002 – Biodynamics, Demystified Part 1

002 – Biodynamics, Demystified Part 1

with host Linda Borghi and guest Abby Porter

Farm-A-Yard Podcast logo: orange sun with sunbeams rising over a mound of black dirt with 2 sprouts and a microphone in green coming up out of the soil.
Farm-A-Yard Podcast — It’s a movement… have ya heard?

Abby Porter from the Josephine Porter Institute for Applied Biodynamics shares the history of Biodynamic methods and preparations. Abby’s mother, Josephine Porter, founded the Institute. First in a series about biodynamics with Abby Porter which describes the 7 principles of Biodynamic Agriculture.

Get Part 2: http://farm-a-yard.com/p002-2

This podcast is made possible by funding by our Patreon supporters.  For extra free content or to become a patron please see us at https://www.patreon.com/FarmAYard

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Music credit: “Insomnia” by John Sheehan.  Used with permission.

000 – Welcome to Farm-A-Yard

000 – Welcome to Farm-A-Yard

with co-founders Linda Borghi and Criss Ittermann

Farm-A-Yard Podcast logo: orange sun with sunbeams rising over a mound of black dirt with 2 sprouts and a microphone in green coming up out of the soil.
Farm-A-Yard Podcast — It’s a movement… have ya heard?

We are serious about turning the 48.5 million acres of lawn in America into food production!  Farm-A-Yard: It’s a movement… have ya heard?  Linda Borghi and Criss Ittermann, two of the co-founders of Farm-a-Yard, share about the birth of the Farm-A-yard movement as a response to the challenges of soil degradation and food insecurity issues facing our country and the world.

You’ll notice in this episode that Farm-A-Yard is all about solutions, sprinkled with plenty of laughter and gratitude to pave the way for sustainable, lasting change.

This podcast is made possible by funding by our Patreon supporters.  

For extra free content or to become a patron please see us at https://www.patreon.com/FarmAYard

Links:

Music credit: “Insomnia” by John Sheehan.  Used with permission.

Microbes Are Microscopic

For the most part, the soil is a mystery. Based on the rate of discovery it is estimated that only 5% of bacteria and 10% of fungi have even been identified. As Leonardo da Vinci said, “We know more about the movement of celestial bodies than about the soil underfoot.”

What we do know is that soil is alive with, not just the animals and arthropods that we can see, but trillions upon trillions of microscopic organisms with names like fungi, bacteria, actinomycete, protozoa, and nematode.

Think of microbes as the plankton of the soil. They are the base of the “soil food web”, working to recycle the waste of the world into plant food. They make compost, and beer, cheese, kombucha, bread, mushrooms, and so much more.  

There is another universe in the soil that is completely out of sight without a microscope. Here are some statistics:

  • Up to 500,000 bacteria can fit in the period of the exclamation point at the end of this sentence!
  • There are literally billions of microbes and miles of fungal hyphae in a couple tablespoons of good compost.
  • A teaspoon of colloidal humus has the surface area of a football field!
  • The average bacterial cell is 1/25,000 of an inch in length and even smaller in diameter. In other words, one could place 25,000 bacteria cells, side by side, on an inch-long line.
  • By contrast, if 25,000 people were lined up shoulder to shoulder, they would make a line over 18 miles long.
  • Microbes are everywhere, there are more microbial cells in and on a human not taking antibiotics than there are human cells.
  • The book Secrets of the Soil says that a single microbe reaching maturity and dividing within less than half an hour, can, in the course of a day, grow into 300 million more; and in another day, to more than the number of human beings that have ever lived.
  • According to the book Microcosmos, bacteria, in four days of unlimited growth, could outnumber all the protons and even the quarks estimated to exist within the universe.
  • A typical bacteria would be something like 0.003 mm long and it would weigh only 0.000000000001 grams.
  • Recently nanobacteria called archaea a hundred times smaller than common bacteria, have been found.  
  • At the other end of the scale, giant bacteria are known.  One, Epulopiscium fishelsoni is 0.06 mm long and 0.008 mm wide.
  • True diversity cannot be understood in a lab or with a microscope. It can only be established through DNA testing. Even then, how do we even know what we’re looking for?
  • The best indication of diversity is whether the inoculant was created in a natural setting, preferably a farm, and in the how well the product performs when growing plants.  
  • Lab-based inoculants lack the strength of microbes from Nature. Microbes from Nature have more life experience.

