Healing the Soil


Today, we will be learning how micro-organisms help plants
grow. Will be learning how to make microbial-rich
liquid fertilizers. From the production farm to the backyard garden. From the Art to the Science. We invite you to explore the possibilities of agriculture when we welcome the power of indigenous micro-organisms. Not long ago, nearly every culture on earth
used fermentations and indigenous micro-organisms to grow and preserve food. We are rediscovering the art and science of
using fermentation and indigenous microorganisms to make liquid fertilizers and natural pesticides. Did you know that one tablespoon of healthy
topsoil contains up to twenty billion micro-organisms? These organisms arenʻt all the same either. Some are very large. Some are small, some are predators, some are prey. Some like air. Some donʻt like air. The thing to remember is when they all live
together in one soil ecology they create balance. We find indigenous micro-organisms in undisturbed
areas, untouched by modern farming. These areas are usually higher in organic
matter and moisture. We find them in that layer right where the
leaves and the twigs and things are breaking down and the mineral-rich soil begins. It is typically darker in color and has a soft texture. You can also find indigenous micro-organisms
in your own yard, under shady leafy trees, or in yard trimming piles, or compost piles. All of these places contain millions, if not
billions, of micro-organisms. What we are learning is that the biological
diversity from undisturbed wilderness soil is the way to go. We collect small soil samples rich with indigenous
micro-organisms and put them in barrels of rainwater to multiply. We feed and care for these micro-organisms
as they reproduce and proliferate inside containers. We feed them sweet potatoes, kalos, or various
other starches. As the micro-organisms consume all of the
food in the container, they grow in numbers. Before the indigenous micro-organisms consume
all their food, and begin to die off, we inject them directly into the irrigation system and
deliver them straight to their new home in the field. Once there, the microbes get to work breaking
down dead and diseased matter while returning micro-biological diversity to the field soil. Microbes are 90% water. Microbes in the soil are like water droplets
holding hands, keeping the soil moist. The plants in our fields need these microbes
in order to grow. They exchange nutrients and sugars with each
other making life possible in the soil. They act as the digestion mechanism of the soil. Just like us, without stomach micro-biology
food would not break down in our stomachs and become available for absorption in our bodies. Plant pathogens in our fields have the potential
to do a lot of damage to our crops if their numbers are not kept in check. These pathogens are not actually bad micro-organisms
that we need to eradicate. Instead, we aim to bring them back into balance
by introducing thousands of other species of other micro-organisms that keep their numbers
in check. Plants live in symbiosis with microbes in the soil. The more diversity and the higher the populations
of microbes in our fields, the better. What the farmers are doing is good stuff. Hi, I am Felicia. I have a yard that was really heavily contaminated,
and I used permaculture and it cleaned it up amazingly well. So being a part of Regenerations and Hawaii
Farmers Union United, really since I had that experience, I went to the county and asked
them for a little bit of help to see if we canʻt document this in some official capacity, so we can share this with the rest of the island. So, it is with a lot of gratitude to the county
that we have this film. Today, we are focused on the Korean organic
method and how we can just use simple things in nature and farming to help create pesticides
that are organic that are natural to the point where itʻs not as toxic to the human being. So Iʻm very impressed. I really appreciate Ray Maki and Felicia Cowden
and those involved with this grant that the Office of Economic Development provided to
test the soil and to see how we can make our agriculture here on Kaua`i much, much better. Aloha, My name is Adam Harris, and I am currently
the field manager at Moloa`a Organica`a. where We farm over 5.5 acres of row-cropped, diversified,
organic vegetables. We are up six mornings a week, harvesting
for our six weekly markets and our dozens and dozens of accounts. Join us as we forge a new path to sustainable agriculture with the help of indigenous micro-organisms. We are very excited to show you what we have
been discovering. Bio-remediation is about healing the soil. Using the methods nature provides abundantly. Thatʻs living soil right there… Thatʻs living soil. Oh and it has a beautiful sweet smell like
the smell of a sweet river bank. For more than a century, Kauaiʻs delicate
sub-tropical soils have been degraded by modern, mechanized farming where the natural soil
systems have been disrupted. The good news is that the land can be revitalized
relatively inexpensively with locally-sourced, on-farm produced soil inputs. The overall goal is to develop methods for
low cost, sustainable food production and repairing degraded environments. We are excited that Korean Natural Farming
practitioners across Hawaii are ready to collaborate in this effort. Before we get started we are going to talk
a little bit about safety. It is very important to always have a clean
workspace, make sure you have the proper eye protection, gloves, boots, and make sure that
whenever you are using a knife, or a shovel or the tractor; just to make sure you keep
yourself safe. It is very important that we all stay safe
when farming. If you donʻt know or if this is a new thing,
make sure you wash your hands before and after what you are doing. Make sure that you use clean containers from
anything that you are going to be eating from. When I am spraying I am going to make sure
that I spray standing up-wind from the spray. It is not good to breathe a lot of microbes
and things. Our lungs are very susceptible to microbial
infestations. So if the wind is blowing a lot, we will either
not spray or definitely wear a mask. If I am able to stand upwind from the spray,
I know that it is not getting in my mouth and in my eyes just from the taste. I think the most important thing for safety
when it comes to brewing micro-organisms is having a clean, safe collection site. You know you do not want to collect your microbes
from near a leach field of a septic tank. Right. You donʻt want to collect your microbes from
a dirty ditch known to have contaminants in it. Right or like black mold.. anything like that. Nothing like that. Nothing like that. We want to be really careful, we want to be
