Want To Save the World With Me?

Dear Dears,

This is a beautifully written article.  I did some highlighting and inserting of notes.  Check it out and be empowered.  Happy Winter Solstice.  The longest night, the shortest day of the year ~ a good time to reflect on what to be thankful for.  I am thankful for this knowledge. Enjoy!



A Great Question

Hello everybody!  I was just sent an email with a great question.  I would like to share this with you in hopes it will add to your tool box of knowledge for regenerative agriculture techniques.
This is copied from an email send by a lovely young lady from France:
“As I explained, my father is using compost tea on our fields. My question was, do you think it would be good for the tea if we add a handful of our soil during the extraction process? In order to obtain a tea that is adapted to our microflora in our soils? 
Also, you told me to apply 3 times the tea in the spring at the key stages of the plant, could you please remind me which one it was? 
We talked about the impact of tillage and herbicide on the soil, we did found an article about it, I didn’t verify yet who did write it etc but I found it quite interesting. In case it might interest you: http://csanr.wsu.edu/comparing-effects-on-soil/
I am really glad that we’ve  met and hope to see you again at one of your courses ! Thank you for the presentation you did on the Monday evening, it was really interesting and I think it is an important subject today in agriculture ! “
Here was my response:
Thank you for your feedback!  It was a pleasure to meet you as well.  This is important work indeed.  It’s an interesting article that you sent me. I have made bold a couple parts of the excerpt to expand on.

“Here we can look at a meta-analysis, not just a review. A meta-analysis combines data from multiple studies and re-analyzes the combined data. Nguyen et al. (2016) looked at the results of 36 studies and found “Notably, field application rates [of glyphosate products] had no significant effect on SMR [soil microbial respiration] or SMB [soil microbial biomass].” They did find effects when applied at higher rates, but that is why we have the EPA and pesticide labels. Rose et al., reviewing the specific findings on glyphosate, observed “Numerous studies have found that glyphosate applied at standard application rates has little impact on the microbial biomass in soil, and stimulation rather than inhibition is more commonly observed.” They report that recent research, “the first to use next-generation sequencing”, found no significant effects of glyphosate on the structure of the microbial community. Another recent study, Newman et al. (2016), found “no overall effect of glyphosate on bacterial community diversity.” Rose et al. concludes, “To date, there is little evidence to suggest that long-term, repeat applications of glyphosate to soil causes negative shifts in soil microbial communities or functions.” While not conclusive, this evidence does not raise any red flags about the use of herbicides and their effect on the soil.”

Find link  to article here.
This is a bacteria centric article.  Remember how I talked about bacteria being one part of a huge story?  The SMR tests don’t test species, they just test CO2 respiration and you don’t know WHO it’s coming from.  Additionally, it would be good to know how the soil microbial biomass(SMB) was tested.  General tests such as these involve fumigation and then organic C measurement.  Again, WHO was there? If they are growing out organisms on plates, diversity is reduced drastically.  So only 10% of the story is being told in the results.  Glyphosate will feed some species of soil bacteria, it’s true.  Yet when glyphosate hits the human biome – it slaughters our gut microorganisms, making it hard to digest food.  Glyphosate is one of the culprits of autoimmune disease and the leaky gut.  Our gut biome begins in healthy soils.  Food grown in healthy soils is the transport mechanism for getting a healthy human biome.
To answer your questions above about adding your farm soil into the brew tank – diversity rules the roost.  Adding a handful of HEALTHY soil is a good idea.  You need to know if your soil has a  majority of good critters or if it’s holding significant amounts of disease.  How do you know? Take a peek, with a microscope,  and see who is there.   One untested theory I have in favor of adding your soil to the brew is that the organisms living there have been able to survive the chemicides that have been going out on the land, they might even be consuming some of the toxins.  These types of organisms are needed to survive in the system as you are able to make a transition away from the chemicides.
 Since you don’t yet have the ability to use the microscope,  I suggest that you seek out a thriving organic or biodynamic farm in your area, take a handful of that soil and add that to the brew.  This is not ideal (the not looking at it part) but those types of soils will likely will have more diversity.  You could take from a healthy forest system as well.
Having assessed no-till conventional soil systems, I see little in the way of soil life diversity beyond bacteria.  Usually the fungus that is there is the disease causing type.  Again, all farms are different, so I can only speak to what I have seen on the farms I have been on.  So, again, take a peek and see who is there.
It is imperative to know what is growing in your brew.  Are you growing beneficials or disease?  It is imperative to look at what is in the brew, as the brew can wake up dormant spores and cysts that would otherwise not have woken up.  This is is an aerobe/ anaerobe thing.
Consider the soil like the human body.  If a person has just come off of antibiotics – it’s important that they are “inoculated” with beneficial before going out into the world where beneficial and diseases exists.  If they go out as a blank slate, it can happen where disease will take over because there is 1) no competition or castle wall of protection and 2) remember that disease causing organisms tend to be the most opportunistic.   Disease causing organisms and weeds are quite similar.  They are r-selected species that have a short life span but produce offspring quickly.  The offspring express epigenetics to endure the challenges that previous generations experienced. When one bacteria becomes two in 20 min – think of how quickly life can become resilient to toxins or chemicides that are thrown at them.  Thus we have herbicide resistant weeds and non beneficial insects that are no longer effected by the pesticides that worked just last year.  Soils contain the potential for all possibilities – to respond with our beneficials or to respond with disease.  When we brew, we must know which we have woken up.
When are ideal times to protect the foliage of plants?  For annuals I suggest first true leaf stage, flower bud swell and flower opening.  Additional sprays can be applied  at signs of stress or disease.
Keep me posted on your farm. “
If you want to learn how to use the microscope to assess soils and soil building mediums, try an online course.  Here is one to start with.  Do tell them Molly Haviland sent you.  I recommend a follow up with a Certified Soil Life Consultant that can work one-on-one with you to be sure you are doing the assessments correctly.