BioEnergetic farming is soil-centered. Feed the soil, not the plant. Organic fertilizers are the baking ingredients, and compost tea is like the yeast that makes the bread. Conventional farming is drowning, “organic” farming is treading water, and BioEnergetic farming is swimming where you want to go.   

The last 50 years in agronomy has been dominated by a mineral, and mostly artificial, approach to agriculture. Big Ag is a result of the misguided business model of large corporations selling artificial chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, etc. that value profit over farming and work to kill soil microbes. The soil is no more than an inert sponge.   

It doesn’t take much to turn dirt into soil. And it starts with soil microbes.


 

So What’s with Water? You Can’t Learn This Anywhere Else…

I LOVE WATER… especially clean flowing river water.  I actually crave it and must make my way to get in a clean river every now and then, which is not an easy thing to find these days.

Like Linda Borghi and Evan Folds, I’ve been very concerned about water quality for a very long time and have chosen not to drink tap water for at least 40 years.  It is shocking at how little respect is shown toward water’s protection and management.

For the first time, after listening to Evan Folds as he broke down some concepts about water, I made a new connection on a very intuitive level.

Water is alive.  It is a nutrient.  It’s not just wet.

Water is an unbelievably complex subject.  There are more than 90 different parameters of water that can be measured & manipulated.

What surprised me the most is that there is an undeniable fact that water implosion is one of the most powerful components in the practice of Bio-dynamic/Bio-Energetic Ag.

I can’t tell you how intrigued I was with this new understanding!

The information that Evan will explain in his upcoming free webinar is not taught anywhere else. (get on the mailing list to be notified)  We all owe it to ourselves to learn how to really take care of the soil and how to leverage the wonders of water if we want to benefit from true nutrient dense foods.

You will learn about minerals, microbes, life force energy, the truth about typical soil management practices that only make challenged soil worse. 

Evan’s free webinar also sets the record straight about NPK, PH and nitrogen.  No where else will you find a clearer understanding as to why the emphasis on these is only creating more problems.

It will be an eye-opening time to say the least.

It has been some of the best time I have ever spent in the farming realm and it has revolutionized my path for sustainable growing success.

What you didn’t know to ask about soil health…  

This information will unlock sustainable practices and teach you how to release the life force energy that grows and matures your soil, produces truly healthy plants and heals the environment including people!

You will not just get tips here, but a foundation that will be awe inspiring and that will give you a new found respect for the intelligence of the soil and of water.

 

 

What is BioDynamic Agriculture? 

I met someone recently who said that whenever he ask someone about Biodynamics, he couldn’t find anyone who could really explain it.  

Me too, until I met Evan Folds.

Here is one reason why it may seem to be hard to explain. 

It’s because it’s not just a method.  It is more than a method.  

It invites you into a personal experience.  

Biodynamics can be explained scientifically to a great extent by some, yet you don’t have to be able to fully understand it in order to experience it’s “dynamic” effects.  Isn’t that how nature is?  Science helps us to  understand, explain, quantify and prove what is observed in nature.

 Science also, at times, tries to manipulate and not always in the best interest of the whole of the living system and often without serious conscientious regard for the possible consequences.

Nature as a whole system is in a very intense, vital, dependent relationship. Biodynamics invites us to be in relationship with the synergy of nature.  We can learn from, flow with and try our best not to hinder the living forces of the foodweb.  

