Microbiomes, Roots, and Guts
Exploring the common ground that links health in plants and people
Through a narrative that weaves science, history, and personal experience, Biklé explores the symbiotic relationships that occur in the soil around a plant's roots as well as a person's gut. We and the botanical world have co-evolved with our respective microbiomes. She'll share the out-of-sight biological bazaars beneath our feet and within our bodies as well as the stunning parallels between plants and people. Diet, it turns out, both our own as well as that of the botanical world, profoundly influences the way soil and gut microbiomes function. And this means it is time to change how we grow food and practice medicine.
Lots of Calories, But Lacking in Nutrition
Millennials and 'alt' consumers expect changes
In this presentation, we will cover how and why more of the world's inhabitants have enough calories to sustain themselves, yet the incidence of chronic illnesses is at epidemic levels. What are the reasons? What are the solutions? And how do we implement the changes needed to change a number of the paradigms in the food production, processing, evaluation and marketing systems? We now know more about mineral and micronutrient needs of plants and how to respond with different available products. There are also testing protocols and instruments that can be used to make diagnoses. In addition, there is a segment of the medical community that are independent thinkers and not imbedded in the pharmaceutical community. They have their own methods of tracking down the true cause of nutrition or exposure related chronic diseases. These are the main ones we should rely on to get accurate advice from and to rely on to establish policy.
Trouble Brewing in Modern Ag Production and Possible Solutions
In both the US and around the world, what we call modern Ag production practices seem to be going off the track. Insect, weed and disease resistance issues have been getting worse, and there is a general lack of attention towards mineral nutrition. Luckily, we see advances being made with new products, safer herbicides, polymers that will extend residual periods, insightful disease control products and huge advances in instrumentation.
Phenomenology and the Possibility of a Science of Qualities
Insights for the Renewal of Agriculture
Enhancing the vitality of the soil is not just a matter of learning a set of particular methods, just as the vitality of the soil is not only a matter of its chemical composition. We need not just a shift in practices, but also a shift in human consciousness out of which more life-sustaining ways of interacting with nature in agriculture can develop. This demands new qualitative ways of understanding that recognize and focus on dynamic processes. Soil health is bound up with the dynamics of the whole farm organism, which includes the inner perspectives of the farmers.
In this light, we'll also explore the following questions: What are qualities? What are the scientific boundaries and possibilities for the development of a science of qualities? How can we deepen our perception and understanding of them?
Managing Crop Growth Amid Environmental Imbalance
In our challenged environment, full of pollution and climate distortions, insects, weeds and disease proliferate. With these challenges, in order to make the right call at the right time, a greater understanding of crop management techniques is critical for raising a vigorous healthful crop. Subjects to be covered include recognizing the signs of various imbalances, managing nutrients for balance at different plant growth periods, and adapting cultural techniques to varying environment conditions.
Superhighways of the Soil
The magic of mycorrhizal networks
An aspect of plant community structure that is gaining increased research attention is the presence of 'common mycorrhizal networks' (CMNs) in multi-species cover crops, cash crops grown with companion plants and high-diversity pastures. It has been found that plants in communities assist each other by linking together in vast underground superhighways through which carbon, water and nutrients are exchanged. Common mycorrhizal networks increase plant resistance to pests and diseases as well as enhancing plant vigor and improving soil health through increased rates of carbon sequestration.
Nitrogen: the Double-Edged Sword
The use of inorganic nitrogen in agriculture is recognized as a highly inefficient - and polluting - practice. Globally, over $100 billion of nitrogen fertilizers are applied to crops and pastures every year. Between 10 and 40% of the applied nitrogen is taken up by plants. Much of the remaining 60% to 90% is returned to the atmosphere as ammonia or nitrous oxide - or leached to aquatic ecosystems as nitrate. Due to its high mobility, inorganic nitrogen has become a key stressor for terrestrial, freshwater and marine environments. This session will explore how a whole-farm approach to the restoration of soil biodiversity can replace the need for inorganic nitrogen fertilizers.
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.