Follow this link for more details and registration: http://havilandearthregeneration.com/event/compost-exchange/

Dear Reader,

It is likely we have met. It’s possible that I have visited or worked with you on your farm, Compost operation or pasture. It could be you have attended one of the microscope workshops I offered in identifying and cultivating the soil food web. Maybe, we have met briefly in passing at a conference or on the airplane. If we haven’t met, then I trust you have found your way here, through the soil health community and I look forward to our meeting.

In the last 6 years of my work as a soil builder I have met thousands of people! To quote musician Jackson C. Frank, “Wherever I gone, wherever I been and gone, the blues are all the same.” Worldwide, we have mined our soil and the band-aid for the symptoms has been and continues to be chemicide and synthetic nutrient agriculture. Our living soil is gone (even on land that has been organic for 10-20 years), our water is polluted, our families and communities are ill from chemical exposure, even the rain carries toxins across property, county and state lines.

I refuse to believe the negative impacts of chemicide agriculture was any one’s intention. I have never met a farmer that wasn’t making the best choice they could with the tools they had to feed their family, community and to make a sound living. Somehow, it’s not penciling out. Somehow, profits keeps shrinking even when we are following the rules. We hear, “Buy this seed, coat it with this fill in the blank-icide, spray everything with this liquid ~ yes of course it’s safe… but don’t breathe it in or let it touch you, your child, your dog… churn the soil with this, pray for the rain, pray for the deluge of rain to stop, set it on fire…”.

You have been following the rules. You heard the Mr. or Mrs. Ph.D. from such and such university, you even hired the consultant. You read the research and allowed research to take place on your farm. Then there was the applied lime, milk, molasses and…yet…still…Mother Nature’s cupboards are empty and it seems as though the shelves and hinges are missing too.

How does the continuation of this story play out for our children? What about the future for our great, great, great, great, great, great-grandchildren? Let’s not find out.

To those of you that are engaged with bringing LIFE back into your soils, this is what I have experience and recently have been told by a PhD university professor of soil health. “The work you are doing is a least a decade AHEAD of major universities.”

You are some of the most ingenuitive, innovative, intelligent people I have ever met. The work you are doing is regenerative and it’s sustainable. I’d like to introduce you to one another.


You will find that you are not the only one doing this work!

The art of soil building requires access to a multitude of tools. While there is no silver bullet to solve soil fertility issues, there is an essential catalyst tool for soil and crop productivity, and that is the soil food web. As with any craft, learning to build soil with the soil food web takes some patience and know how. Truth be told, building a diverse soil food web is different for every farm and every compost operation.

There are no products being sold at this event. This is about knowledge. This is about you or your neighbor creating a soil building product out of “waste”. It’s not rocket science, but it does take skill and some resources. It is for this very reason that we need one another.

