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Workshops

Agronomy … Human Health … Systemic Solutions … Biochemistry & Consciousness …

These are the thematic tracks around which this year’s Soil & Nutrition Conference will be loosely structured.  Below are the individual talk descriptions.

To view the daily schedule, click here.

Thursday Pre-Conference / Full-day Advanced Seminars

There are so many incredible topics to explore, we are excited to expand our conference once again to include a fourth day of presentations – full-day Advanced Seminars.  Take a deep dive with some of the seminal thinkers and leading practitioners of our generation!

Friday / Half-day Intensives

Friday, too, will offer you an in-depth look at topics with a variety of half-day presentations to choose from. Learn from the edge-runners in their fields. Imagine the possibilities when the best of the best get together to exchange ideas, insights and build the networks that will grow the movement!

Saturday & Sunday / Workshops

The heart of the conference, Saturday and Sunday will be structured around 1½ hour workshops and panels spanning a wide range of thought-provoking topics that engage and inspire.

Thursday Full-day Advanced Seminars

Sande Beddoe

Reams' Biological Theory of Ionization

Soil and Plant Workshop

You will learn in this seminar the principles of Dr. Carey Reams in a clear and practical way you can take home and use on your farm or garden. "High-energy, well-mineralized soil can have more beneficial effect on human health than all the medical institutions that will ever exist." During this presentation, you will learn why Dr. Beddoe believes Reams' Biological Theory of Ionization (RBTI) science and technology stands clearly beyond and superior to the fads, fables and "ologies" of agriculture and human health. You will learn why Dr. Beddoe holds, as true, that RBTI identifies the determinate factor for understanding the true way to grow the highest quality and healthiest food possible for superior human health. You will understand how the mistakes of treating symptoms remains ongoing in agriculture science as well as medical science. RBTI identifies the determinant factor of the underlying causes so you can achieve maximum energy delivery from soil to plant, producing the highest quality and quantity of crops. Dr. Beddoe will bring together, in a clear and practical way, the illusive parts of RBTI so that you will see — maybe for the first time — why you need to learn how to implement the math, science and technology of RBTI on your farm or garden as well as in your own physical being.

Dr. Beddoe will present an in-depth introduction to the most advanced soil and plant chemistry principles existing in this 21st century. RBTI contains the absolute best-kept secrets, ever, on how to grow the healthiest and highest nutrient content foods possible on planet earth.

You will gain vital insight on many unique RBTI agricultural subjects and learn:

  • How to build and activate the ideal top-soil
  • How you may be shooting your garden in its foot
  • How to know if you are going to be able to grow the part of the plant desired for harvest and how to make it happen
  • How to measure, on the spot, the exact quality of foods being grown
  • How the intimate connection between soil and human health works
  • How to observe what is happening, or not happening, in the farm field or orchard
  • How to best grow, specifically, the part of the plant desired for harvest
  • How and why carbon is so vital to the soil
  • How and why manganese is so vital to farm and garden soil
  • How electrical conductivity of the soil helps or hinders your farm or garden
  • Why Jack's beanstalk grew the way it did
  • How to extend your growing season
  • How to make your farm and garden harvest last longer on the shelf
  • Why calcium is so critical to the soil
  • The secrets of soft rock phosphate and potassium
  • How nitrogen can work for or against you
  • How plant foods can work for and against you
  • Why you need to understand the good and the bad of commercial plant foods
  • Secrets of soil moisture and plant growth
  • How to get a warmer start in the spring
Guido Masé

Interwoven Connectedness at the Heart of Health, Resilience, and Sustainability

Soil scientists know that a garden is more than just soil and plants: it is a thriving ecosystem. When talking about human health, herbalists take a similar approach that looks at the human being as a living ecological system. There is so much evidence that this reasoning is sound: from the wide-ranging effects that our microbial denizens have on mood and inflammation, to the multi-organ system interactions described in psycho-neuro-immunology, we are more than just a brain and its life-support machinery. But this systems-based complexity extends outward into our environment as much as it extends inward into our microbiome: influences from the surrounding ecology shape and direct our lives in hidden, but powerful, ways.

Some of these influences can be troubling: plasticizers such as BPA, pesticides used in conventional agriculture, food additives, and more, can impact everything from mood to fertility to immunity. But on a more hopeful note, plants and mushrooms, in a riot of wild diversity, have been influencing our lives since before we were human - largely in beneficial ways. The science and art of discovering and riding these influences is called herbalism, and it extends well beyond basic nutrition - just like holistic soil science extends well beyond N,P,K.

During this day-long intensive, we will explore and refine this central proposition: that the diversity of the natural world knits itself together into ecological systems using signal molecules, and in a well-connected ecology, all components (humans included) are more resilient, sustainable, and healthy. We will explore the latest research evidence on questions such as:

  • How did biodiversity come to be? Why is it essential?
  • How has the evolutionary process on this planet encoded the relationships between all its inhabitants?
  • How does DNA – an information-storage molecule – also function as an "antenna" tuned into the chemical signals from the ecologies both inside and outside us?
  • How does DNA pick up on these cross-kingdom signals and alter its expression as a result?
  • What types of chemical signals are most relevant to human health today? What types of plants, mushrooms, and bacteria carry these signals?
  • What are simple ways to incorporate these elements into our lives, farms, and gardens?
  • What are the consequences for humans, soil, our ecology, and the planet?