Read how Evan Folds explains:

The BioDynamic Method

 

Artificial Fertilizer is “Fast Food” for Plants

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Artificial fertilizers contribute to soil degeneration.  It is no different than highly processed fast food which causes the degeneration of human health.  It’s like drinking caffeine to artificially get the energy you need temporarily but not address the real reason for your low energy.

Healthy soil can sustain itself because it has the real food and healthy environment it needs to regenerate and propagate.  That’s what nature does naturally, all on its own.

Healthy soil makes healthy plants for healthy people.  Period.

Today, many people are interested in learning how to grow some of their own foods without toxic/artificial inputs.

Many people have tried and failed too.

One reason is that the soil is so depleted and it takes quite a while to make your own compost and build your soil health.

I know this because it happened to me when I first got started. All I had was sand to work with.

A lot of people try to garden and when they fail they think that they just have a “black thumb”, when it’s really about the damaged condition of the soil, which is, then, rightfully called “dead dirt” because of toxic chemicals and the absence of living organisms.

One of the biggest challenges with starting a garden or farming project is having the healthy soil you need to make it successful.

Everything depends on that.

FYI…Healthy soil cannot be found in a bag at the garden stores.

BUT DON’T LET THAT STOP YOU!

Linda Borghi has been a Biodynamic farmer for years and knows intimately that the quality of her harvests hinged on the simple commitment to feeding the microbes in the soil with the Biodynamic stir and spray preparations.  She was personally so profoundly affected by the dynamic results that she was determined to spray the country!!

This was really exciting for me to finally learn about this simple solution and it has saved me so much time, work, money and GUESSING.

I was just surrendered to the fact that I had to take the natural “slow road” to fertility by making my own compost and covercropping etc.

Then I got a prescription for my soil from Evan Folds, and he explained, in a comprehensive soil report, exactly what was going on.   He also made some mineral recommendations that I decided to apply to correct those deficiencies.  Now all I do is stir & spray the food for the microbes and continue to add organic matter.  Simple.

I was so grateful to hear Linda’s experience and find out about this.

Check out the education and solutions at:

www.microbemakers.com   (Special 10% discount, use code: farm-a-yard)

Evan Folds, the Soil Doc can also give you a detailed prescription to meet the unique needs of your soil if you’re interested.

Or you can just start stirring and spraying to feed the microbes and just let them do the work for you.

This concept parallels the picture of the human gut and its need for prebiotics to feed the microbiome for gut health.  This is critical for a strong immune system.

Biodynamics/BioEnergetics is food to build/heal the earth’s immune system.

https://www.facebook.com/microbemakers/videos/1166775200108466/

Linda would LOVE IT if you joined Farm-A-Yard in spraying your part of the country too!!   Feed the microbes, heal the earth, heal the people!

We can do this.

This wholistic approach builds soil so effectively that it also cuts water consumption by at least 50%!

FYI….Did you know that in 10  years 57% of our farmers will be retiring? So who is going to grow our food?

Just one more reason to be an urban farmer and farm your yard. (“just sayin”)

Changing the way we eat one yard at a time.

It’s a movement, have ya heard?

A Personal Food Revolution

plant-grow-eat-signWe at Farm-A-Yard invite you to take action for a personal food revolution.

So what does a personal food revolution look like?

For some people it means becoming a more conscience mindful eater. Learning to listen to their body and noting how different foods affect their energy, positively or negatively and whether they get bloated or have joint pain, etc. They take note of the kind of relationship they have with food and if that is working for them.

For others it’s about making mindful choices of where their food comes from. Is good food accessible to everyone in their community?  How was it was grown or raised?  Mindfulness like this along with a desire to support a local economy and local farmers who are fair and mindful also of good working conditions for their farm workers.

The ultimate personal revolution for me, is learning to grow my own food, getting back in touch with the vibrant life force of the earth and learn from the quiet, invisible, dynamic wisdom under my feet.