If you’re looking for product, machinery, ideas, how to’s and answers, this is where you will meet your folk. To be honest, it is true that the more we learn, the less we know ~ you will walk away with new questions.

You will also walk away with some biological inoculum to add to your fungal banks.

In the world of the soil food web 1 + 1 doesn’t = 2. Sometimes it’s 5 or 7 or 20! No life on this planet, whether it be a bacterium, plant, cow, chicken or human behaves the same way in isolation as when in consortium with others. We need one another.

Participants are strongly and enthusiastically invited… mmmm nope, we demand that participants bring a gallon bag, half full, containing the best compost they have access to or have made. All Composts will be mixed together and redistributed to participants. Remember, when you increase the diversity you increase productivity!

Want to know more?  Want to register?

Go here:  http://havilandearthregeneration.com/event/compost-exchange/


Haviland Earth Regeneration Presenting a Two Day Course in Snow Camp, NC November 7 & 8

Contact: Charles Sydnor  email: cfsydnor@gmail.come, phone 336-693-4549

Prerequisite: Attendance  at Molly’s soils course at the CFSA conference Nov4, 2016 or at the 2015 conference.

Cost: $200/attendee

Attendance limited to 10 people because of microscope availability

This course is focused on getting you comfortable with the microscope in assessing soil, compost and teas. There will be demonstration of cured Johnson- Su static compost methods, and assessments of that compost. Tea will be brewed, assessed and applied.  Spray equipment will be tested.  High intensity grazed pasture’s will be macro and microscopically assessed.  We will dig, touch, smell, count worms and weeds.  This is an indoor/outdoor workshop hosted by an incredible crew.  Not to be missed. Lodging may be available – contact Charles to inquire.

Note: Dinner each evening will be in Saxapahaw either at the General Store or the Eddy. All who can attend are welcome


Charles Sydnor and Eddie Watkins


A stellar group of trained citizen scientists


Field walks with group attendants.  Checking out some pasture broadleaf species.


There is so much knowledge in this group of people, come and meet us!

New Courses Brewing

Dear Friends,

Winter is coming and that means conferences and courses on building soil.  Here are some upcoming events that you will find me at.  I’d love to meet you and share what has been happening over this last growing season.  It’s good stuff!


Here is the link to the Soil Summit:  October 15, 2016 – Billings, MT – Northern Plains Soil Summit

I’ll be speaking for a short bit, however, I will be attending the whole summit and will be around the following morning for a meet and greet and brainstorm session.

And then there is this one for you on the East Coast:


Here is the link to register for this outstanding conference: Nov. 4-6, 2016 in Durham, NC Carolina Farm Stewardship Conference

On Friday I will offer you an Identifying the Microherd session where we will look at soils and Composts together.   Bring your soil, composts or liquid amendments such as extracts or teas you made or purchase for application on your land.  Let’s check out the world beneath your feet (or the one that should be there) for the plants you want to grow.  Microscopes and appropriate equipment should be brought by you. More info on needed equipment to follow shortly.

Saturday I will offer a lecture on the soil food web and how to get it into your growing systems, supported by success stories (and challenges) of implementing the soil food web.

We hope to see you there!


Minnesota Organic Conference

January 12-13, 2017
St. Cloud, MN

Minnesota Organic Conference

The first meeting of the Compost Exchange will be on January 14, 2016. There is more information to come for registering for this event that is FOLLOWING the MN Organics Conference. It is a separate event, however, many of the Farmers, Ranchers and Compost Operations I have worked with for the last 5 years will be at the conference and we want to keep you all there for one more day. Why?  Check this out.

Topic or title: The Compost Exchange: Trade Secrets for a Productive Future

Description:  The art of soil building requires access to a multitude of tools.  While there is no silver bullet to solve soil fertility issues, there is an essential catalyst tool for crop productivity, and that is the soil food web.  The soil food web can be looked at as Nature’s fertilizer bags and Nature’s fertilizer bag openers and spreaders.  As with any craft, learning to build soil with the soil food web takes some patience and know how.  The truth is, building a diverse soil food web is different for every farm and every Compost operation.  The Compost Exchange aims unite Compost Operations and Farmers that 1) want to build the soil food web or 2) have been building the soil food web, together to exchange knowledge and Compost. (We don’t call it Compost Exchange for nothing!)  There are trade secrets to be shared and heard. So bring your stories of challenges and successes.  It’s time to build some soil!

