- Understanding and applying the extraordinary faculties of "attention" and "intention," when functioning from this common basis of consciousness.
- Seven simple practices that balance and unify the grower with the farm, and the farm with the cosmos. Every farm has the potential to be a beacon of coherence and peace.
Integrating the basic principles of Vedic agriculture with ayurveda and yoga
Just like Vedic Agriculture, Ayurveda and Yoga are based in the eight-fold structure of nature (Prakriti): the five elements, and mind, intellect and ego. In the first 10 minutes, we will briefly review the fundamentals of Vedic Agriculture, the five elements, their subtle natures and respective energetic forces. Also, we will review the five latent traits in plants that are vital for human holistic nutrition and well-being, and how to unlock them. They are:
- coherent frequencies
- maximum vitality
- crystalline structure
- the holistic substance that develops in healthy plants
We will connect these with the food we grow and eat, the best practices we use to vitalize the food, and some of the research done in these areas.
In addition, Ayurveda uses many modalities for healing and balancing the body. We will discuss these and again, look at what a farmer grows, the medicinal herbs and spices used and how to grow them. In Vedic Agriculture, the farm and farmer, "krishi" and "krishak" are capable of caring for the general health and well-being of the community.
Last, we will look at the potential for human beings if we apply the basic principles of Vedic farming. This section will include a brief review of a selection of 7 steps a farmer can take.
Bridging our fossil fuel dependence to a regenerative economy
Natural systems develop resilience and diversity over time by increasing natural capital. Good stewardship works with these processes and can even accelerate them. Carbon management and decentralization are key elements. In this workshop we will explore a list of ideas, practices and tools toward this goal. Holistic problem solving has the capacity to solve for many symptoms simultaneously, with higher quality, longer lasting, safer outcomes than silver bullet quick fixes. By integrating insights from nature observation, indigenous land management, regenerative agriculture, conservation biology, renewable energy and holistic medicine we will be better equipped for adaptation to challenges facing us.
Our familiarity and reliance on the real time delivery of diesel fuel has created a dependence on fossil fuels. Join us to learn how to create a bridge to a more renewable and regenerative economy.
- In the landscape, how do we manage our forests, an important source of food and medicine with regular cool burns to reduce competition, and open the canopy to support the understory?
- How does the genetic selection of plants and trees that are more productive and nut bearing, support wildlife grazing and medicinals?
- How do we restore our biodiversity, below and above ground and in our guts, and orient carbon back into the earth?
- With surges of productivity, how to we store the abundance?
- Discover new technologies that allow growing seasons to be extended, provide electricity for heat and hot water, create biochar, and store the excess in salt water batteries.
- Explore strategies to allow farmers to age in place and provide working lands for the next generation of farmers.
- The regenerative design of our open landscapes includes creating a soil sponge, interplanting trees, restoration of riparian zones, alley cropping, resilient wood sources, fodder plants, row planting on contour and water management through the use of swales, ponds, and keyline design.
Putting the pieces together
Landscapes, lifestyles and technologies for a regenerative future
Natural systems develop resilience and diversity over time by increasing natural capital and symbiotic relationships. Good stewardship works with these processes and can even accelerate them. In this workshop, we will explore a list of practices and tools toward this goal. By integrating insights from nature observation, indigenous land management, regenerative agriculture, conservation biology, renewable energy and holistic medicine, we will be better equipped for adaptation to challenges facing us. Come learn about practical applications for homes, farms and businesses, and about new technologies like free piston Stirling engines for carbon-negative combined heat, power and biochar, salt water batteries, absorption chillers and more. We will explore landscape management that mitigates climatic extremes, supports biodiversity, healthy soils, plant, animal and human communities. Bring your ideas, and let’s build decentralized habitats and networks from the soil up.
