Aaron Perry


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  • Episode 03 – Brook Le Van – Biodynamic Farming & Soil Stewardship

Episode 03 – Interview with Brook Le Van at Sustainable Settings on the Y on Earth Community Podcast – Stewardship & Sustainability Series.


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eribHi friends, welcome to the YonEarth Community Sustainability and Stewardship Series.

I'm here with my friend, Brook Le Van, and we're at Sustainable Settings just outside

Carbondale, Colorado, beautiful spring day.

There's actually a workshop going on behind us with some beekeeping experts and students.

And Brook, we've been friends now for something closing in on 20 years, I think I might have

to say.

It's been such a wonderful journey and adventure.

I, of course, worked up here at the ranch about 15 years ago, right after Sustainable Settings

was able to become stewards of this property.

And I am so struck over the course of that time how Sustainable Settings has really become

one of the epicenters of soil building, soil stewardship, and creating land medicine

that can be used in communities all over, and we'll talk about that in a bit.

I thought before diving into some of that, I might ask you, Brook, as we're going forward

and as you've had the opportunity to live and steward here for now 15 plus years, how

do you see Sustainable Settings feeding into the broader framework of our state, our country,

this continent going forward in this era of intensive stewardship and regeneration?

Well, I think we just kind of bit off a little bit more than we could chew.

And we decided to find a place and heal it.

And what we found out in time was we could in fact do that.

We could in fact bring back and rebuild the soil fertility bank and all the life,

revitalize and regenerate the life that actually are the real farmers.

So we were able to do that and what we found out after 10 or 12 years was that first we have

this kind of ring of health right here at the ranch and people came then to get food.

And so then once this was healthy, about a 60 mile radius was the community getting milk and

meat and eggs and vegetables and things like that. And so the ring of influence or ring of health

or whatever went there. And then we did medicinal herbs and apothecaries for a 200 mile radius

started to so we're starting to heal bigger rings of influence or whatever you want to call it.

And then we made the biodynamic preparations and started that company to actually sell,

to make and sell the high quality biodynamic preparations, which we have to talk about.

But now those are sold from California to New York and Canada to Mexico.

So this once we got this abundant and fertile and healthy, we began to help heal

outer rings and bring in balance other places. So now the preps, for instance, are healing,

helping the land therapies that are helping heal other farms around the country.

Yes. But first we really had to get this or get us really a lie alert to the that everything is

alive and that to reestablish our relationship and become intimate with this place. And it was

through that that the life started to come out of hiding basically. We had chased we or all of us

with especially industrial agriculture and other things had chased the life down there kind of like

we trust you. You know, we're down here. Do we want to really work with you anymore?

You know, and so it took a few years for us on the physical level to do all those good organic

and biodynamic kind of things. And as we got going and we became more intimate, we just saw

the life take on it. That's beautiful. You mentioned a couple of minutes ago that the life

are the real farmers. Can you expand on that in a way? You know, some of some of my friends maybe

many miles from here would be able to relate to and comprehend what you mean by that. Well,

there's more there are more beings or things on you and in you than your own cells.

Yeah. Okay. And so understand that first with some from microbiome.

Yeah. So the probiotics and microbiomes, there's all these things going on and

literally more than we are. Yeah. And so we've lost track of that relationship actually,

but in a handful of soil is about the same population of human on the earth.

So the seven billion living things in a handful of good healthy soil. And so seven billion.

Yeah. Seven billion at least. Yeah. And so given that, you know, we're walking on a lot of life

and we're disturbing a lot of life, especially with agriculture and more so

conventional ag. But anyway, we're kind of stuck with agriculture at this point. Agriculture's

10,000 years old. We no longer can as a population hunter-gatherer, which was actually human beings

in a sustainable relationship. So now it's like, okay, well, how can we do that as well as we can?

So sustainability is a tough concept. There's definitely there are things we can do that work better

than others. We'll courage other things. Yeah. And as you know, the work we're doing through the

Y on earth community and our growing network of ambassadors has us really focused on the things

we can do. Regular folks can do in the course of our busy lives. Yeah. And one of the things that

strikes me as so potent, so powerful is our ability to work with the soil activator crab

coming from sustainable settings and start healing the microbiome of the soil in our own homes,

our own yards, our own neighborhoods and parks. And through that, we also start healing ourselves.

And you mentioned the microbiome, you know, we like to say with our thriving framework in the

Y on earth community that if we get really good at being stewards of the microbiome in our body

and the microbiome in the soil, golly, a whole lot of other good will follow. And what

thrills me about our connection with you and what you're doing at sustainable settings is

we truly have a potent land medicine, soil medicine that we can now share with people all over.

Yeah. Well, and I'll say this about that is that we, I'm skeptical. I'm, I don't know if I'm

conservative, but I'm skeptical. And, but I, we try things here. Yeah. So when we established this

place, it was a, it's meant to be a living laboratory and to take risks and try, not to make the same

stakes. And in fact, Rose has honored computer, make new mistakes is a little quote on the

honored screen. Love it. So what we, you know, so here, we do, we really do everything wrong.