*Participants are asked to bring a 1 qt bag with the best Compost they have made.  All Compost will be mixed together and redistributed to participants for a take home inoculate.  Remember, when you increase the diversity you will increase productivity.

*To enter the Compost Exchange Compost Competition,  your Compost must be assessed before the event.  Your analysis will be done by Molly Haviland from Haviland Earth Regeneration.  The cost is $60 per sample.  For more information on how gather and to ship, click here.  When you call Haviland Earth Regeneration for registering your sample analysis, the shipping address will be given to you. Phone:  303. 999. 5935, Email: molly.lscl@gmail.com

*There will be microscopes on site as well as microscope technicians to do brief and live soil or Compost assessments.

Course Schedule: (This event is under development, the schedule below is subject to change.  The course update will be reposted no later than November 1, 2016. 

9:00-9:30; Soil Food Web Basics – Why do you want them? What do they do? (Molly Haviland)

9:45-10:30: Live stream footage of the soil food web in soil and Compost – What you’re likely to see and what you want to see. (Molly Haviland)

10:30-12:00: Building The Soil Food Web – How to create Compost and Compost products that contain the soil food web. (Molly Haviland and Clifford Johnson)

12-1:00: Lunch

1-2:00: Successes, Challenges & Trade Secrets Exposed – Key knowledge from those with feet on the ground.  What have been the challenges, what were the solutions.  We will share up to date field experiences of what is happening on farms in the West and Midwest as they increase diversity in their Compost and on their fields.

2:00-3:00: Best Compost Prizes Awarded

3:00-4:00:  Meet and Greet-  Round table discussions

4:00 – 500:  Open Forum Q and A

Presenter:  Johnson Enterprises and Haviland Earth Regeneration

Presenter name(s): Clifford Johnson and Molly Haviland

Session length:       6-8 hours with lunch break

Audience level: Advance though all are welcome


3.5 Week Soil Intensive In Iowa


Taught by David Fisher, PhD, Soil Ecologists Molly Haviland, BS and Loida Vasquez, BS and Crop Consultant Ben Ice

May 23 – June 16, 2016

Sign up for the course here – Maharishi University of Mangement

The 2016 Living Soil course focuses are:
1) Soil Food Web – What is it, how to identify it, how to create products that are rich with it, how to incorporate it into growing systems through composts, teas and extracts. 
2) Mineral Balancing 
  • Learn to read a soil chemistry test
  • Calcium and magnesium balancing
  • Potassium and sodium balancing
  • Mineral excesses and deficiencies

3) Soil Armor

  • Cover crops to assist nutrient cycling
  • Organic matter as a natural benefit of crop residue digestion and vertical or no tillage
We will do practical applications of 
  • Building Compost
  • Creating Teas and Extracts
  • Assessing biology through microscopy
  • Site assessments and appropriate applications of composts, liquid composts and mineral amendments
What do increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, dead zones in the ocean, polluted water ways, soil erosion and low nutrient containing foods have in common? These are all results of poor agriculture practices.  In the last 60 years, modern agriculture has done more to alter land and waterscapes than it has in centuries.  It is time to go beyond conventional, beyond organic and far beyond sustainable methodologies and propel ourselves forward to create regenerative growing systems.  Building and stabilizing soil is essential to planetary health.  All life comes from this mysterious place and to it all life will return.

Please join our 4 instructors in the 2016 Living Soil Course that focuses on regenerative agriculture methods.  The foundation of the course is built on the combination of three agricultural tools: cover cropping(organic matter building) , mineral balancing and soil food web methodologies.   Students of this course will learn to build soil, create biological inoculums, apply biology to growing systems and learn to analyze life in soil and biological products through bright field microscopy.     We will address foundations of creating soil armor to stabilize soil and feed soil organisms.  Our students will be introduced to principles of balancing calcium and magnesium, as well as addressing mineral excesses in soils. 

Healthy soil stores massive amounts of carbon in plant life and organism life.  Healthy soil filters water as well as retaining and cycling nutrients to feed plants.  Healthy soil allows for plants to access the nutrients they need when they need them and where they need them.  Lace up your boots, bring your gloves, and don’t forget your notebook when you join us for this 3.5 week soil health intensive. Your tool box of knowledge will be expanded.  Let’s make this a decade where humans are known for building soil humus and growing food that is medicine. 