really sure that the environments that we are choosing our microbes from are natural,
pristine environments that show healthy plants, healthy soil and micro-biological diversity
as well as biological diversity of the plants. Yea, everything is thriving. It smells good, smells fresh. There are lots of different indicators of
what is a good place, so you always want to start with the best. As a mom, something I see that is really important
is to label the little concoctions of what we might make, as you will see later in the film. It is really important that it says what it
is, when it was made, and make sure if there is any kind of food label on it that it is off. That there is no confusion. I always store it in a place where people
would know that they go for plant materials and not for food materials. Absolutely. Hey, good morning everyone. We are at Moloa`a Organica`a in Moloa`a. We are here to look at the Jadam Korean Natural
Farming system which is anaerobically based. We have been talking a lot about aerobic systems
with Master Cho. This system was developed by his son, Youngsang
Cho.The most important thing about this system is that it recognizes the importance of anaerobic
bacteria in the soil there. Whereas, Master Choʻs system really only
focused on aerobics. This system really emphasizes the fact that
anaerobes live at the anaerobic layer of soil. Soil metabolism will occur there as well. The deeper we can get that metabolism happening,
the stronger root systems are for plants. So, that is what we are here to look at today;
what Nedʻs experiments have led us to. Iʻd say itʻs about nine (a.m.) now. Maybe yesterday about 3 (p.m.) or so, I had left my barrels to de-chlorinate for about 24 hours. Then I came and… In here I have a bag of forest soil. It was actually taken from Ko`olau mountain
at the base of the Ko`olau mountains. I came in here and squeezed this bag, massaged
it and got the effluent, the brown fines kind of into the water. The other bag had cooked potatoes. Again, you cook them cause they are pretty
soft and you can squeeze, squeeze and kind of milk the potatoes out. Put a rock in there, so it sinks down the middle. So that is the carbohydrate that the micro-organisms
are living on. This is the collection medium that we are
proliferating from. Then, I am messing up the bubbles here for now but… Then I put in, for this amount, I put in about
a third of a pound of sea salt. Basically, I covered it up and you are watching
the bubble action here. Hopefully, about 24 hours is about prime,
it seems like, in this temperature range. It takes longer when it is cooler. The bubbles build up on the surface. They can get quite thick maybe like an inch or so. Then they start pulling away from the edge. As soon as the bubbles start pulling away
from the edge, that is the time to get it out on your fields. Ah this so much funner… The objectives of the Economic Development
grant was primarily to train more farmers and landscapers with Natural Farming methods. Most of these students were already farmers,
and they adapted these methodologies easily to their farming practices. There have also been lessons at the farmers
union meetings, and we regularly share our individual stories of what has worked. Basically, we are working on the same things,
and here are some examples. What we do is we pump all the water into this
tank over here. We make a big microbial brew with it. We used to use the EM, the Effective Micro-organisms
that we would just buy in the store. It is pretty expensive. Itʻs about $80 for a gallon of that. Then we found out we can just make our own
and make it for a lot, lot less; for pennies really. So, I will take usually some of the veg hormone
fertilizer that I made that is filled with growth hormones and micro-organisms that are
indigenous to this area, as well, so you donʻt have to any foreign micro-organisms. So itʻs basically all of the beneficials from around here. Put them inside of here. Feed them molasses. Then they start to eat everything and duplicate. Soon you have a giant microbial tea. Then we pump this out into the garden and
spray it on plants. This is a mix of comfrey, aloe, and maringa. So, this is more of a blooming formula for
when you get the broccoli and it is really starting to go and you want to pump it up. This is a good one for that. High in phosphorus. So, a lot of people say that when something
is stinky, it is bad but as you will learn in the Jadam methods, the Korean Natural Farming
methods, just because it is stinky doesnʻt mean it is bad. We classify microbes as either anaerobic or aerobic. Anaerobic microbes live in environments without oxygen. Aerobic bacterias exist in environments with oxygen. I believe that is only the way that we have
come to see them when in fact anaerobic and aerobic bacterias can switch functions and
become one or the other. There is almost no environment where one exists
without the other. Most people would see this as an anaerobic
situation when the top is definitely aerobic and there is many, many layers and a whole
relationship of micro-organisms in here that you donʻt get when you aerate worm tea and
that kind of thing. You kind of have these anaerobic systems and
these aerobic systems. What I like to do… some people say just
use aerated teas, and some people say just use non-aerated teas. I like to do a mix
of both, because I think when things are on a leaf surface obviously they are aerobic. Once you put an aerobe back into the soil,
and it goes below the soil and the air is not there those aerobic micro-organisms die. When I am doing soil drenches more so, I like to do anaerobic, because that is what is going into the soil. So, I think it is good to use a combination of both. No method is really right and no method is
really wrong just really go with what really works for you. What you have on hand, your location, your
environment, your elevation, everything comes into play. The main reason why we are working to develop
these systems is that the current food production paradigm exists and uses a lot of inputs and
fertilizers either derived from chickens or from cows; from the dairy industry, blood and bone meal. A lot of these things are the backbone of
fertilization for many organic farmers. As we shift away from those paradigms, and
we seek to be more sustainable and to have control over our own production we are discovering
that people in Korea have been doing these things for thousands of years. We can grow the fertilizer that we need on
the land using the food production systems to actually generate the fertility we need to farm. Ultimately, lower the cost of production considerably
