“No creature, not even swine, befouls its nest with such abandon as does homo sapiens, poisoning his habitat with fiendishly concocted chemicals and their deadly waste.”
From the Introduction in Secrets Of The Soil

Healthy soil is essential for the production of healthy food, and healthy food is critical for a healthy body. We cannot produce wholesome food in depleted and toxic soil. Our grocery store impresses with fresh-looking, colorful and perfect produce, but the nutritional quality cannot match this pleasing visual display. Most all market produce has been picked long ago and trucked in from afar, rendering fruit and vegetables devoid of the natural sugars called mannose, which dissipates after 48 hours of being picked. These natural sugars not only give fresh food its great flavor, but also are the means of nutritive transport throughout the physical body. We are basically eating dead food when the mannose has expired.

The lack of healthy soil today relies upon chemical fertilizers and pesticides to produce food abundance, but their poisonous products harm the natural elements needed for fertile soil. The cost of healthcare in America is one of the highest in the world, and simultaneously, Americans are increasingly unhealthy with a continuous rise in various diseases. If it is true that we are what we eat, then Americans are dining on malnutritious food. The popular rise of Farmers Markets and eating organic has helped bring our chemical-lade and depleted soil to greater awareness, while Big Ag continues its onslaught. The trend is moving away from modern, industrial agriculture towards the restoration of healthy soil through the practices of biodynamic gardening, permaculture and regenerative farming.

Modern Agriculture

In 1962, Rachel Carson released her book, Silent Spring, in which she thoroughly exposed the massive use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, insecticides and fungicides in our food production. Everything was being sprayed with toxins. In due time, not only was human disease on the rise, but also animals, insects and birds were disappearing along with our waterways becoming contaminated. Remember all the many songbirds that once greeted us each morning with their beautiful songs? The birds, bees, animals, fish and humans continue to be at great risk. While Carson’s heroic book and efforts were able to stop the use of DDT, Big Ag marches on forty years later with its highly profitable ecological and human health devastation. Modern agriculture’s drive for profit renders it blind to not only the essential elements necessary for healthy soil, but also to the harmful impact upon all life within the natural environment. Alternative growing and farming practices have now clearly proven that a focus upon restoring and regenerating exhausted soils results in greater yields, and more nutritious plants without the use of chemical toxins. When we stop buying toxic, dead food and start demanding healthy, living food, perhaps Big Ag will take notice.

Biodynamic Gardening and Farming

As far back as the 1920s, farmers were seeking assistance for their unhealthy plants and animals in the aftermath of chemical fertilizers and pesticides being introduced. It was Rudolf Steiner who came to the rescue with his biodynamic gardening and farming principles. In a series of lectures, Steiner taught the farmers how to view their farms as an integrated whole, how to make good compost and humus for healthy soil and how to work with telluric, cosmic and spiritual energies. Steiner discouraged the use of chemicals with a focus on restoring the soil with raw organic matter to create humus soil capable of holding its structure and increasing mineral availability to plants. His Biodynamic Preps, made from specific herbs that underwent an alchemical composting process inside buried cow horns all winter, were used in spring to completely rejuvenate depleted soil, and transform the soil into a vital living system. Where modern agriculture fails to replace all the soil elements being used up and depleted, biodynamic farming seeks to restore all the thriving microorganisms that define healthy soil.


At its core, permaculture is both a philosophy and a design science rooted in our working with natural laws and patterns rather than working against them. It is an ecological mindset that sustains our personal responsibility to care for the Earth, and from which both humanity and the planet benefit. Both biodynamic and permaculture principles share in a holistic view and approach to the farm and garden, and permaculture is very inclusive of the local community. Permaculture methods by which to build and maintain healthy soil include minimal to no tilling of the soil, no-dig gardening, the use of cover crops and native plants, diverse systems, crop rotation, chop and drop, food forests and working in zones. A permaculture garden continuously builds and feeds the soil with rich organic matter, compost and amendments. Its signature no-dig or no-till methods are used to protect the mycelium network in the soil that gathers nutrients, and to encourage the symbiotic, mycorrhizal relationship that occurs when the mycelium web connects to the roots of plants and trees. This relationship serves to provide a secondary root system to aid implant growth, and supports the entire ecosystem.

Regenerative Agriculture

Modern agriculture would do well to practice the components of regenerative agriculture, which was born from permaculture as a more extensive method for larger, more diverse farms. Regenerative farming also embraces minimal soil disturbance, cover crop usage, enhanced biodiversity and the integration of more farm animals. It’s priority is to improve soil health, and build more carbon in the soil that improves water retention, nutrient cycling and efficiency, plant resilience and overall plant health. Regenerative agriculture believes soil health begins and ends with a diverse microbiome in which diversity and complexity are essential to building and creating healthy soil. It is this dynamic community of microorganisms that is responsible for converting soil into rich, stable humus. The use of chemicals severely disrupts and damages the ecological balance between soil microbes and plants, resulting in reduced plant resistance to pests and disease, and the proliferation of more harmful soil microbes. Human health is ultimately affected since the human gut microbiome shares microbes from plant and soil microbiomes.