Bringing Our Soil Back to Life
Restoring Fertility to Feed the World and Cool the Planet
Throughout history societies that degraded their soil did not last. Today, widespread soil degradation presents the least know global environmental crisis that humanity faces. Montgomery lays out the historical roots of soil degradation and relates his experiences visiting farmers around the world who reversed this ancient pattern. They have restored fertility to their land and increased soil organic matter through adopting conservation agriculture practices. By cultivating beneficial soil life through ditching the plow, growing cover crops, and adopting complex rotations farmers in both the developed and developing worlds were able to maintain or increase their yields while using far less diesel and agrochemicals, resulting in a better bottom line.
Aiming for Quality Growth
Supplementing nitrogen in vegetable production while maintaining quality
As commercial farmers we continued to be rewarded by yield; as a key mineral element Nitrogen may promote heavy yields and thereby increase productivity (and profit). In this workshop we'll discuss the role for supplemental nitrogen and strategies to ensure quality while pushing yields. Our discussion will include the importance of a balanced approach to soil fertility, a focus on key micronutrients, contrasting different forms of Nitrogen amendments, incorporating simple trials in your planting plan, and an overview of practical Nitrogen budgets across the spectrum of the seasons.
Life in the Soil
Soil, by definition, requires living microorganisms and organic matter to feed those organisms. In turn, the correct set of organisms provide plants with a range of benefits, from releasing plant-available nutrients in the root system as directed by the plant, to building pore space for roots and removing compaction, to protecting roots from diseases and pests, and determining which plants will grow best in different conditions. The critically important groups of soil organisms will be discussed, relative to what they do, how they interact with other organisms in soil, and how to easily and simply identify these organisms.
Replenishing Soil Biology in Different Ecosystems
Different methods need to be used to return and regenerate the critically important microorganisms in different systems. To successfully regenerate soil, the methods used must match a host of factors, such as which plant species are desired, what the seasonal cycles are, and when the grower wants to start the process, the equipment the grower has, the desired diversity within the ecosystem, compaction problems, pests, diseases and weeds, to name a few. Examples of successful conversion to healthy systems, improved crop yields and improved nutrient concentrations in plants will be shown.
Effect of Structured Water on Plant Growth and Metabolism
Previous studies indicated the increased bioavailability and bioefficacy of nutrients taken up in clustered water for mammalian systems. This effect is assumedly due to smaller hydration spheres around nutrients which can pass through cell membranes more readily allowing nutrient access to intracellular compartments. This research has now been extended to plant growth and plant metabolism. Hemp and chia plants were grown in the presence of microclustered water obtained using a patented procedure involving sequential exposure of water to strong magnetic fields and light. Biomass and yield increased by approximately 80% and in the case of chia seeds, calcium levels increased as much as 10-fold. A feasible mechanism to explain these results will be discussed involving plant aquaporins and modifications in cellular metabolism.
Connecting the Ecologies
How to harness the links between the world inside us and the world around us to promote optimal health
Traditional cultures place a strong emphasis on nurturing the inspired spirit: through rituals of initiation and daily practices that reinforce links to the living world, these indigenous systems teach us to tap into the well of life-renewing creativity all around us. These practices are less emphasized in our modern world, replaced with a drive for material possessions as a way to fill the need for that creative source. What can we do about this?
The first step is to recognize that our consciousness is not limited to our mind, or brain, but is present throughout our physiology - and may extend beyond it, as well! We will explore the links between food, microbiome, and mood, touching on how our phytonutrient-poor diets are both a symptom and cause of spirit sickness. Medicinal plants and mushrooms, wild and unhybridized, will emerge as a possible piece of the solution. Next, we will move outward to review emerging research on how phytonutrients are really more like eco-hormones that our environment uses to ensure the healthy, harmonious expressions of the beings that live within it. Our genetic blueprint functions as an antenna for these eco-hormones, and the unfolding of our DNA - in relation to mood, inflammation, energy, and more - is intimately tied to the signals it receives from the surrounding ecology.