and just to increase security for ourselves so that we have control over our own inputs. Yah, we do a lot of tilling. It is sort of a give and take. On one hand rotor-tilling is really bad for
the earthworms and really bad for the microbes and the mycelium. On the other hand, it allows us to create
plantable space like this with very little effort. The tiller has been known to take the life
of an earthworm or two every now and again, for sure. I have seen that first hand. It also breaks apart the fungal connections in the soil, and the fungi have to work to re-establish themselves. So every time we are disturbing the soil,
the soil micro-biology is starting from scratch. So it is really important that throughout
those cycles that we are using a lot of microbes and a lot of microbial solutions to re-fortify
the soil with microbes so that the fungi and the bacteria and all the different creatures
that live here in the soil can re-establish themselves. We wouldnʻt have fluffy, soft soil like this
if it wasnʻt for the machines. Yet, where I am standing in the path there
is an incredible amount of compaction due to the tires of the machines. So it is like I said, it is a give and take. Here we have super soft soil due to the machines,
and right where I am standing two feet over we have incredibly compacted soil because
of the machines. Sometimes rain is really good for the soil,
and other times when the rain comes down really heavy we get a lot of soil compaction due to heavy rain. After a really heavy rain the soil needs to be disturbed. That is why we cultivate the soil, because
the top layer becomes like concrete. It literally liquifies, and then it re-solidifies
in an airtight crust that does not allow oxygen to move down to the root layers. It is really important that we re-cultivate
and re-turn the soil. I have never been so excited about decomposing
plant material in my life. Itʻs so simple and beautiful. (so what do you got in there, Adam?) This is mostly purslane, and it looks like
a little bit of Jerusalem artichoke. Then we have just added probably to it three
or four times, and it just keeps breaking down. We havenʻt had to clean it or do anything
to it except for just add more green matter and more water and more soil from the mountain. One of the principles in the Jadam philosophy
is that for each one of our crops we can take the “waste” from our crops. That is like leaves that have died or maybe
we can see that there are some over-ripe papayas here. So if I wanted to make a Jadam fertilizer
for my papayas I am going to use the fruit, the mature fruit that has gone to waste, some
leaves plus with the grass. Everything that is growing right around here,
maybe all of these weeds, because they are thriving right here. I am going to use that; ferment it down
and feed it to my papayas, you know. Pretty simple. It goes the same for the kalo, the sugar cane;
you know whatever else we are growing. We can be crop specific about it. Simple. For actually fertilizing the corn would be
to take ears of corn, actually and chop them up, and then soak them in this situation and
put them back out there. This is a comfrey, pheasant wood leaf, and
neem leaf liquid fertilizer. That is about 2 1/2 weeks old. So, Guinea grass is a really common plant
around the Hawaiian islands. It turns out that wild grass contains 1.5
– 2.5% nitrogen for its dried weight. By using Guinea grass which grows in the harshest
of conditions, we are able to create liquid fertilizers for our crops. This is super exciting to me that weʻre able
to use the most pesky of plants around the farm to create very valuable nutrients for our plants. So, here we have the wild grass Jadam liquid fertilizer mix. We are growing some dry land kalo here. I donʻt give them a ton of water, honestly… Once a week, really. Basically, we are mulching with all our grass. When you pull this back you can see lots
of activity down here. I donʻt know if you can see that on camera… This is grass that has been cut and is just
laying around for a while that we collected and propagated and we are throwing green grass
on there, too. This is a really simple practice, and itʻs
been pretty effective just feeding our kalo grass mulch; like how we have that growing everywhere. People think that Guinea grass is the enemy;
itʻs our best friend. Water: It is pretty much the most important
thing to life. Everything that lives on this earth depends
on rain and food that comes out of the ground. Yeah. We donʻt even really see it as a valuable commodity. What do we put at the top of the shelf? Gold? You canʻt even eat it. So, water is valuable. We got to learn how to take care of it and
how to utilize it and catch it whenever it is coming through our hands. It is the most precious thing that is. Rainwater pulls trace amounts of nitrogen
out of our atmosphere. Thatʻs why the grass is so brilliant green
after a nice rain. So, over here what I am doing is collecting
rainwater in these barrels. The water that we get is treated water, so
it has a little bit of chlorination in it. The rainwater is pure. When you are making micro-organisms you donʻt
want to use any chlorinated water obviously, because it kills the microbes. When you use clean, pure water it is soft water. It is not heavy, so the micro-organisms thrive
in it as well. It is better also for mixing the Korean Natural
Farming sprays with it, as well. If you use hard water with the Korean Natural
Farming sprays then they wonʻt work as well. You always want to use clean, soft water. Rain water is obviously the best. So this food forest doesnʻt have any irrigation. Irrigation was installed during the initial
planting to make sure our plants didnʻt cook, but now the irrigation is designed into the
forest by the berms and swales that we constructed on contour. Also, we have heavily mulched all of the trees
with our dropped wood that we have chopped down inside the forest. Also, with the wood chips that we have been
able to source from our community. Since this irrigation method is natural it
encourages the growth of the microbes and the bacteria that we need in a forest like this. So the wood holds the water and the minerals
and acts as a slow release fertilizer as it breaks down. As it breaks down, this wood becomes incredibly
fantastic, black soil. It feeds this forest system for generations. So these are Sesbania trees inside the food
forest that we chopped down about a year ago. They are rotting on the floor, and all the
roots that are inside the ground are also rotting. They are completely solid water. Everyone of these pieces of wood is just completely drenched. Now it is hot out today. So other plants are accessing this water. I am watching trees stick their roots inside