By zeroing in on gene expression and its modulation via molecules such as polyphenols, triterpenes, polysaccharides, saponins, and more, we will explore the ways in which herbalism brings the voice of the ecology to the dinner table. We will leave inspired and enlivened - and hopefully, more aware of the inescapable interconnectedness of humans and the ecology. And equipped with the knowledge herbalism provides, we will also walk away with practical strategies that help heal people, nurture the soil - and maybe even save the world.

Mark Fulford

Partnering with Soil: Human Re-mergence With Stable Soil, Diverse Crop & Animal Systems

It Matters More How We Farm Rather Than What We Farm

Modern conventional and organic agriculture is still mostly a till and kill system. It's a persistent paradigm we need to shift from for so many reasons. We cut open the soil to remove native vegetation and replace it with crops of our value set, many being foreign to the region. We tend to mono-crop for convenience of the market place without considering the consequences.

Shifting from this limiting mode to a simultaneous cropping and soil building enterprise with nature is being done world-wide with a spectacular yield and problem solving record. Machinery and field preparation is re-tooled to protect each precious square foot of soil, rather than suppress it's full expression. In some of these methods of paradox, "less is more"". Examples of mixed crops, grains, orchards, livestock and special attention to beneficial habitat are considered. Equipment is smaller, more nimble and synchronized.

It is not one single system, but a highly adaptable set of methods that fits almost any crop group or region of the planet. In this introduction and up to date review of methods, we will focus on how we can apply this fresh approach to our farms in the Northeast US.

How we farm affects the climate, global and regional economy.

Peter Bane

Root, Gut, Crown, and Sky

Ecosystem Perspectives on Soil Health and Nutrition

Permaculture design integrates human culture with the intelligence and demands of natural systems. Forty years of worldwide experimentation, learning, and cultural diffusion have given rise to powerful insights and resilient practice.

In this day-long workshop we will expand our awareness of what sustains healthy soils and nourishing food for all through the holistic frame of multiple actors and multiple inputs. Globally, modern agriculture has damaged almost all ecosystems and all people, yet the same daring that launched the now discredited Green Revolution, albeit with a different intellectual framework and different tools, is needed to repair communities, landscapes, and the climate.

We will examine the many links and parallel harmonies between living kingdoms and learn to apply permaculture design thinking and methods to achieve Gaian objectives. Our little-recognized fungal allies below the soil surface are key players in the uptake of balanced mineral nutrient by plants, humans, and other animals. At the same time, their woody antennae, the trees, with their winged and bacterial associates, are continuously modifying climate on the micro- and macro-level to nurture life and stabilize this third rock from the sun.

Together, we will explore what it takes to keep living systems functioning well while also providing home and services to humanity.

Friday Half-Day Intensives

Beverly Rubik

Wireless Radiation, 5G, the Environment, and Our Health

The 5th generation of wireless communication radiation for cell phones, WiFi modems, and related technology called "5G" is upon us, with the rollout beginning in 2019. The wireless telecom industry wants to install so-called "small-cell" antennas and their power supplies everywhere, including residential neighborhoods, every 200-1000 feet, and also plans to launch 20,000 satellites into orbit to deliver the new higher frequency bands of 5G. This includes frequencies corresponding to millimeter waves in the gigahertz range, previously used only for military radar and weaponry. These frequencies require a new type of phased array antennae that produce powerful but narrow digitally pulsed beams that will be beamed-steered through our bodies and the environment incessantly. There are many issues and concerns about this technology and its potential impact on human health, animals, plants, and the environment. Some of the issues are:

  • Lack of clear safety standards for these frequencies based on independent research;
  • The new syndrome of electro-sensitivity associated with wireless radiation exposure, detrimental to our health, that is escalating;
  • Microwave exposure as a causal factor in cancer;
  • Exposure of pregnant women and children who are most vulnerable;
  • Lack of inexpensive instrumentation to monitor our exposure to 5G radiation; and
  • Use of 5G waves by the military in a weapon called "Active Denial."

The Federal Communications Commission has mandated a rapid rollout of 5G technology, while local communities are rising up against it. Dr. Rubik will present both sides of the story – that of the wireless telecom industry and concerned citizens regarding these issues. The science underlying 5G waves and their biological and environmental effects from the peer-reviewed scientific literature will be presented, including the declassified military literature. Consideration will be given to how best to mitigate our exposure to wireless radiation in daily life, and what some environmental solutions might be. Finally, Dr. Rubik will explore what is required to move forward safely with a new generation of communication frequencies.

Note: A shorter version of this talk will be presented on Saturday afternoon.

Guido Masé

Herbal Medicine at Home

Simple Preparations & Techniques to Build Your Home Apothecary

Once you identify a few key categories of medicinal plants, you can easily create simple preparations that address good digestion and metabolism, mood and mental health, and the prevention of heart disease and cancer. Beyond this, there are a few essential medicinal plants that are excellent as topical disinfectants, making them valuable for the simple wounds, burns, cuts and scrapes of everyday life. Put this all together, and you have the simple building blocks for a great home medicine chest!