Instructor Bios:

Molly C. Haviland:  As a microherder, Molly understands how to cultivate beneficial soil organisms, merge them into growing systems, and encourage them to thrive in that location. Molly has consulted and offered courses in 20 states throughout America, and has recently began traveling the world to offer this information to compost operations, farmers and students. Molly aims to develop the highest quality compost and compost amendments designed specifically for the desired crop.  As the owner of Haviland Earth Regeneration (HER), her goals are threefold, (1) build soil humus as quickly as possible, (2) to grow food that is medicine and (3) to teach others how to do this for themselves.   Molly earned her BS degree in Sustainable Living from the Maharishi University of Management where she is an affiliate professor of the Living Soil course.  Molly has been under mentorship from Dr. Elaine Ingham since 2010 and gained her Soil Life Certification in 2012. She is a Soil Life Certification coach for the Environment Celebration Institute. 

Benjamin Ice: Founder/owner of Ice’s Soil Restoration, Ben delivers expert soil consultations  to farmers/businesses seeking to restore dynamic mineral balance and healthy soil biology into the soil.   He started his business  in 2009 to empower Grower’s to produce quality mineral dense food. The strategy is that mineral density will start in the soil and work it’s way through the plants, to the animals and back to the consumer.  His main focus is to educate Growers with the knowledge they need to make progressive decisions and to understand the value of mineralizing the soil. When he’s not on the farm or on the road he resides in Otsego, MN with his wife and 4 children. When life allows he enjoys hunting and fishing Walleye on Lake Millacs.  

Loida Vasquez: After years of working in corporate America, Loida realized that she wanted to do something meaningful to help the environment and all its inhabitants. That was when she decided to dedicate her time and efforts to healing our precious soil, without which, climate change continues at a rapid rate, contaminated run-off water kills life in our lakes and oceans, while healthy food can not be grown. 

Loida obtained a B.S. in Sustainable Living and a Living Soils consultant certification under the guidance of Dr. Elaine Ingham. 

She is now a professional Living Soils consultant devoting all her time to working with growing systems that heal the soil and so produce healthy food for humans and animals to consume, while reducing climate change via carbon sequestration. She is the owner of Regenerative Soil Services out of Las Angeles, CA.  

Upcoming Courses for the New Year

January is a month of opportunity for the Midwest to learn more about the soil food and and microscopy.  Check out these events and courses, perhaps you and your community would like to join in on the events!  If you want a hands-on microscope day, then check out the Milaca, MN event!  It’s very affordable and you will learn how to do the microscope assessments.  How cool is this?

The Minnesota Organics Conference is jam packed with excellent speakers and workshops to propel your growing system forward.  I will be speaking both days.  Here is what I’ll be covering:

January 8, 2016

Session 1: The Art of Microherding – Establishing below ground diversity for above ground resilience

This course will begin with understanding how the soil food web is a tool that can be used to increase productivity in all growing systems.  You will be introduced to the key organisms that are responsible in holding and releasing soil fertility. The discussion of their food and environmental preferences will allow you to understand why they may or may not be present in your growing system. We will discuss applications of composts, extracts and teas and how you can know you are using the products that will  make a change in the growing system.  Please attend Identifying the Microherd to understand how to identify and qualify the soil organism presence in your products or growing system.
January 9, 2016
Session 2: Identifying the Microherd – Create an on farm lab to monitor efficiency in your soil and in living soil products.
Have you ever wanted to see what soil organisms are in your soil, your compost or that tea your buying?  Using simple microscope methods you will be able to track what life in active and present in your soil now and how/if it’s changing based on the treatments you are putting on the land.    This course will introduce you to the basics of identifying and accounting for beneficial organism presence in soil, composts, extracts and teas.  We will discuss how to sample, when to sample and how to be sure that the organisms are getting onto your land.  Welcome to the underground!  Let’s build some soil! *This course is a continuation of Session 1, it is highly recommended for you to attend session one to gain the most from this course.
Microscope course in Milaca, MN
When: January 11, 2016
Where: 632 2nd Street SE Milaca, MN 56353
Time: 9 A.M.— 4 P.M.
Tuition: $80
Registeration: Contact Florence Dehn 320-983-2154 Florence.Dehn@mn.usda.gov
Please register by January 9, 2016. Course is limited to 15 students. Participants are recommended to have a compound, bright field microscope with a 10X eye piece and 4X, 10X, and 40X lenses as well as appropriate sampling equipment. Equipment list will be sent after registration is complete.