these dead logs and just tap into the water source. All the bugs are utilizing this as a storehouse
of minerals. I know where some nice mycelium are… also
with little tiny mushrooms… Isnʻt that awesome? I am going to squeeze it out… Our soil is degraded in certain minerals,
but luckily the ocean is a storehouse of minerals. It has everything we need. All we need to do is learn how to take these
minerals out of the ocean and reapply them back to our fields. These methodologies will help us do that. From my understanding there is a lot of different
qualities of water. Like there is water that can really adversely
affect crops before it is properly treated. …and I donʻt mean treatments like in chlorination
or some kind of chemical treatment. I mean more things like aeration, stirring
and the introduction of a balanced microbial population. Healthy rivers and healthy streams and healthy
lakes arenʻt devoid of micro-organisms. They have a really well balanced micro-organism
population. So having healthy water means having life-water. Yeah, and a healthy system in which that water
comes from, so it is a healthy mountain. So it is a whole watershed, really. The whole watershed. The people that were living here a million
strong were living in a way that allowed the rivers to be cleaner than they would have
been naturally, which made the reef more vibrant than it would have been without people here. The hillsides were covered in edible plants
and edible trees. There was more food growing here than there
would have been without people. …and that people have in the past and can
continue to exist in nature in a way that promotes biological diversity and promotes
health in nature and doesnʻt promote sickness and disease. Farmers are smarter than you think. So you can make all of your own sprays. We make cal-phos sprays with eggshells. It is great right before the flowering stage. The veg booster I like to make is pigeon pea
shoots, sweet potato shoots and lilikoi shoots. You get your own rooting hormones that you can make. It is a great veg formula for plants. It is basically just fermented with molasses
sugars, brown sugar. You can do obviously for anaerobic or aerobic
methods… one that we like to use a lot is the immune booster. To make the immune booster you want to use
guava, turmeric, you know which is the olena, and oregano. Mix those all up and you get a really nice
immune boosting solution for your plants. It smells really good. You can basically eat everything too. Any of this pesticide sprays, the fertilizers;
you can drink it, eat it, whatever you want. It tastes pretty good. So, we try to make them in big jugs, any kind
of containers work. Which is really nice. So you can just take any of your old bottles
you find, fill em up. Make sure you let them sit for about anywhere
from three weeks to a month or longer with the cap loosely on otherwise it could expand
and blow up. So, any bottles you have lying around are perfect. You donʻt need to go and buy a bunch of glass
jars, so use what you got. So here we go… So here is the veg formula. These are the shoot tips. Pigeon pea shoot tips, lilikoi shoot tips
and sweet potato shoot tips. I use brown sugar on this one. You can see it is pretty fermented here. If you start pouring it, you can see all of
the liquid coming out there. So you are going to be using all of that liquid. That stuff is wonderful. It should be full of growth hormones. Once again, if you get a few cups of sugar,
that is basically all you are spending to make it. That is about it. We can teach the youth really easily how to do it. This is safe and non-toxic. It keeps the bugs away and works with the
plants, works with the soil. These things are filled with micro-organisms. Everything here is just alive. Love it. So what we have here is another pesticide;
so called pesticide. It is not really a pesticide, though. It more deters the bugs. This is a garlic-ginger spray that we make. This is what we use to keep a lot of the bugs
away along with neem. The ginger is from our garden that we grew. We havenʻt grown garlic yet, but we are planning to. Like we said, everything that we make, we
should be able to eat too. If you canʻt eat it, it is probably not good
for the plants either. It tastes good. The best thing about these sprays also, is
the microbes are in such high quantity, the concentrations of nutrients in here is in
such high quantities, as well that you donʻt need a cup of this per gallon. You donʻt need a tablespoon of this per gallon. You just need a teaspoon per gallon, so you
can see how long something like this would last. It would last for quite a long time. It is really effective. It works better on some plants than others, obviously. So you have to experiment; trial and error and be a scientist. Have fun with it. Jadam Sulfur; 99% sulfur at the Garden Island
Hydro is $10. Two pounds in the package here. Here we have …this is their substitute for
philate powder; which is just glacial rock dust .055lbs. Weʻll put that in there. This is red clay powder; .055 pounds. Here we go… Here we got sea salt. This is 1.165 pounds. This is all worked out proportionately. Because we are using 2 pounds of the sulfur. And then, here we have the household lye,
sodium hydroxide. This is 1.58 pounds. Seven and a half cups of soft rain water… Start stirring. There is also an art to making pesticides
that is safe and easy and even fun. Like basically take your oranges from breakfast,
squeeze out the juice, put the rind in the jar. Put a little bit of salt. This is sea salt. (Pa`akai) Put that in the jar. And then, use distilled vinegar and put that
in the jar. Fill it up. You can doll it up and give it away as a Christmas
gift with the stuff inside. Or you can put it in a spray bottle for yourself
after it is been a couple of weeks. Like this here. This has been in for over a month. Right here I have orange rind, salt, and vinegar. I can basically just pour it into this jar. I am going to mix it just for fun. I am going to mix it with some nioi (peppers). So, I can … there is a little more in here but. …I can take the nioi from my tree, right
behind me; chili peppers, put it in here and I am just going to grind it up. Now it is like industrial strength; really strong. I can use this as a salad dressing. I can use it as a counter spray. I can use it as a pesticide. So, here is my nioi. I can put it in here. I am going to taste this before… It is so good. This will make it pretty intense. But I would just put this in here, stir it up. I would strain it before putting it in here. Put a little more water in it, so it is not
quite so strong; dilute it with water, and I have got my cleaner, my counter cleaner. Or… my ant spray. I could foliar spray my plants to get rid