We will explore how herbal medicine makes this possible through a combination of discussion and practical work. Background will include secondary plant metabolites (the chemistry that makes plants effective), their health effects, and historical context. We will cover harvesting and extraction / processing for some basic internal and topical preparations. You'll become familiar with the potential for herbal medicine as a component of homestead gardens and self-care, and some of the basic science and traditions underpinning the work.

Guido will also be participating in a panel discussion on Saturday, Psychological Compatibility with Diversity.

James Oschman

Consciousness: A User's Guide

In our interconnected world, it is vital we learn how to take care of ourselves, and each other. Energy medicine has a lot to teach us about energetic hygiene. All of us are surrounded by biofields. Our thoughts affect our biofields, and our biofields instantaneously affect our personal health and the health of the people around us. What is the nature of these biofields? And where does thought reside? James will offer up for consideration research about individuals “without brains” – hydrocephalic patients who nonetheless scored average on intelligence tests. James will explain how this remarkable story can be, and how consciousness, memory, and intuition do not reside in the brain as such, but rather in a quantum information field, and look at how we can access and interact with that field.

Mark Cohen

Regenerative Systems for Sovereignty and Resilient Living

In this workshop we will explore a list of ideas, practices and tools toward the goal of creating a regenerative, interdependent, and self-sustaining system. 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.

  • In the landscape, how me manage our forests, an important source of food and medicine to reduce competition, and open the canopy to support the understory.
  • How the genetic selection of plants and trees that are more productive, 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 do 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.
  • 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.

Climate mitigation, ecological restoration, and carbon sequestration are the pathways to a more resilient future. Bring your ideas and let's build decentralized habitats and networks from the soil up.

Mark Shepard

Optimizing Your Land's Relationship to Water

Where do you begin with transitioning degraded lands into sustainable ecological systems? It all starts with water. Learn from certified permaculture designer and author of the book, Restoration Agriculture, Mark Shepard, about his NRCS-compatible adaptations to keyline design and practical ways for you to apply them to your land. Along with learning earthworks strategies that can slow, spread and sink water for storage, soil improvement and ground infiltration, this workshop will expand your understanding of how water behaves within landscapes. Mark will teach you terminology to help you identify the contours on your land that will be most suitable for implementing a water management system as well as communicate these water management concepts more clearly and effectively between government agency officials and farmers.

Olivier Husson

The Role of Redox Potential and Reduction-Oxidation Reactions

"What drives life is a little electric current, kept up by the sunshine" was the elegant summary of Albert Szent-Györgyi, a Nobel Laureate in Physiology. Together with proton exchanges (acid-base reactions), electron exchanges (reduction/oxidation reactions) regulate the functioning of soil, plant, and microorganism systems, and largely impact soil, plant and animal nutrition and health. pH( measuring the availability of protons) and Eh (redox potential, measuring the availability of electrons) can be used as indicators of both soil, plant and animal health. In this workshop, we will "follow the electrons" in a "one health" approach to show how the cropping practices impact soil Eh-pH, which in cascade impacts microbial activity and plant nutrition, which impacts plant health and fodder quality, and as a consequence, impacts animal nutrition and health.

Peter McCoy

The Value of Fungi in Regenerative (Agri)Culture

Mushrooms and other fungi have been integral to human activity and food production for at least 19,000 years. As critical nutrient cyclers in soils, forests, and dry lands, they are keystone organisms in the world's ecosystems. In this workshop, Peter will cover the many ways recent advancements in mycology (the study of fungi) can be integrated into modern human practices to increase food production, enhance regional resource management, mitigate pollutants, create holistic land assessments, and design multi-kingdom system designs. Specific topics covered include fungal biology and ecology, fungi in traditional cultures, accessible mushroom cultivation, applied mycology practices, and ways that fungi can be incorporated into various permaculture and regenerative agricultural practices.

Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin

Regenerative Poultry

Changing the world, one chicken at a time

This workshop will lay out the process of building the foundation of a Regenerative Poultry system, from the steps to building a farm operation to the infrastructure associated with supply-chain development strategies and the organizational, networking, aggregation, branding, distribution, processing and other key system-level components needed to successfully transition poultry into a biodynamic, regenerative sector.

Originally from Guatemala, Reginaldo brings an indigenous-based approach to putting poultry back into its natural environment, to the business development process for aggregating and scaling the collective impact of small farms, and to see a new and regenerative industry emerge.

