Aaron Perry


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Stewardship & Sustainability Series
Episode 162 - Dr. Elaine Ingham, Soil Food Web School

Understanding the Symphony of Life in Soil Biology with Dr. Elaine Ingham

Dr. Elaine Ingham is among the most notable living scientists in the world, and is well known and beloved for her pioneering work in soil biology over the last half century. A graduate student in the latter half of the 20th century, at a time when soil science was almost completely male-dominated, when hardly anything was understood about soil fungus and bacteria (other than when targeted for eradication), and when brute-force chemical “control” of agriculture and manicured landscapes like golf courses was the norm, Dr. Ingham nearly single-handedly established a much more insightful, accurate, and stewardship-oriented paradigm within the main-stream academic soil science arena.

We owe Elaine deep gratitude for her work – especially as it provides a scientific foundation for a much smarter, healthier, and non-suicidal approach to food production and landscape stewardship. And the ensuing generations of soil scientists agree. Following her revolutionary work, some 10,000 scientists have now cited Dr. Ingham’s research in their own unique, peer-reviewed scientific studies and publications. Thank goodness!

Dr. Ingham has herself published over 100 scientific papers and articles, in which she unpacks and describes the complex inter-connectivity and interactivity within the “universe” of soil microbiology, which can number in the 1,000,000s of biological interactions per hour within a small section of healthy, old-growth forest soil. Within this “natural symphony” of relationship, as Elaine describes it, fungal species create macro-aggregates and bacterial species create micro-aggregates, all of which can be filled with 50% water, and which enables terrestrial life on planet Earth as we know it.

Moreover, Elaine’s research indicates that commercial agricultural operations will realize far greater profitability by abandoning their destructive 20th century practices and adopting the ecologically-appropriate stewardship practices she recommends instead. Dr. Ingham’s work reveals that intelligent awareness of Earth’s biology unlocks and opens the door to a strong convergence between ecological and economic performance.   

Recognizing that the “whole Middle East [region] was forested,” and that old growth temperate forests and primordial plains / steppe ecosystems naturally have 15 – 25 FEET of rich, living soil, Dr. Ingham has documented the devastating outcomes of chemically and mechanically destructive practices as well as the many simple and scalable solutions to overcome these destructive practices and existentially threatening circumstances. We know what’s not working. We know what to do differently. We know how to scale good practices. We need to mobilize and mobilize quickly.

About Dr. Elaine Ingham

Dr. Ingham uncovered the Soil Food Web nearly 4 decades ago and has been pioneering research about Soil Food Web ever since. Widely recognized as the world’s foremost soil biologist, she’s passionate about empowering people to bring the soils in their communities back to life.

Dr. Elaine’s™ Soil Food Web Approach has been used to successfully restore the ecological functions of soils on more than five million acres of farmland all over the world. The courses offered by Dr. Elaine’s™ Soil Food Web School have been designed for people with, or without, a science background – making them accessible to individuals who wish to learn and to begin a meaningful and impactful career in an area that will help to secure the survival of humans and other species.

Dr Ingham’s Academic and Professional Credentials

B.A., Biology and Chemistry, St. Olaf College

M.S., Microbiology, Texas A&M University

Ph.D., Microbiology, Colorado State University

Founder and President, Soil Food Web Inc.

Director, Soil Food Web School

Resources & Related Episodes

Website – https://www.soilfoodweb.com/

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/soilfoodwebschool/

YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSAU5ludwNyqMHBaR1ZfheQ

Ep 159 – Helen Atthowe, Author, “The Ecological Farm”

Ep 158 – Gabe Brown, Regenerative Farmer / Rancher & Author, “Dirt to Soil”

Ep 95 – John Liu, Founder, Ecosystem Restoration Communities

Ep 91 – Finian Makepeace, Co-Producer, “Kiss the Ground” Movie

Ep 89 – Dr. Yichao Rui, (frmr) Senior Soil Scientist, Rodale Institute

Ep 77 – Shelby Kaminski, Edaphic Solutions – Compost Tea for Community

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