of aphids and other little challenges that might be there. This particularly works well on ants. So, there you go; simple, easy. So, this is how I use IMOʻs from what I learned
from Rayʻs course in a very simple way, because when I came back from his three day course;
weekend course… I was a little bit overwhelmed. There was so much to do, and he is doing so
many amazing things, and I didnʻt have a barn or a place to store all of these different
kinds of preparations. But I realized that I could take just the essence
of it and do the very beginning, and I made a way of using it that seems to work really
well for me. You can see it has got some blue rock in it.
It has got some chicken pellets. Itʻs got cal-phos. Itʻs got some beach sand. Itʻs got a whole mix of complete nutrients. I will then mix in a bucket full of the IMOʻs
in water in a big wheel barrel filled full of this and mix it all in and the next day
when I come back, and I stick my hand into it… It is hot. I know that those micro-organisms are growing
overnight with the molasses that I gave them and generating all of that heat… So, I know that it is doing something in there. I think the most important thing is that I
am getting our organisms from our compost and our chips and I am putting them into our
soil with our… under our conditions. So I will plant a tree with that when I do
a new fruit tree or banana or whatever. Or, I will come back and when I feed a tree,
then I will make a top-dressing of that and sprinkle it around the top. Hey, this is Jenny. I am here farming here in Moloa`a on four acres, and I am mainly focusing on animals and livestock. Iʻve done multiple farming courses. I did one with Ray Maki. Iʻve actually done two with Ray Maki regarding
Korean-style IMOʻs; indigenous micro-organisms with Master Choʻs teachings. I actually did one with Dr. Park too in Hilo
about 5 years ago. It was an amazing class. Ray is an amazing teacher. He went step-by-step on how to do it; showed
all the different ways to do it. I learned a lot from it. I am incorporating it with my animals and
trying to have them have a healthier environment to live in. Because what it is doing is the microbes are
helping break down and decomposing their waste, so they are healthier and happier. When I am feeding them they are eating the
microbes off the ground which are then going into their system and helping them break down
their feed or their food, so they can digest it properly. I am all about fermenting, too. Okay, so… This can be anywhere from an art to a science,
and in this case in my yard and my backyard, it is an art. I like to make it be a lot of fun, because
what I did here for a long time is teach middle school. This is a teaching opportunity. So what we have seen is that I have gone around
the yard to pick up different nutrients that we are going to put in what I call Special Sauce. You know we saw everywhere it is abundant. This was really done intensively a few years
back, and I almost donʻt need to do it anymore. Right now we are above my fish pond. I have a container full of water that is water
from the fish pond. This fish pond that you can see right here
is rainwater-fed from the roof. So, I am going to put a handful of things in it. I have got a little bit dirtier water from my turtle pond. So that is going to have nutrients and bacteria
from the turtle pond. and… I have an old mango for sugar. It is not really that old, but it is old enough. So I am putting the sugar in. Maybe I will squeeze some of it out and not
put that whole thing in. You know you can do whatever you want. So see isnʻt that kind of a little yummy
and gross right there? Look at my awesome… look at how big these are? These are my guava. This is from a volunteer (tree), and they are
delicious. So this is really sugary, too. I am going to squeeze that sugar in. I am going to put that in. It sort of feeds the fermenting process. Then I have some week-old poi. So this is going to be my starch. It has… it has already started to ferment, so I am going to get some yummy stuff in there from that. I will put a little more in, just for fun. So there I got my starch, and I got my sugar. Then this is sea salt, right from the reef. …actually it is pa`akai from Salt Pond. I donʻt usually use this, but I am going to. So I put a little salt in there. That gives me some of my minerals as we saw
we can get things from the sea. Here is a really fun trick. I kind of fried up these eggshells out of
the chicken coop. I can get a little bit more calcium, a little
bit more minerals right out of there. These are a little early avocados… I am not going to put them in there. So, watch this… Iʻll put this is really popular with the kids. Hopefully, I fried them long enough. I will put a little vinegar in there. Ahh, actually it did not titrate fast enough
out of that, but it is bubbling. I have bubbling going on in there. If I had fried them a little bit longer… you can get (the calcium) from when you make dinner, you have your fish bones… You can go over to a restaurant and get fish bones. There are a lot of things you can get from right around. Here, I have just some banana flowers. They are going to have some enzymes in them,
so when we see a little later in this video where you do fermented fruit juices; here
is some fermented fruit juice with the sugar and the starch. We talked about comfrey. I pulled a little comfrey from my yard. I can break that up, because it will tea down a little bit. Any of this, you can just pick. One of the things you do is you go around
and you look for what looks like itʻs happy and yummy. So, when I started to do this, I had bought
this property from a really talented guy. He was the machinist from the cane company. He used to mop the floor with paraquat and
Chlordane. I moved in with little kids. Now, he lived to be ninety-seven years old,
so somehow he had some pretty good genetics, but it made me nervous. So, I worked to clean it up. I am grabbing right here on the ground some leaves. These leaves from my avocado tree are going to work. I can even just crunch them up a little bit, and there is going to be some micro-bacteria on here. Iʻl put that in there. Then I pulled this out of the worm bed that
is right next to my chicken coop. Some of it… I call this special sauce. I am not going to put all of it into my bubble
mixture, but Iʻll put some of it in. I donʻt put all of it in, because Iʻll keep
some of the eggs and the worms that are actually in there where they donʻt go through the
potential of drowning. What I want is all of the microbes that are
really vibrant and healthy from inside the chicken coop. And then in here we have some of what we pulled