Saturday & Sunday Workshops

Beverly Rubik

Wireless Radiation, 5G, the Environment, and Our Health

The 5th generation of wireless communication radiation for cell phones, WiFi modems, and related technology called "5G" is upon us, with the rollout beginning in 2019. The wireless telecom industry wants to install so-called "small-cell" antennas and their power supplies everywhere, including residential neighborhoods, every 200-1000 feet, and also plans to launch 20,000 satellites into orbit to deliver the new higher frequency bands of 5G. This includes frequencies corresponding to millimeter waves in the gigahertz range, previously used only for military radar and weaponry. These frequencies require a new type of phased array antennae that produce powerful but narrow digitally pulsed beams that will be beamed-steered through our bodies and the environment incessantly. There are many issues and concerns about this technology and its potential impact on human health, animals, plants, and the environment. Some of the issues are:

  • Lack of clear safety standards for these frequencies based on independent research;
  • The new syndrome of electro-sensitivity associated with wireless radiation exposure, detrimental to our health, that is escalating;
  • Microwave exposure as a causal factor in cancer;
  • Exposure of pregnant women and children who are most vulnerable;
  • Lack of inexpensive instrumentation to monitor our exposure to 5G radiation; and
  • Use of 5G waves by the military in a weapon called "Active Denial."

The Federal Communications Commission has mandated a rapid rollout of 5G technology, while local communities are rising up against it. Dr. Rubik will present both sides of the story – that of the wireless telecom industry and concerned citizens regarding these issues. The science underlying 5G waves and their biological and environmental effects from the peer-reviewed scientific literature will be presented, including the declassified military literature. Consideration will be given to how best to mitigate our exposure to wireless radiation in daily life, and what some environmental solutions might be. Finally, Dr. Rubik will explore what is required to move forward safely with a new generation of communication frequencies.

Note: An expanded version of this talk will be presented on Friday morning.

Brigitta Jansen

Restoring Gut Health: The Essential Role of Phytochemicals

We are currently experiencing epidemics of many chronic health conditions. Autoimmune diseases like allergies, asthma, arthritis, eczema, Crohn's, MS, ALS, lupus and Hashimoto's, as well as autism, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, chronic Lyme and Alzheimer's have all increased exponentially and show no signs of slowing down. 54% of children, 60% of adults and 80% of the elderly have a diagnosed chronic condition.

While nutrient-dense diets can certainly improve health tremendously, there are often stubborn symptoms that will not resolve with even the best dietary efforts or supplementation. Our gut microbiome is crucial to health, and gut dysbiosis is almost always involved in the development of chronic conditions. In addition, leaky gut causes nutrient malabsorption and inflammation, further depleting nutrients.

In today's world filled with toxins, our gut microbiome is under constant attack from metals, petrochemicals, food additives, microplastics, glyphosate, prescription drugs and more. These toxins, in combination with stress and modern diets, set the stage for pathogenic microbes and parasites to thrive.

Find out why parasites and other microbes play a much larger role in chronic disease than commonly assumed, how they escape detection by conventional testing, and how they deplete you of essential nutrients and weaken your immune system.

Learn why our ancestors were free of chronic disease with a high resistance to infectious disease, and why foods and herbs high in phytochemicals are essential for reversing chronic disease and maintaining a healthy microbiome.

Cathryn Couch

Food as Medicine: Soil, Community & Policy

Learn how Ceres Community Project is creating health for people, communities and the planet through an integrated model that ranges from healthy soil to policy change. Founder and CEO Cathryn Couch will share an in-depth overview of Ceres' community based model that engages youth as organic gardeners and chefs providing 110,000 organic medically tailored meals a year for mostly low-income community members who are struggling because of a serious illness like cancer or heart disease. As a member of two national, two statewide, and three regional coalitions working on food as medicine, Cathryn will also share insight into the rapid innovation happening in the food as medicine ecosystem, the vital importance of food quality standards, and the work she and Ceres are doing to raise awareness about the impact of food choices on public, community and environmental health.

Dan Young

How Solar Energy Imparts Character to Soils and Their Occupants

Energy provides not only an acceptable thermal environment for biological growth, but an entire organizational paradigm for ecosystems to grow in. Thermal conditions for growth are provided by energy balances that are the premise of the First Law of thermodynamics. All other environmental conditions are the premise of the Second Law of thermodynamics. The entire structure of soils and the ecosystems they create is dependent on the quality and quantity of the energy that they receive. This workshop will examine the difference between these two laws and identify the role each plays in maximizing the productivity of natural and agricultural systems.

Derek Christianson

Crops for Nourishment, Flavor, and Profit

Financial sustainability is critical to making a career growing vegetables. In this workshop, Derek will dive deep into the production techniques, challenges, and levers for profit for three crops which have been valuable additions to his planting plan at Brix Bounty Farm. Additionally, he will review his "crop importance" list which he used to determine the core 15 crops the farm needs to focus their production on each season for customer satisfaction and financial sustainability.

Doug DeCandia

Healing in the Food System: Building Equity, Increasing Quality

For 500 years, colonization has spread across this continent like a sickness, bringing with it ideologies of duality, exploitation and war that have seeped into the core of how we, as people, relate to each other and to the land. These ideologies have become the oppressive systems and institutions that surround us, none of which existed on this continent prior to European colonization.

The food system of the United States is a product of this colonization, and for centuries has relied on the extraction of resources and exploitation of human labor, to meet the desires of a few rather than the needs of the many. It has not broken over time, but has been broken since the beginning. The imbalance of this system and its legacy, can be seen manifesting today in many ways – from the existential threat of climate breakdown to land theft, malnutrition and deforestation.