Throughout, we will look at practical techniques involving design, medicinal plants, and simple rituals to mindfully make use of these insights to bring a greater level of connection, and thereby creative inspiration, to our lives and communities. We will leave with the realization that our spirits and lives are interlinked: the health of field and forest is tied to our own, and our inspired thoughts are those of the world breathing through us.
Low-tech Farm Hacks
New ideas from a young farmer
John will present an assortment of innovative farm tools and hacks designed to increase efficiency, profits, and production in small scale farming. The tools presented will include a DIY Paper Pot Transplanter, No-Till Cover Crop Cutter, Seed Germination Chamber, Solar Powered Dryer, Solar Powered Essential Oil Distiller, along with other concepts and experimental prototypes.
What is Life? A Workshop.
Every individual and every society requires a theory of life that organises their collective understanding of themselves and their surroundings. The dominant organising principle favoured by modern Western society is genetics. In this worldview, DNA organizes and controls all life: cells, organisms, ecosystems, and even society. As will be shown, this interpretation of life is factually incorrect. It also leads to perverse conclusions and public policies and the systematic sidelining of alternative possibilities and holistic worldviews. Among the most damaging manifestations of reducing life to genetics is social Darwinist thought: life as competition. Other manifestations include: fixations on inherited intelligence; on crop breeding over improving farming systems; on gene patenting (No patents on life!); on genetic contributions to human health; and racism. Ultimately, to foreground the genetic aspect of biology is to demean humanity and all lifeforms.
Without invoking or requiring any mystical or challenging scientific properties or concepts, this workshop will enable you to shed (and shred) this worldview. Participants will explore a more robust conceptualization of life whose numerous practical benefits include a vastly enhanced understanding of the world and themselves. More than this, overthrowing the genetic framing of life is politically emancipatory, indeed, transformative. To understand why, we will explore how scientific preferences for a genetics-oriented worldview were never a historical accident, but rather a phenomenon with deep political roots. Participants will come to see that biology and political power have thus become co-dependent entities. They have together created a mythology around DNA intended to enhance and legitimate political authoritarianism. A key implication is that the reinvigoration of democratic thought and the rescuing of political power from elite domination are inseparable from the rejection of modern genetic mythology.
Harnessing the power of your gut microbes and repaving your biochemical pathways with the nutrients hidden in your food
There is an inextricable link between human health and the quality and diversity of your food. Speaking through the lens of a (once) determined patient and (now) nutrition practitioner, this lecture will stimulate your thinking about the hidden connection between what you feed your microbial partners and the role they play in preventing and reversing chronic disease. Kathleen will explore the powerful role that nutrition plays in restoring biochemical imbalances commonly found in individuals with chronic health conditions and how functional nutrition can influence the key areas of digestion, detoxification, neurological and immune functions. Kathleen believes that "managing" chronic disease with supplements instead of pharmaceutical medications is still disease management and that a lifetime of restrictive diets is not healing. True healing is possible when you know how to listen to the language of your body and properly identify what needs to be done to remedy what ails you.
How to Heal the Gut and Restore Your Vitality With Nutrition
Until recently, experts believed the lining of our digestive tract (often referred to collectively as "the gut".) was a wall of densely packed cells. Small nutrients could squeeze between those cells and enter your bloodstream, but bacteria and large food molecules were turned away. But like everything else involving our gut—from our commensal bacteria to the use the probiotics —new research has shifted or challenged many of science's old notions. Current research suggests the lining of our gut is a dynamic structure and many studies support the connection between seemingly unrelated symptoms and our gut health. In fact, with almost 70 percent of our immune system housed in our digestive tract you maybe surprised at how many health conditions are directly related to or caused by increased intestinal permeability, or "leaky gut". In this lecture, Kathleen will explore the question: Is leaky gut syndrome a real thing? If so, can we use nutrition to heal the digestive tract and restore balance to all of our systems. She will cover the specific dietary triggers that cause digestive distress and the top foods and herbs for naturally healing the gut and nourishing vitality from the inside out.