Fruit of the rot
Diversify your farm with mushrooms
Explore the different skills and infrastructure needed for developing a viable mushroom growing business. Discussions will include: evaluating your site, obtaining valuable mushroom strains, evaluating spawn, obtaining substrates, grow-room design, cultivation, harvesting, post-harvest handling, and marketing. With minimal equipment and knowledge of mushroom cultivation, you can amplify and utilize other fungi and microbes to advance soil, plant, and animal health.
Introduction to restoration agriculture
In this workshop, Mark will explain the basic ecological principles behind a truly restorative agriculture and how to mimic these principles in the production of agricultural crops. The mimicry of ecological principles will then be introduced from how soil is created in the first place, to ecological succession through time, natural plant communities as an ecological model for agriculture, mimicking "disturbance", the role of animals in ecological systems, and the role of "mass selection" breeding in plants and animals.
Reimagining regional farming for the future
Bill Mollison, the founder of the Permacutlure movement once said "we are surrounded by nearly insurmountable opportunities!" This workshop will explore this very fact. The creation of a new, ecologically modeled agriculture can restore and rejuvenate soils, purify surface and groundwater, provide wildlife and pollinator habitat, remove carbon from the atmosphere, AND create economic prosperity for those who undertake these endeavors. Real estate investment opportunities abound as do processing and value-added business opportunities. Healthy ecosystems are the foundation of our economy and restoration and interaction with these natural agricultural systems will create the ecological economy the world so desperately needs.
Embracing the mycelium to grow healthy
This lively exploration of soil biology and healthy plant metabolism will rouse every gardener and fruit grower to think deeper. How mycorrhizal fungi enhance plant health is absolutely stunning. Nutrients are delivered by means of fungus-root synergy. A boost to green immune function helps keep disease at bay. Expansive fungal networks bring resiliency to ecosystems. Soil aggregate formation addresses carbon flow. Yet for the longest time, we have ignored basic soil biology and instead disturbed ecosystems at our own peril. Time to change all that, and fast! Coming to see crop communities through the lens of a "common root being" will prove fundamental for earth stewards everywhere.
Supporting the arboreal food web
Inspired brews for green vibrancy
Biological growers are learning to honor and work with the soil food web in all its amazing complexity. Yet few have penetrated the mysteries of the arboreal food web. As below so above, one might say in carrying ancient wisdom to a next level of understanding. Diverse microbial populations on plant surfaces occupy the very niche that disease pathogens seek. Nutrient mobilization carries forward in deeper ways than our limited grasp of foliar feeding suggests. Agrarians become homegrown cooks extraordinaire when utilizing fatty acids, core nutrients, and fermented herbs to reinforce biological connections on the frontlines of photosynthesis. Add a practical edge to your growing game with commonly available resources that take into account this arboreal realm.
Making bionutrient raised beds and containers really work
Raised beds/containers are a boon to anyone who cannot (or will not) get down on the ground and can be placed anywhere regardless of soil quality (or no soil at all) below the bed. But...a lot of raised beds do not thrive and produce. You have heard about soil tests, compaction tests, visual and textural tests. Now, learn how those apply to raised beds and containers. There are "tricks" and specific information that you can use to make your raised beds and containers successful and raise great food where every you can set up a bed.
Bioavailable trace minerals
Exploring the importance of plant-based trace minerals in our diet, the impact minerals have on our health and the symptoms associated with mineral deficiencies. This presentation will review the mineral chemical activities reported by the Dr. Duke's Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases. Mineral requirements identified for preventative health. Levels of trace minerals reported on commercial food production, today. Identifying and reporting on, how much food is required to meet the Recommended Daily Amounts, based on commercial food data. Identifying and cataloging the maximum mineral loading capacity of each plant species. The important role that plant tissue testing plays in identifying nutritional value, along with value added marketing.
Food is medicine
More than ever in this decade, food is being recognized as a critical determinant of the health of individuals. Learn how you can use food as medicine to create positive health outcomes and hear how Healing Meals Community Project is leading the way in Connecticut. Sarah and Ellen will provide key information and national data to support the role primary and secondary food plays in improving health outcomes, will share case studies and how Healing Meals has a critical role in supporting and educating families in a health crisis as well as educating our youth around the power of their food choices.