To restore balance in this country and in the world, a change in how we grow food, and how we relate to each other and to the land, is necessary. This change not only necessitates a transformation in our systems, but also a transformation within ourselves, and within our movements.

Join a discussion on what this transformation can look like, and how the BFA community can support those who have been most marginalized by the long history of colonialism and white supremacy in this country. Through consideration of our own lived experiences, we will discuss how issues of class, race, gender, and ability must be central in any attempt to increase quality in the food supply, and how building Equity – as a framework of self-determination and balancing power – is vitally necessary for healing.

Ellen Brown

Funding the Green Transition with Public Banks

The public banking movement has been gaining momentum across the country, with dozens of bills being actively pursued in various cities and states, and hundreds of organizations endorsing the concept. The US movement began a century ago, when the Bank of North Dakota was founded in 1919 by farmers who were losing their farms to big out-of-state banks. The movement reached the national level last year, when a resolution for a select committee on a Green New Deal submitted by U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Sunshine Movement included funding by the Federal Reserve, a national public bank, or a network of public banks. Public banks are also re-surging globally, triggered by the failure of private finance to address pressing climate problems without first feeding insatiable private investors. Twenty percent of bank assets world-wide are still publicly owned and controlled, in addition to the bottomless resources of central banks. Contrary to the prevailing narrative, we have and can build massive public capacity nationally and globally to finance climate and agricultural initiatives.

Ellen Brown

A Deep Dive into Money and Banking

After the banking crisis of 2008-09, even former Fed Chairs were admitting they had gotten it wrong. Economic policies are not working because the underlying theories are wrong. This workshop will take a deep dive into what is really going on with our money and banking system, how misguided policies are making it worse, and how system upgrades could underwrite an economy providing abundance for all.

Glen Rein

Rare Earth Minerals and Quantum Healing of Plants

Rare earth elements are a key component in soil health, although their mechanism of action is largely unknown. This presentation offers a novel mechanism involving the exotic quantum properties of rare earth elements, in particular Lanthanum. Lanthanum often combines with more common minerals. Lanthanum-copper complexes, for example, have unique symmetrical or coherent electronic structures, exhibit complex geometries and emit visible light much more efficiently.

The presence of these complexes in soil offers an additional source of light for seed germination and root health. The light emitted from these complexes is also special because the light they emit is so coherent. This coherent light is believed to create symmetry and order within the plants at the chemical and atomic levels. In fact, there are many different types of coherence which have been studied in plants. These include electronic coherence, phase coherence, coherent resonance and quantum coherence. Here we propose that plant (food) coherence can be used to describe vitality. Eating coherent food creates coherence and health within our bodies.

Greg Austic & Dorn Cox

The Real Food Campaign, Collaborative Science, and OpenTEAM

Greg Austic will be providing a mid-season report for the Real Food Campaign (RFC) 2019 Soil and Food Survey which collected produce and soil samples from across the continental US. The goal of the survey is to identify: 1) the amount of variation in nutrient density, 2) the sources of variation, and 3) if spectral reflectance can be used to identify low and high nutrient density data. While the data will not be completely analyzed by the dates of the conference, Greg will provide information about the survey process, lab methods, future plans for 2020, as well as any initial findings from 2019.

Dorn Cox will be presenting about the OpenTEAM (Open Technology Ecosystem for Agricultural Management) collaborative, a group of companies, non-profits, developers and universities attempting to develop an open source software ecosystem for agriculture. He will talk about how the RFC's survey and work fits into OpenTEAM, and how collaborations within OpenTEAM can increase transparency of information in soil and food information systems.

John Ikerd

The Battle for the Future of Food and Farming

And How We Can Win It!

Our current systems of farming and food production are not sustainable. We simply cannot continue farming and producing food, for much longer, the way we have been for the past fifty-plus years. Climate change is but the latest in a long list of environmental, social, and rural economic problems revealing the unsustainability of the current industrial agri-food system. A battle for the future of food and farming is brewing between those who are striving to "fix" the current industrial agri-food system and those believe it is fundamentally flawed and must be replaced.

Many of the large, agribusiness corporations are scrambling to restore waning consumer confidence and trust by production foods they call natural, organic, antibiotic free, GMO free, humanely raised, cage range, and locally grown. They are being challenged by farmers and food purveyors that go by names such as ecological, biological, holistic, biodynamic, regenerative, and restorative. These agri-food pioneers believe the industrial agri-food system cannot be fixed—that it must be replaced. In the global arena, the agroecology and food sovereignty movements are challenging industry-supported precision agriculture, climate-smart farming, and agricultural intensification for the future of food and farming.

Those who are trying to fix the system have major economic and political advantages. They are supported by a blind faith in technological fixes and the dogma of market-based solutions. However, those calling for fundamental change have the advantage of growing public awareness that past fixes in the agri-food system have only led to more and bigger problems. The key to winning this battle is to nurture this growing public awareness and dissatisfaction into an irresistible demand for fundamental change. This can be done by starting at the local, community level, using currently available public policy and organizational options. Local successes can be leveraged into the economic and political power to change national and global farm and food policies, and in turn, to change the agri-food system. This battle will not be quick or easy, but it can be won.