"Secret Ingredients" by Jeffrey Smith & Amy Hart
Sneak preview of this new documentary film followed by Q&A
While the debate rages on about GMOs and pesticides, Secret Ingredients, a film by Jeffrey Smith and Amy Hart, shares dramatic stories of people who have regained their health after discovering the 'secret ingredients' in their food, and making a bold commitment to avoid them.
Kathleen, a triathlete who mysteriously became paralyzed with debilitating pain, began looking for answers to her health conditions, and those of her children who were also suffering from a list of chronic diseases and disorders – the most heartbreaking was her eldest son Stephen who was diagnosed with Autism at the age of four. At first she began eliminating certain foods, like gluten, dairy and soy, but they only saw limited results – and Stephen was still unable to speak or function like other children.
It wasn't until she removed GMO's and chemical pesticides that they suddenly saw dramatic results: the inflammation and pain disappeared; skin rashes faded away; asthma and bronchitis were suddenly gone; indigestion and bloating gone; and her son Stephen started to settle down and was actually able to learn and speak like other children. Kathleen's experience is not isolated. This film shares stories of other families who watched their children recover from autism, asthma, weight gain, skin and digestive disorders and other maladies after removing GMOs and pesticides. Also included are people who recovered from tumors, several types of cancer, and infertility. Interwoven with these personal stories are scientific explanations of how GMOs and pesticides can actually compromise human health – as well as testimonials from physicians who confirm that they see similar results in their patients who switch to non-GMO, organic diets. NY Times best selling author Dr. David Perlmutter explains how glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, can compromise our microbiome, promote inflammation, and exacerbate numerous health conditions.
Like PCBs, DDT, lead, and other toxic chemicals, it is reasonable to suspect that as long as industries are making billions, they are unlikely to reveal the truth about the health risks of their products. While Monsanto and the rest of the industry has worked mightily to protect their profits and suppress scientific evidence that clearly demonstrates any health risks – including cancer – this film includes an exclusive interview with an independent scientist who has gained access to the original test results submitted to the EPA for the approval of glyphosate. In order to obtain these sealed documents, he was forced to sign a non-disclosure agreement. If glyphosate is so safe, why are these and other documents not made public?
While cynics may disregard these miraculous stories of recovery as purely anecdotal, others may see them as a clue to a much larger trend in the deteriorating health of our society – and could very well leave them asking, What might happen if I remove the 'secret ingredients' from my own diet?
Restoring Diversity and Resilience
Strategies for water, food, and energy security in a changing climate
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 ,and 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. Bring your ideas and let's build decentralized habitats and networks from the soil up.
Off the Back of a Truck
How to use bionutrient dense principles in urban and suburban gardens
It's quite possible to take the bionutrient dense principles that are usually applied to farming and apply them to the homeowner vegetable (or flower) garden but it takes experimentation, exploration and curiosity to make the translation. Gardeners' plot sizes, soils, ecological and social needs are fundamentally different from most farmers – and may even be different from one side of the yard to the other. Learn some of the "tricks" that can ensure success.
Biofortification of Staple Foods Through Agronomic Means Rather Than Varietal Changes
While there are continuing deficits in food supply in (too) many countries, there is – or should be – concern about deficient and declining food quality, and not just quantity, in countries all around the world. There is a push from research institutions and commercial interests to improve the nutritional content of foods through plant breeding programs that attempt to raise nutritional value of foods through genetic biofortification. Research in India is showing, alternatively, that the micronutrient content of rice, one of the world's major staple foods, can be significantly enhanced by changing crop management practices. This is a kind of agronomic biofortification that can result from using the methods of the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), which are now being extrapolated also to other crops.
SRI, developed in Madagascar some 30 years ago, is gaining understanding and acceptance around the world, its merits having been demonstrated now in over 50 countries. Farmers, just by changing how they manage their plants, soil, water and nutrients, can raise their rice production by 20 to 50%, and often by 100% or more. This is achieved by their making reductions in seeds (lower plant density), in water, and in chemical fertilizers, relying mainly or entirely on compost. Crops grown with SRI methods are more robust and can resist the stresses of drought, storms and other hazards which are increasing with climate change. Recent studies have shown greater concentrations of Fe, Zn, Cu and Mn in rice grains with SRI cultivation, by 30-60%. More needs to be studied on this, but SRI methods which already achieve large improvements in grain quantity appear also able to enhance grain quality, as well as soil health.