Come hear how Healing Meals as a member of the national Food Is Medicine Coalition, an association of nonprofit, medically tailored food and nutrition service providers from across the country is convened to advance public policy that supports access to food and nutrition services for people with severe and chronic illnesses, to promote research on the efficacy of food and nutrition services on health outcomes and cost of care, and to share best practices in the provision of medically tailored meals, and nutrition education.
Not all growing practices taste the same
Effects of management on crop phytochemicals and sensory profiles
How do we cultivate crops to increase access to high-quality food for healthy communities? How is this changing in the context of climate change? In this workshop, we will explore how multiple sustainability innovations in agricultural systems enhance crop quality on the basis of phytochemical and sensory profiles and, implications for environmental and human wellbeing. Specifically, we will examine management of soil organic matter and soil carbon sequestration through organic agriculture, compost amendments, agroforestry, diversified agriculture, no-till farming, integrated livestock management, cover cropping, and mulching. The effect of these management practices will be examined for a range of crops from fruits and vegetables to ancient grains, pulse crops, tea, and maple syrup. Evidence will further be presented on the relationship of phytochemical and sensory profiles as attendees are led through a tasting activity. We will conclude with a discussion on emerging research regarding how we can measure the effects of improved crop quality on health attributes of human consumers including biomarkers of inflammation towards mitigating diet-related chronic disease. The overall goal of this workshop is to highlight linkages between agriculture, nutrition, taste, and health for healthier communities and more sustainable food systems.
Soil cover in grazing and crop production
Work nature's progression to improve your soil and grow healthier plants
We all have little things we can tweak about our systems that can dramatically increase our results. In our years of mentoring fellow farmers, soil cover is one of those areas that we have discovered many blind spots and unspoken differences in basic understanding and approaches.
Learning how to work the stages of soil cover to your advantage is one of the low hanging fruit to improve your system rapidly, and a critical foundation to using other tools more effectively.
That is, you can buy all the best inputs in the world but if you don't understand the stages and differences of soil cover you may be wasting your money - or at the very least not achieving optimal results!
In this session you will learn:
• De-mystify the stages of soil cover, and learn where and why you may be getting stuck.
• Learn the most common pitfalls - and areas where you can save time and money and get healthy plants faster
• Link what you see above ground to the basic bio-geo-chemistry of what is happening below ground...and know what to DO about it to improve things rapidly and in harmony with nature.
• Move your land more quickly through some of the challenging stages - like WEEDS and lackluster plants into healthy production.
Get dramatically better results - simply by deepening your own understanding and using your wastes differently!
Scientific insights on the health impact of large-scale chemical farming on the microbiome, livestock, pets, and people
The exponential rise in the prevalence of chronic disease in the developed world is staggering, and threatens the financial and political stability of the developed nations around the world. In the US, 46% of our children now carry a chronic disease diagnosis. This is in stark contrast to the chronic disease burden of 4% in the US population (including all ages) in the 1960s. The conditions that are becoming prevalent today reflect damage to every organ system in the body, and include the autism spectrum disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, depression and anxiety, food allergies and sensitivities, environmental allergies, metabolic challenges like precocious puberty, abnormal reproductive development, diabetes, autoimmune conditions, and cancers. Research from around the globe suggest that a combination of genomic, autoimmune, nutritional, and environmental factors are now contributing to the collapse of health in our children and adults. Not surprisingly, the diseases in our domesticated animals – from pets to livestock – have followed a similar trajectory. While this may seem overwhelming, the fact that each of these systems seemed to collapse at the same time in the timeline would suggest that there is a root cause event that has setoff the cascade of systemic complications. This talk explores the role of the microbiome and agriculture system as ground zero of this humanitarian crisis, and a pathway to recovery.