John Kempf

The Future: Bringing Regenerative Agriculture Into the Mainstream

As we learn about holistic regenerative agriculture ecosystems, the large number of factors that can influence our crops and soils can become almost overwhelming. The most successful growers are citizen scientists and have a working knowledge of many different areas of science, including microbiology, plant physiology, entomology, plant pathology, biophysics, biochemistry, genetics, meteorology, and more. Making sense of all the possible influences, even learning about them, is a very big task. What if the tools existed for you to be able to identify the factors which matter on your farm, and correlate your agronomic practices to crop outcomes consistently? In this presentation, John will announce some emerging technologies which will make these connections easy and accessible for anyone.

John Kempf

Ask Me Anything

During this session, John is ready to respond to your questions. Pick his brain! What are you curious about? Is there something that you have always wondered about, but never had a chance to ask? Did you see or come across something during this growing season that has you puzzled? Take advantage of learning what is important to you, from one of the preeminent agronomists in our midst today.

Send your questions in advance so John can sort them, and better see what you are interested in. Simply go to www.slido.com, enter event code #W306, and ask away! You can submit questions anytime from November 10, all the way through the presentation itself.

John Liu

Acting as a Species on a Planetary Scale

We have observed that every cradle of human civilization has destroyed the ecological functions that continuously filtered and renewed their atmosphere, their hydrological cycle, fertile soils, and biodiversity. These are Earth's life support systems. This has been the result of human impact.

But we can restore these degraded landscapes, even those that have been degraded over long historical timelines. This must become the intention of human civilization. We have the solutions for ecological function on a planetary scale.

We need to change the intention of humans as a species - to shift our intention away from materialism as wealth to functional ecosystems as the purpose that will serve ourselves and future generations of all living things. John will discuss his work toward ecological regeneration and the growing movement of Ecosystem Restoration Camps that are a thriving example of autonomous, self-governing organizing projects, supported by a global network.

Jordan Schmidt

Nature's Facilitators: Micronutrient keys to health and healing

We ​know​ that nutrition is important to health but do we ​really ​know why? In this session we will explore how vitamins, minerals and other nutrients work as biological facilitators and why it matters! Why might zinc facilitate digestive function and why, ​really​, should you care about B vitamins? This talk will illustrate nutrient pathways in a way that is engaging, accessible and useful. Most importantly we will explore thinking about nutrition in a way that frees us from dietary dogma and opens up the world of using nutrients to facilitate health, reverse disease and best adapt to a changing physical environment. Returning nutrient density to our food supply​ is really important. Let's think about why!
Jordan will also take part in a panel discussion, Nutrition: Health that Starts on Your Plate.

Judith Schwartz

The Story of Climate Is the Story of Water

While concern over climate change commands an increasing amount of attention, the narrative remains focused on greenhouse gas emissions. However, a broader look reveals the role of water in driving climate; indeed, if we ask how the planet manages heat we see that it is largely via hydrological processes. This workshop explores opportunities to work with the water cycle to promote cooling, where this is already happening, and how soil plays an important part.

Liz Taggart

Step Inside Mother Nature's "She Shed"

Join in this discussion about how nature organizes 19 layers of matter, and how those layers present in incoherence and coherence. This knowledge is drawn from the ancient Vedic tradition, and will be explored in the context of agriculture and growing. Order, coherence, structure and flow are integral to how nature fundamentally functions and manifests. We will look at each of these 19 layers and connect them to practical growing practices. One compelling aspect is that the core 3 layers also relate to the male and female principles of natural law, and perhaps offer some sound advice for us as humans!

Liz Taggart

Learn to Write Your Story

Writing workshop

Are you curious about your ability to put your thoughts into written word? Do you need to write for your website? Blog? Emails? Or do you want to express your opinions or share your experiences? Growers, nutritionists, well-wishers – the world needs to hear your voice! And even more important, you need to realize the hidden talent you have in writing about what is on your mind. Please join this 90 minutes sleeves-rolled-up workshop and practice tried-and-true exercises which help to bring out your reservoirs of writing talent. Surprise yourself – you will not be disappointed!
Note: This workshop will be offered on both Saturday and Sunday, and is limited to 12 participants. Please sign up in advance at the registration table.

Mark Fulford

Retooling to Repair Soils Simultaneous to Cropping

We are beginning to re-think the entrenched framework of monocropping, and instead re-learning to intercrop plant families that we have unquestioningly isolated in our farm strategies for the convenience and efficiency of mechanized harvest and marketing, referring to all other species other than the target crop as "weeds."

As we shift away from this mindset, retooling is becoming a necessity to an agriculture that is not only smart, profitable and sustainable, but regenerative. There are many components to this transition – simple and fresh inventions which encompass smaller, far more nimble and multifunctioning 2- and 4-wheel tractors, and even draft animal equipment. And in many cases, we can even eliminate multiple, separate steps by combining all-in-one-pass tools and equipment. We will dig into the methods, sequences and timing of many Systems of Crop Intensification. Rather than increase acreage in production, let's focus on repairing and nurturing the soil so that it can function and produce crops at maximum potential. Let's make the space for the plants show us a thing or two about making soils comfortable.