It’s important to me to learn how to best grow my own chemical free food in a way that nurtures and supports the earth that is feeding me.

So why else is this so important?

Our nation’s health crisis is not joke.  We’re the top country in the world for chronic diseases, obesity and diabetes.

So, what is the reason?  It is widely accepted that it has everything to do what we are eating and drinking, the drugs people are taking and generally the soup of environmental toxins surrounding us, not to mention the impact of other life stressors and anxieties.

Our healthcare system today is more accurately described as being focused on the management of “sick care”, not “healthcare”.  We spend billions of dollars to try and find “cures” (and the crisis has only worsened),  but we continue to lack getting to the “root” of the problem and only treat sympthoms.

We have to trace it back to our management of our soil and water, on which our very existence depends.  If we don’t get that right, then all our other efforts, though they are vitally important to the overall solution, all will be in vain because without healthy soil, nothing can be sustainable.

That is why I made the decision, as an urban farmer, to grow BioEnergetically/Biodynamically.  Though I have grown without pesticides and herbicides, and chemical fertilizers, it’s not enough for the poor lifeless dirt that is the norm in America. The soil organisms need to be fed.

Biodynamic farming actually farms the soil, the air and even people.  The Biodynamic preparations are food for the microbes in the soil and the whole eco environment.  The human gut and inner ecosystem is a mirror of the soil web. Our life depends on the health of the invisible microbota of the earth and our connection to it.

So, this is what takes our educational webinars to another level.  Get on our mailing list for more information, you’ll be glad you did.

 

 

Linda Borghi Speaks at Cultivating Profits in Small Scale Farming Conference

Raise your hand if you plan to dig up some of your lawn and

grow yourself some food.

Linda Borghi was challenging all the attendees at the Cultivating Profits in Small Scale Farming Conference at Fayetteville State University in Fayetteville, NC,  to do just that!

Linda and I believe that the good food movement needs to be fun and like many things also needs a jingle and so at the end of the presentation Linda and Marsha, with ukulele in hand, shared the Farm-A-Yard song for a sing-along with the attendees!  And a one and a two…..

Farm-A-Yard Song

Tune: Battle Hymn of the Republic

Farm-A-Yard it’s a movement

Have ya heard, have ya heard?

Turning lawns into food

Spread the word, spread the word

Make some cash

Ditch the grass

Feed yourself, feed the world

Farm-A-Yard it’s a movement

Have ya heard, have ya heard?

Yard to table

We are able

It’s the food that needs no label

Be a Farmer in your own backyard

Start today it’s a movement

Have ya heard, have ya heard?

Farm-A-Yard is a movement to equip folks to grow food to feed their families and even show you how to make an income part-time or full time. Our nation has a bad habit of wasting resources on the 48 million acres of lawn in this country which is depleting our precious water resources and adding tons of toxic chemicals that are polluting the environment…and for what?  

We’re out to change that in a big way!

Farm-A-Yard is localizing our food system one yard at a time.

Farm-A-Yard it’s a movement, have ya heard?  Join the movement, spread the word!

In the New Year, Farm-a-Yard will continue to bring its educational webinars that lay out the step by step basic skills necessary to Farm-a-Yard Biodynamically with a proven business model that shows you how to cultivate sustainable profits and so much more!  

You don’t even have to own land.

Linda Borghi and Evan Folds make a truly Biodynamic team to bring all the pieces together for anyone looking to be successful in growing food for their family or to generate a viable, sustainable income.

Do you want to learn how to transform your soil for results that will blow your mind?  All life hinges on the health of our soil.

We’ve got the “dirt cure” that takes the guesswork out

of how to regenerate the soil.  

This information is revolutionary!  

You’ll never look at the soil in the same way again!  

You can check out some amazing info at www.microbemakers.com.

Get on our email list to learn more 

www.farm-a-yard.com

Why Farm-A-Yard? Background Story

So, being that I am the kind of person who can’t just sit around complaining and lament the problem, I literally “dug” in to be a part of the solution.