from underneath the banana tree. It is so very rich. It is very, very healthy. This is what you want the end-product to look like. So, in this yard I am starting with it, but
if my yard was all exhausted, Iʻd just go up to the mountain. So there I am putting some of that in there. In the end Iʻll flush this all together. That is actually a pretty good amount of ingredients. What I will do with that is I am going to
put the bubbler from my fish pond on. And the bubbles will accelerate what is going
on between the starch and the sugars. And then I will leave it going for about a half hour. When I am done… Actually, I will put all of this in here, too. This is again my shell mixture. See actually, here… It is starting to bubble. If I had burned it longer it would of had
a whole lot of… it would have gone “pssshhht,” and all the kids would have gone Wowwww!!!!
and they would be excited about it. This is the kind of thing that we did about 5 years ago. If you look at the floor of this growing area… My biggest problem is that it is nearly impossible
to keep up with all of everything. So, I am really thankful to have my friends,
Paul and Marshall… Sometimes they have to help me beat back the jungle. And then… even look here… I got a ladder that has been sitting there
for a couple of weeks and guess what? It has got a vine growing all over it. What happened there? Itʻs a dog! Ok. What Iʻll do in the end here is I will take
this, and I will pour it into the remainders of here… I am going to put all of my little goodies together… I guess that is it and I will put this after
a half hour and put that in here. Then it is going to go on… I will show you where I chose to put some
brand new kalo in. It is sort of an open area, so it is going
to give them a shot in the arm. This stuff grows over the whole yard. So, it is coming in anyway, but why not give
it an extra boost? But I want to give you an extra boost! If I can do it, anybody can do it. That is really the bottom line, so we donʻt
have to get all serious with the science. We just got to remember the basics, and it
is no more difficult than making breakfast. And making breakfast in this yard is very easy. So, now I got my sauce. Iʻll just… well… Iʻll just pour it around. All that special sauce… is alive. So it is going to be able to just move around as it wants. And this is how big they are a little over
three weeks later. They have really grown. This patch of kalo was planted about a month
earlier, and I did not give it any special sauce. Cause I have kind of gotten out of the habit
of doing it. Now that I look at the difference, I am going
to give it some. Felicia used permaculture techniques in what
she calls a lasagna trench. By digging trenches and filling them with
organic matter and bio-char and bringing in earthworms and planting a bunch of beneficial
plants to bio-remediate the soil… Within about two years the soil that had been
highly toxified prior to using these bio-remediators was cleaned up. Maybe we can do this on a large scale. Maybe all of the exhausted land can be bio-remediated in this same way. That was a lasagna trench! We did it in an hour! Hi, I am Ray Maki, and I am Felicia Cowden. We are here at the Moloa`a Roots site where
weʻve been testing the efficacy of indigenous micro-organisms to measure the breakdown of
legacy chemicals in the soil. What weʻve discovered here on this soil is
DDT and all of its metabolites. We have ten individual test site areas. We are at the three month time period right
before we are about to apply the second application of the indigenous micro-organisms. So we can see that the fungi is occupying
some of the top layers of what we would normally consider to be a bacterially dominated system,
pill bugs, another couple unidentified insects rolling through here… We have seen abundant earthworms in other
areas of testing in a nice deep, dark soil layer underneath. The fact that it has stayed so moist helps
us know that our microbes are going to be staying strong and healthy. Exactly. We had basically inconclusive test results. The way our project was laid out, it was very
much a scientific angle. It was looking at five specific applications of indigenous micro-organisms on plots that were 10 x 10. They were all adjacent to each other. So, what we found is that for the growth of
the tilth of the soil, the cations, the ph, all of those things that are part of the natural
cycle, all of it showed pretty strong improvement. What did not improve that much was the DDT. The DDT is a very persistent legacy chemical
last applied about sixty to sixty-five years ago. When we donʻt put everything in there to
work on it with an intentional application of mycelium, worms, beneficial insects, the extractive plants, it is kind of like taking a cancer patient and only making sure they get enough sleep or enough to eat. If we were to try this again, we would stick with a holistic approach like what we do with the farms, we make sure that all the life in the soil web is applied. When we are looking at how do we bio-remediate
and do a project that includes all of these different components, so you are going to have bacteria, protozoa… Thereʻs all these different ways that we
can try to bio-remediate a contaminated area. What was shown up in Washington with department
of transportation; they had a bunch of piles of dirty soil. They basically tried some of the photo-synthesizing plants. They had some of the bacteria. They had everybody trying to do their special
techniques, and the fungi, the oyster mushrooms in particular, were the ones that succeeded the most. They were able to break down those complex
hydro-carbons and fruit. There was nothing toxic in the fruits. So they left behind a really natural environment
where flies were landing on the mushrooms and birds were coming. All of a sudden that pile just greened up. It was just amazing how it sprouted. So in combination with all these other things
it is great, but without the fungi you are missing a key component. They are the only ones that can really break down the lignins and chitins and some of the harder materials. Everything else relies on the fungi to be
able to do its job. So it is possible to clean up persistent contaminants
in the soil using fungi. We are seeing more and more; the more we try,
the more we see that it breaks down not only some of the biological warfare agents, but
some of the pesticides, some of the things that we have been using in our agriculture
that are not useful once they get past the fields they go into the waterways. So, we are showing that the fungi are really
good at breaking those down and rendering them into non-toxic ingredients. So, you have to have fungi in your ecological
system. Especially if you are trying to bio-remediate