Mark Shepard

Nutrient Density of Ecological Food Systems

Are you designing your food system for maximum calories, or maximum nutrition? Mark Shepard, author of the award-winning book, Restoration Agriculture, will open the conversation around the sheer impact of nutrient density contained in diverse restorative agricultural systems compared to other types of cropping systems. Mark will also share ways to incorporate the most nutrition per acre, and the implications this has for Agroforestry, organic agriculture and regenerative agriculture systems.

Mas Sajady

Consciousness in Food and Plants

Growing and eating food is about more than calories. It is about vitality - and as we will learn from Mas, also about Consciousness. Mas will join us via satellite and talk about the role of frequency (or intention) in the process of food production. His work is of awakening our own individual abilities for healing and mastery. Join us as he conducts a very special session just for Soil & Nutrition Conference attendees.

Maya Shetreat

The Dirt Cure

Our understanding of food and how it impacts health is ever expanding. We now know that food, and therefore our own health, depends on more than what we see on our plates. It is the product of diverse communities of microbes, mycorrhizae, minerals, soil, plants, animals and much more. This session will cover ways that our physical, mental and spiritual health depend on our ability to be in respectful community with the natural world.

Nate Kleinman

Plant Breeding for the Public Good

Crop plants are incredibly diverse. Around the world people consume millions of unique varieties of thousands of different plant species. This "agrobiodiversity" is key to our food security, but unfortunately it has been terribly degraded over the past century with the rise of corporate agribusiness and consolidation, along with hybrids and genetic engineering. Habitat loss and environmental destruction further reduce agrobiodiversity through the loss of crop wild relatives and pollinators. And climate change looms over all of it — already changing the way farmers farm, but sure to threaten the food supply itself in the not-too-distant future.

Plant breeding is the only way we humans have to expand agrobiodiversity, and it's not something that requires a PhD or a neat-and-tidy research farm. In this workshop, Nate will discuss some of the basics of plant breeding, crop biodiversity preservation, and what kind of new crop plants farmers of the future will need. There will be a strong focus on breeding new perennial crop plants for climate change mitigation. He will also discuss ways to get involved in participatory plant breeding projects, regardless of your skill or experience.

In the context of an agricultural system rooted in proprietary seeds, this presentation will detail ways that plant breeders are developing varieties and new crops intended to benefit the public — whether through carbon sequestration ability, nutritional content, taste, resilience, or some other beneficial trait — rather than just a single corporation. Given the specter of climate change, it is imperative that more and more people start breeding crop plants, both to adapt them to our changing world, and to put them to use stabilizing the climate.

Nate will also take part in the panel discussion, Seeds: Traditional Heritage & Wisdom, Future Biodiversity & Security.

Olivier Husson

The Role of Redox Potential and Reduction-Oxidation Reactions

“What drives life is a little electric current, kept up by the sunshine” was the elegant summary of Albert Szent-Györgyi, a Nobel Laureate in Physiology. Together with proton exchanges (acid-base reactions), electron exchanges (reduction/oxidation reactions) regulate the functioning of soil, plant, and microorganism systems, and largely impact soil, plant and animal nutrition and health. pH( measuring the availability of protons) and Eh (redox potential, measuring the availability of electrons) can be used as indicators of both soil, plant and animal health. In this workshop, we will "follow the electrons" in a "one health" approach to show how the cropping practices impact soil Eh-pH, which in cascade impacts microbial activity and plant nutrition, which impacts plant health and fodder quality, and as a consequence, impacts animal nutrition and health.
(Note: This workshop will be a less detailed version of Friday's presentation)

Peter Bane

From Grassroots to Tree Crowns: Organizing to Cool the Climate

Earth repair requires both micro- and macro-level tools. We will look at what is required to reverse heat build-up in the atmosphere, explore models for community and civic action to increase green growth and water absorption in soils, and lay the foundation for a new carbon economy.

Pius Floris

Plants as Soil Improvers

We already know so much about soil, fertility, use of compost, and increasing the mineral density of plants as a food source for mankind and animals. What if one realizes that plant roots will never use more than 4-7% of the total available bulk soil? Does that mean that we over-fertilize? Do we really lose 50-70% of the applied nitrogen, and do we settle for the fact that most of the phosphate that is applied will not be used by plants?

We will take a close look at how plants actually determine what they need and when they need it. Plant root exudates change the pH of the rhizosphere to make sure the right elements are being absorbed. All this, of course, with the help of mycorrhizal fungi and specific rhizobacteria. In this workshop, Pius will explain how plant roots and their true symbionts will increase the soil quality and how important the rhizosphere is for both the plant and the soil. After this workshop, you will know why plants and plants only are the best soil quality improvers.

Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin

From Farm to Table: Building a Regenerative Agriculture Revolution

"Farming While a Revolutionary" may well be the title of a book that we need to collectively write in the years ahead, as a regenerative agricultural revolution is past overdue. To achieve the needed changes in the food system, we must rethink how we are individually and collectively approaching the challenges we face as we attempt to change the agriculture sector from degenerative to regenerative. Where we depart from and our final destination are two key aspects to define in order to succeed at creating the necessary change at the needed scale. This session will challenge commonly accepted assumptions as to what represents an actual solution in the era of mass communications, social media and whitewashing. There is something subtle, subversive and powerful hidden right under our feet, in the air, the water and all around us – a power, when unleashed, that can render large sectors of the industrial agriculture complex unnecessary and obsolete. Do we understand what it means to build an agricultural revolution? Are we interested and willing to do what it takes?