And we're not going to make it and we're the nut jobs down the road. So, but that's okay,

we don't care. Oh, in other words, what we do is we hear of these different things. And some of

them are very physical in their approach, like rotational grazing or, or other stewardship ideas.

And so we try things and if they work, we keep them in our quiver, so to speak, and our stewardship

quiver. And then, but we understand really that our job is conductors in an orchestra of life

were really not apartment. We're there to establish relation, help create arenas and relationships

that are the most beneficial for all the life that's really doing the farm. And so in the

biodynamic aspect of our quiver or of our stewardship package, you might say, we began to

first buy them from somewhere else. Then we started to make some of them. And finally, we heard

the call, the demand was so great, and there was not enough good quality biodynamic preparations.

These are the land therapies that you talked about, or the homeopathic treatments or whatever.

And we decided to start biodynamic source. So there are sustainable settings as the ranch

and this experimental place. And then biodynamic source is a company that Lloyd Nelson and I started

to make and distribute and educate around the biodynamic preparations and their power in our

effort and our work. And so these are things that might be a stretch for some people.

This little jar is for 10 acres or 12 acres. Which means if you only have an acre or even

the yard, still get the thing and use it. Maybe you get two or three treatments from it. But

what I try to tell the interns here, be careful of what you know. It might get in your way.

And so try things. And if they work, keep it if they don't, then you didn't waste too much time

or money. And you build your own, for your place, your own quiver of methodologies and tools and

things like that. And so there's no formula in the sense. There's no set way to do it.

We are in a constant communication dialogue response with nature in our place. And so that's

different for you in your place. You know, I feel and probably say this pretty often to folks that

we are so fortunate to be alive in these times as challenging as they are. And we have this

opportunity to give it a try, give it a shot. And you know, I've been playing around and

experimenting with the soil activator prep in my yard for a couple of seasons now. And it is

remarkable how the soil is responding as that community of microorganisms, a billion in each

handful gets going. It is accelerating that soil building function that we know is pulling carbon

from the atmosphere, helping to reverse climate change. I'm seeing species of flowers show up

that weren't there previously. And the food and greens and herbs that I'm growing in my own

little home plot are becoming more prolific, more delicious. Probably I would say more nutritious.

And it's remarkable. And it really didn't take much from me to do that. It took me

taking that step. And this is a big part of what we're encouraging folks through the

YonEarth community to do is take that step and make that gesture in your yard, in your

neighborhood. And let's see what we might be capable of. I know this is something you've been

asking since coming to this land. What do you think we're capable of, Rick? What are we capable of

with the essential question? And on this short video, we can't get in too deep. But

we're actually capable of a lot and our intention is very powerful. And I always ask people,

have you ever been in love? Right. Do you know what that feels like? Right. And so you understand

that between two people or a dog and you or whatever. But when you bring that intention to all of

the life, and then you are gardening where they're growing where they're working with, and I don't

plant animals, domesticated animals for me, whatever it is, that guess what? It's a shift.

And so the preparations and this Buffalo soil activator and field spray that buy a dynamic source

that you're putting in your packet is it does do something, but it also gets you in your

space and helps you become more intimate. And so your intention is actually kind of a driver

of what is in the prep. So when you stir it up a little bit, you're thinking about all the life

and the soil and the trees and the plants and the people who come by and the food you're going

to eat and share. And so that's an intention. And guess what? It matters. It matters. It even

sciences bumping up against the middle one or admitted, but well, some of our scientists friends

are starting to be making for some amazing discovery exploration and conversation. Nature has

intentions. Yes. And I want to mention for those of you out there enjoying our podcast, you can

use the code podcast at YonEarth slash market to get some discounts on some of our ebooks

and other products there. And then want to encourage folks who are catching our video to check out

some of our other videos at YonEarth.org slash community. And we also with biodynamic source,

that's dot org and sustainable settings dot org. Correct. Beautiful website and some amazing

shots of Mount Soapris right near here. And as you mentioned, Brook, through the YonEarth

Community, we're also making available the biodynamic source buffalo soil activator field and

field spray as part of our work to help heal land communities, neighborhoods, all over North

America. And but mostly our relationship. We are the work. You know, I think 21 years ago,

we thought we're going to save the planet. So we wanted to do this. When we found out we really

needed to save the people. But what we really started was a farmer rehabilitation

center. Because the work is us changing our minds and changing our into and focusing our into

it's really not nature. It's we need to wake up and shift. That's beautiful. Yeah. Well, I just

I want to thank you for taking a few minutes here out of I know you're very busy day hosting this

workshop. And Brook, thank you for the work you're doing. And for sharing this with so many of us.

And I my my heart sings thinking that over these next several weeks and months and years

that this is going to get shared with a whole lot more people. And it's going to be part of

what allows us to create the kind of culture and future and web work of relationships that

I know we're working to create. So thank you. My pleasure and I can't you can't help yourself,

thank you for doing what you're doing to all right. I can't help it. Good to see you.

Y On Earth - Podcast Cover
Stewardship & Sustainability Series
Episode 03 - Brook Le Van - Biodynamic Farming & Soil Stewardship

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