I couldn’t help myself…..I never considered myself an activist, but when the pieces started coming together about why we are in such a health crisis in this country, my hair was on fire!  What we now know is only the tip of the iceberg and Titanic is going down, while some are still playing the music and saying that everything is ok.

Sometimes I feel a little bit like Noah, who day by day spent his time building an Ark even though it had never rained before.  Though he looked silly to others, he kept on building.  We need to build local food systems for real food security and to do that we need to build local food chains of small farmers, yard farmers other food entrepreneurs.

Commercial food is seriously altered, highly processed, lacking in nutrients and even produce is laden with chemicals. We have also been in a huge GMO experiment without our consent, which starting in the 90’s.

So, being that I am the kind of person who can’t just sit around complaining and lament the problem, I literally “dug” in to be a part of the solution.

I was compelled to establish a Sustainable Neighbors meetup group in 2012, right after I moved from California and discovered how difficult it was to access locally grown, chemical free food in Fayetteville, NC.

In my search for healthy, locally produced food, there came another discovery… I found very few local small farmers actually growing their own produce to sell directly to the consumer.  To add to this concern, I could not find a farmer who was not treating their land and crops with commercial fertilizer, pesticides and herbicides.

I recognized that all the processed foods being consumed and the lack of access to healthy produce was the main factor in the widespread health disparities in food deserts around the country.

I told myself that it didn’t have to be this way!  My driving force now is to see people eat well and get well.

I have been observing the evolution of the food system for a long time and I am old enough to know what real food is and tastes like.  I began to feel the urgency, for the sake of my grandchildren AND everyone’s grandchildren, to share the knowledge and skills of how to grow, preserve, cook from scratch and share other sustainable living skills and resources.  Because of this, Sustainable Neighbors Meetup was born. www.meetup.com/sustainableneighbors   www.sustainableneighborsnc.com

I was excited and inspired by the growth of the urban agriculture movement in cities around the country. We can do this and there is an opportunity to earn money too.  This is how to be sustainable and it offers entrepreneurship opportunities to create jobs.

With other concerned neighbors and a vision to build resilient neighborhoods and communities, we began working to find farmers and educate and connect consumers to where their food comes from.  When I met Linda Borghi, Biodynamic/Farmer  in 2015 and we joined forces to launch the Farm-A-Yard movement with Evan Folds of www.MicrobeMakers.com  and Melissa Jones of www.FromScratchMag.com  to teach others how to  turn lawns into food across the country.

We are collaborating with many who, like us, are also passionate to be the change they want to see in the world starting with their yard.

In the Farm-A-Yard course, our students learn critical keys to success from experts in the field.  BioEnergetics is vital for soil regeneration and recovering the nutritional value of the plants we grow. Students can get an in depth soil test so that they know exactly what to do to for their soil.  Students also are given cutting edge marketing and recordkeeping tools that save time and money. Everything you need in one awesome package with step by step instructions.

We all have the ability to make our communities food secure,   By voting with our dollars (https://slowmoneync.org/), supporting local small farmers and/or learning to grow and preserve food for ourselves, you can be part of the movement.

IT’S A MOVEMENT, HAVE YOU HEARD?

Training Yard Farmers, Recruiting Yards

headshot-marsha-copyAbout Marsha Howe

Sustainable Neighbors and the Farm-A-Yard grassroots projects were born out of the concern around the eroding of our health through toxic processed foods, the lack of access to fresh, local, seasonal produce as well as the need to build local food systems for real food security. As Director of Food Education with Guiding Wellness Institute, Marsha facilitates urban farming/local food education and training to secure and sustain local food access and economic opportunity for healthier, resilient communities.

Linda Borghi- “Women Who Farm” Interview 2016

Through online webinars, I teach, encourage and empower others to convert lawns into food production areas

Linda Borghi- “Women Who Farm” Interview 2016

What was your earliest memory of taking part in the local food system?