any damage that weʻve been doing. Weʻve probably been creating a lot of excess
complex hydro-carbons and so dirty motor oil, diesel, a lot of these chemicals and pesticides
that are in the soil that are persistent and not breaking down with any other… Somethings the bacteria canʻt do the job.
The fungi are the ones that are able to do that. So while fungi are the most important and
the most powerful team players in breaking down legacy chemicals in our soil, from a
permaculture perspective is it is very important that all the different team players are available
in breaking down these toxins. It is very important that we have the earthworms. It is also very important that we have all
the different insects that live beneath the mulch. It is very important that we have beneficial
plants that are extracting these different compounds from the soil. Itʻs very important that we have good water
irrigating the soil to provide the life force for all the different microbes. In essence none of these bio-remediators can
work alone. If we are going to try and bio-remediate the
soil, we are going to have to come together and use all of them at the same time to see
some really dramatic results. So when we speak about the science as opposed
to the art… nature is an art. So one of the biggest struggles for large-scale,
organic farming of this way … or even forget the term “organic”, the biggest challenges for large-scale natural farming is the regulators who sit in an office somewhere who donʻt have this relationship with the plants and the soil. So we have the Food Safety Modernization Act
and Good Agricultural Practices that pretty much want to separate animals and plants. It basically breaks up the soil web. So that is a very big challenge looking into
the future. Right now, small-scale agriculture is safe. We have a provision called the Tester amendment
that allows us to farm and sell our produce locally. But this type of technology that can heal
the soil anywhere, with or without a farm… We could put this on difficult land anywhere
and make it healthy. So, we really need to have our political leaders
help us with the choices that are being made, and we are happy to be helping them understand
how nature works. There is a whole crop of next generation farmers
sprouting. Farmer training is happening on a weekly basis
somewhere. There are so many places that do it. Waipa Foundation, Malama Kaua`i has many lessons. Regenerations Botanical Garden; both of those
utilize this Food Forest. Kilauea Community Ag Park, Go Farm Hawaii
at Kaua`i Community College. Our YouTube site is Regenerations Botanical
Garden. It has videos on detailed instructions on
many of these processes; most of which we have covered in this film. My name is Eric Hansen. I am the program coordinator for Go Farm Hawaii
here on the island of Kaua`i. Really it is the way to go with these microbes. We can see right here, this is probably some
of the best kalo I have grown. I have grown kalo on Maui, Big Island, here
on the north shore, out on the east side, and down here. This is honestly the best in all my years
as a kalo farmer, and I want to see more people do this. This is why we have this here at the college. This is a demonstration of how to really make
healthy soils; how to do something that is sustainable. `Aina Ho`okupu O Kilauea is a working in partnership
with the county. We signed a stewardship agreement to manage
and develop this 75-acre parcel in Kilauea on the way to the lighthouse. We felt that it was very important that we
donʻt approach soil and land as just an exploitation. Itʻs not an agricultural exploitation, but
we truly are looking at this soil as our great capital, and we want to improve that capital
rather than diminish it. There is a boutique market for locally grown
foods; tea for example. Right here, we are at Doug and Gennaʻs place. There is over sixty medicinal herbs in this garden. So… tulsi… this is our chass; everything
in this garden that is harvested for tea making for our powders, for our medicine; We also
make suaves and hydrosols. Every herb here is grown for a purpose of
making medicine like I said over 50+ different herbs in this garden. Looking at the vast expanse of thriving agriculture that we have here. It is one of the areas that we are looking at from the county perspective, Office of Economic Development, to diversify our economy. We are so reliant on the visitor industry
here on Kaua`i that any moment, as we have seen in the great recession, things could
happen for the negative and we are stuck… where we are importing so much food… It is important that we get back to basics
and grow our own food. I am really, really impressed with whatʻs
going on here and throughout the island. There is so much vitality with regards to agriculture. Our precious island is the largest rain catcher in the world, and our ag land has natural access to the most sustainable fresh water source in the world. It is our responsibility, our kuleana, to
help our existing ag land to become the most fertile and abundant food system possible. We aim to reclaim the lost wisdom of natural farming. Now that Iʻve learned the lesson,
I cultivate the message, capturing the essence of the present moment in perfection. Where love is so alive
Jah got my every stride living in the garden
with the children of the most high I will climb the mountain
and I will sing the song I will find the silence
and I will sing along For love will always guide us
right back to where we are we were never gone
Come back home I will come back home
I will come back home I will come back home
Come back home Come back home
I will come back, I will come back, I will come back
….I will come back home It all starts with love of the land
and the change you can bring with your hands Itʻs the best thing we can do
To heal the planet and the people too Itʻs been going on since time began
Just plant a seed and youʻll understand While weʻre living in this time called now
With the friends who can show us how I want to go to a food forest
Want to work in a food forest I want to dance in a food forest
I want to plant some food Itʻs just a rhythm that I canʻt explain
Of the roots and the fruits and the rain And the moonlight quiet and blue
And the birdʻs song strong and true Thereʻs a balance in the day and the night
In the cycles of death and life That feed the soil that I am building with
my dreams And with the power of the sunlightʻs beams
I want to go to a food forest Want to climb in a food forest
Run and play in a food forest Spend today in a food forest
We could live in a food forest I want to give you a food forest
If weʻre going to have enough food for us We better plant some food for us
So we better plant some food