Sande Beddoe

A Few Secrets for your Health in Reams' Biological Theory of Ionization

For this talk, Sande will share a wide range of critical and lesser known "secrets" about your health, as understood through Reams' Biological Theory of Ionization (RBTI). Do you know what is the most vital mineral that your body requires? Learn what it is, and just as importantly, what form your body requires. Learn about your most critical "nutritional" organ, and the proper way to feed and care for it.

A lot of nutritional information is not based on fact. Are you following a health fad or health fact? Learn how to tell the difference, and how RBTI is a real reference point, and how it can be a predictor of your health "before it happens". Is there a chemical reason for why you feel the way you do? Where does mental and emotional well-being start? Sande will share Reams' secrets of Vitamin C so that you might gain new insight in what role it plays in your body chemistry - a nuanced understanding that recognizes there are many different "kinds" (chemically speaking), and no one size or type that fits all. Do you know what is special about "steam distilled" water? Or why water must be really pure and really "wet" to properly support body chemistry? Don't miss this eye-opening discussion that will surely be food for thought!

Sande Beddoe

In Your Garden: Reams' Biological Theory of Ionization

In this presentation about how the principles of Reams' Biological Theory of Ionization is relevant to your garden, we will start at the beginning with the truth about seeds so that we might gain a new appreciation for the "lowly" vegetable seed, and what it needs to perform to it's fullest potential in your garden. We will look at how natural plant sugars deliver nutrients, and why they are so critical to human and animal health. We will explore what type of growth you might be seeing in your garden - growth "by default" or "purpose" - what the difference between these growth patterns is, and how it can be regulated to produce nutrient density. There are vital principles to understand in raising high quality produce - if not properly understood or practiced, your garden might be an accident waiting to happen! Critical to your success in the garden is the soil your plants are growing in and the nutrients available to them. We will dig into the basic steps of getting your soil mineralization program started, and why they are essential for optimum results and the healthiest food to put on your plate.

Panel Discussions

Lisa & Lydia Stokke, Jonas Hunter, and Dan Kittredge

The Next Generation of the Real Food Campaign

Come hang out with us for an interactive workshop for Citizen Science! Next 7, in collaboration with BFA and OurSci, will be expanding this exciting campaign in 2020 for calibration of the Bionutrient Sensing Meter. Hear what we have planned for the next phase of the Real Food Campaign – and bring your ideas!

Kris Hubbard, Lisa Bloodnick, and Nate Kleinman

Seeds: Traditional Heritage & Wisdom, Future Biodiversity & Security

Meet some of the farmers, seed breeders, seed growers and seed stewards who are working to preserve history, culture and flavor as they also work to increase diversity and resilience. Seeds and their growers enjoy a relationship based on tradition and wisdom passed down. Yet seeds and growers face many challenges today. Come hear how our seed panel thinks about, works with, and works around some of the evolving issues – from weather to scientific modification to answering the question, Who ‘owns’ the seeds?

Mark Cohen, Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin, and Guido Masé

Psychological Compatibility with Diversity

How does intuition interact with complexity? What are our innate human psychological barriers to understanding healthy, wild systems? And why do we need to understand these systems to regenerate and maintain diverse ecosystems?

Kathleen DiChiara and Jordan Schmidt

Restoring Nutrient Density to Our Food Supply and Why It Matters

Essential micronutrients are critical to the biochemical processes that drive all the functions in the human body. Prioritizing foods with a higher nutrient density ensures that we get enough vitamins, minerals and fatty acids from the food we eat. There was a time when we had little concern about the right ratios and nutrient density. Today, we know that not all food is created equal.

In carrots, the Real Food Campaign (RFC) found as much as a 200:1 variation in polyphenols, and 90:1 for antioxidants. In spinach, the variation was 75:1 in polyphenols, and 90:1 for antioxidants. Broadly across the spectrum, there are significant variations in the vital nutrients we need to prevent and reverse chronic disease and live our best lives.

Nutritional value has the potential to improve the quality of crops, ecosystems, and human health. However, over 95% of the world’s population is afflicted with some form of illness, with over a third having more than five ailments. 50% of the children in the U.S. suffer with a chronic disease. It’s clear that the general public must embrace the understanding that our food has the capacity to regenerate health, which will incentivize their choices and drive the entire food supply chain to focus on nutritional value as a key metric.

In this panel, we will explore some of the complex issues surrounding the impact of nutrition on human health, including:

  • Should we be comparing our nutrient intake against nutrient targets?
  • If we know the nutrient deficiencies associated with various health conditions, should our symptoms drive our food choices?
  • What role does supplementation and food fortification play?
  • Can we still rely on flavor and satiety to ensure we get the nutrients and energy we need?
  • What kind of information does our food carry with it?
  • What happens beyond the plate when we focus on the joy of real food?
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