My earliest memory of taking part in the local food system was in 1978 in Bogota New Jersey which is located 5 miles from Midtown Manhattan.

I was a newlywed and we purchased a home that had 67 stairs to the front door, no driveway or garage but the front of that house look like a farm to me. I even grew some corn. At that point Burpee must have thought I had a palatial mansion because every square inch of that property that was capable of growing, was.

Please explain your project and work.

Years later I established Abundant Life Farm, located in the state of New York and I grew bio-dynamically in two locations for 12 years. I practiced an urban farming model called SPIN farming (small plot intensive) which I discovered while combing the internet. It was the only business model that I could find for someone who was growing on small plots of land like myself. I have a business background so I was looking for how to make small scale farming profitable.

Over the years I have taught this model in Africa and Australia and throughout the US. Last season I realized that I could not continue to farm well and teach well at the same time so this grandmother decided to take it on the road. My project is a movement and it’s called Farm-A-Yard. With 40 and a half million acres of lawn in our country that’s consuming 40% of the drinking water on the East Coast, we need to change our ways and that’s what I’m determined to help accomplish.

Through online webinars, I teach, encourage and empower others to convert lawns into food production areas

How has your life changed since you started growing food?

I’ve been growing food for 34 years I can’t even imagine how it was before I grew food. Now that I am not farming I’ve relocated to Beaufort South Carolina in a residential area. The first thing I did was cut out 500 square feet of the lawn to get some food in. I felt very jittery without having food outside my kitchen door.

What has your largest challenge been?  Have you found a way to overcome it? If so, how? 

My largest challenge has been getting others to pay attention. Because I’ve seen so many changes in the past 35 years, right before my very eyes, I feel a responsibility as a 61 year old grandmother to share with others the knowledge that I have. The way I have found to overcome it is to teach, in person, universities, online. That’s my plan.

How can men be allies to women farmers? 

Men can be allies to women farmers through participation, collaboration and taking action.

What made you want to take up this way of life? And how did you get started? 

This way of life was gifted to me from my grandmothers, both my father’s mother and my mother’s mother. They made such an impression on me from such a young age.

I can remember when I was at the tender age of seven saying to myself (about my father’s mother) when I grow up I’m going to be just like you Nonna. Getting started just came naturally.

What has farming/growing food taught you? And how has it changed you? 

Farming and growing food has taught me the art of observation. The most important of all of the skills farming has given me is the skill of observation. Because it’s one of the skills that I’ve honed in on I’m able to apply it in all of the aspects of my life. It’s been quite a blessing!

What is your ten-year vision for yourself? 

My 10 year vision would be at the ripe age of 71 I would be able to drive down suburban neighborhoods and see zucchini growing and lettuce growing and food growing that is my ultimate vision.

What skills have you learned? Can you explain and teach some of those skills to our readers?

I have learned how to make “value added products from growing garlic.  Also how to ferment and  how to grow amazing tomatoes. From growing food and earning money right down to talking about the microbes, I stay on top of the cutting edge information for my students.

What does permaculture mean to you and how does it work in your farm/garden? 

I find permaculture extremely interesting. I’ve taken some course work online in reference to permaculture and what I realized is that it was exactly the way I have been in relationship with the land.

Are you a mother that farms? Can you share your story and experience? 

I’m a grandmother who farms and it’s my intention to reach all of the mothers out there so that they can have true food security.

Are you a first generation farmer, or has farming been in your blood for generations? Please explain the difficulties and victories of whichever perspective applies to you.

I am the oldest of eight in a family of fine art dealers. I had no background in farming within my family.  It’s disturbing that my family would rather I introduced myself as a gardener then as a farmer.

Linda Borghi
Linda@farm-a-yard.com   www.Farm-A-Yard.com   It’s a Movement, Have You Heard?