48 thoughts on “Healing the Soil

  1. Great stuff folks. Really well made video. Great information. You have shown real methods that people can go and emulate. Well done to the makers and to the people that supported the creation of the video. I hope that your video inspires more people to try the methods shown here but also to document their own practices for the good of the planet.

  2. do microorganisms thrive in well water? Could I make fertiliser with my well water? I'm in South Spain and we only get 13" rain per year, but we are lucky enough to have a well on our plot of land.

  3. you people hv done a great work. THe same i am trying out in my place in nilgiris, india. I learnt valuable things from this video. thank you and all the best with your project 🙂

  4. wow, Im so impressed about the sea salt…I thought I'd kill the microbiology…

    oh well, super excited to see your methods and your results…awesome! Im working with thermal composts…love love love

  5. Youngsang Cho, the founder of JADAM Organic Farming, presented a two day intensive training
    in Ultra-Low-Cost agriculture this spring on Maui.
    https://www.generosity.com/education-fundraising/make-farming-great-again-w-jadam-s-korean-natural–2/x/8557884

    We had three cameras rolling to capture everything about how to make your own all-natural fertilizers, pesticides and microorganism inputs, for just pennies.

    We now need to raise funds to edit Mr. Cho's presentation and package it as a game changing instructional video that can be distributed to whomever can benefit from it – which is everybody.

    Mr. Cho speaks only Korean and his entire two days of presentation was translated into English by the Director of JADAM, Mr. Rei Yoon. It will be a laborious process to edit this video (minimizing Mr Cho's Korean, emphasizing Mr Yoon's English, and adding English graphics) so that it will be easy for an English speaking audience to view and benefit from.

  6. The Best Agriculture organic foods to eat in the world ………………..Thumbs Up IMO……………….cool hawaii

  7. You till the land; you are killing billions of micro-organisms! No tilling; no composting; no fertilizers; no pesticides! Only Fukuoka natural farming can add top soil to any existing land. You guys are not healing the soil; you guys are killing the soil!

  8. imagine if people didn't do this stuff and Hawaii becomes an overpopulated city… fuck that! the natives need to make sure that doesn't happen, towns are ok, but suburbs and cities roads and perimeter fences must be banished forever

  9. Waimea High School 1993. Believe me…I want to come back home. I am so excited about this sustainable approach at life. What you guys are doing there makes me want to come back home and be involved. I have found this documentary to be extremely motivating. This world needs this education. My father just retired from Pioneer/ Dupont research plant in waimea…(west Kauai), where he spent 25+ years spraying chemicals for a living. I'm now able to teach him about the organic approach that I am trying to live. Your job is my dream job. Are there any career opportunities on Kauai for a passionate person who loves this lifestyle???

  10. i've done a few calphos. fist with white vinegar. then they said to use only organic vinegar. i've even added pistachio shells. the ones with sea salt. kill 2 birds with one stone i thought. not sure if sea salt would prevent a reaction from the vinegar and calcium. it even seemed to fizz pretty good, but i have never seen it put in to a bubbling brew. especially so soon. i thought, you wanna get nuts! lets get nuts! love this shit! love this vid. so good. the music even.

  11. sorry, but the REASON the soil compacts is BECAUSE you are tilling. (20mins point)
    sun and rain should not hit unprotected soil.
    if nothing is currently growing it needs to be mulched.
    do this, and you wont NEED to till.
    the soil should (and CAN) be soft and fluffy without machines…
    also, leave old roots in the ground to rot.
    they provide nutrients and the environment for microorganisms.
    watch some of Elaine Inghams videos on soil science.

  12. Dr Cho's book on KNF is here:
    https://ilcasia.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/chos-global-natural-farming-sarra.pdf

  13. Uhmm.. i cant repeat what my soil said.. cause it was that horrible and fraught with obscenities. In short.. it asked why there are NO nematode remedies on the net.. and why "make your own bokashi" videos.. always use premade microbe sources. So whats the deal you knotty bastards? Nematoads and home made microbes.. . whats the deal?

  14. It's good to see youngster acting like their "back to the land" grandparents …those unforgettable 60's (flower children) do not know why that movement was sabotaged by corporate agriculture that poisoned a generation and a half.

  15. Hi all it's the most enjoyable leaning / teaching l've had in years. We have come a long way since the 80's. I'm so glad you have the time and energy to show your Teachings and learning's.. all for the future and our grand kids like my Hamish. Thanks follow up's would be something or a book for sale on line with DVD . A hui hou a  Aloha oe from Craig.

  16. Frying the egg shells is that pan or deep fry or a whole different process im missing? Im serious i hope it didnt come off sarcastic.

  17. seems that all the people expect two or three really save water…LOLOLOL no baths there or grooming like the old hippy days…

  18. Not one of these people look healthy. I am assuming all they talk about is to show how healthy soils equates to healthy food but just look at these people, yuk! are they not eating the healthy food? Whatever they are eating I don't want any thanks

  19. no till.. lay down mulch & compost, hay spray your microbe tea for a few seasons you shouldn't have to till at all

  20. This is a great film but it saddens me to see all those tilling machines destroying the SFW, you really don't need to especially on a large farm scale.

  21. Anything to keep the moths and butterflies from your plants? I have used FPJ for this season, seems to work out great for the soil and plants. Cheeo!

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