Biomimicry emulating nature's time-tested patterns and strategies
A science that has not changed much in the last 60 to 80 years is soil testing - antiquated soil testing methods based on the wrong premise, using "harsh chemistry" to force ions of the soil cation exchange site.
Instead of asking the question, how does nature (plant roots) change the soil solution for nutrient availability. The current soil testing methodology does not mimic the biochemistry on how plant roots impact the soil solution for nutrient extraction. The three most abundant compounds in water-soluble plant root exudates (sugars, organic acids and amino acids). Currently, a majority of soil labs do use these compounds for their extraction methods.
The premise of the new Haney soil testing method is based on "biomimicry", using nature's green chemistry - water and the three most common root exudates - to estimate plant available NPK in the soil. The Haney method uses sophisticated water analyzers to determine the amount of water soluble organic N and C in the soil solution. By direct measurements of microbial food sources (water soluble N and C) in the soil solution, seven other parameters, and root exudates, estimates of NPK mineralization will be more accurate then current soil testing methodologies.
Soil testing methodology based on the incorrect premise has negatively impacted the health of most biota on terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. The over-application and dependency on man-made nutrients costs producers and society billions of dollars yearly.
Minerals for the Genetic Code
This talk reviews the book written by Chuck Walters (founder of AcresUSA) and Dr. Rich Olree, "Minerals for the Genetic Code" which describes the relationship of minerals and sub-atomic particles to the standard genetic code utilized by all genetic researchers worldwide.
Minerals and the Brain
"The Genetics of Innate" is a book being released at this conference, and gives a description of the contents of the third most abundant fluid of the human body and all the genes that are controlled by Cerebral Spinal Fluid (CSF). Most of the talk will be minerals-based as CSF has been found to contain 42 minerals. Hair minerals testing will highlighted as a biopsy to demonstrate the mineral burden on the due to dietary and environmental exposures.
Bad Minerals for Human Health
This talk will discuss a whole host of toxic minerals, including lead, cadmium, polonium, and many more with discussion of detoxification. Understanding how bad minerals displace good minerals and relates to accelerated aging.
Minerals and Hair Testing
The use of a hair biopsy to demonstrate what a person is in relationship to their daily environment. Before and after results of testing, and case histories in health and disease as it relates to the immune system will be discussed.
Minerals and the Acupuncture Concept
This talk will describe the flow of "Weak Magnetic Energy" that exists in the human body. Acupuncture is over 5,500 years old and this talk will center on the creation of the circadian cycles as it relates to minerals, amino acids and sub-atomic particles. A preview of the new book will be shown.
Questions on Health Related Problems
This time will be spent on fielding questions about any form of health problems that any person may wish to ask. Dr. Olree, who has 38 years of practice as a Doctor of Chiropractic and is a nutritionist, will provide insight to the maladies of human health.
What Fixes Climate, Hunger, Water Shortages, Erosion, and Nutrient Density?
With humanity overshooting any chance for sustainability, there is now an opportunity to look at what could build life-supporting systems in many cases even beyond historical levels – and that is regenerative agriculture. Not organic, not conventional, but regenerative. How much atmospheric carbon can be drawn down; how much can the water cycle be improved; how much nutrient dense food can be produced; and how much soil can be made? These questions that are the most essential to civilization will be explored with scientific backup and real life examples.
We have only a few years to make this shift, while there is a solution waiting for our involvement and action. What is standing in our way?
The Wild Professor
Using nature as mentor
Come experience a lively presentation and discussion about mentorship as a way of knowledge and skill transfer. We explore ways of using nature as our ultimate mentor and how to combine face to face transformative experiences with technology to create connections and dynamic communities that offer the best of both worlds.
We cannot solve our problems without energetically shifting from the patterns that created them. Let's discuss new ways to craft meaningful relationships while and nourish ecological and economic rejuvenation.