The permaculture podcast interview Dr. Elaine Ingham, microbiologist and soil researcher.
During this conversation, Host David Bilbrey and Elaine explore the concepts of soil microbiology, talking about how just below your earth surface the soil is brimming with life — moles, insects, worms and billions of microorganisms all living within the soil. When we think about plants we only see the growth above ground, bursting with leaves, flowers and fruits, however just below the earth’s surface the root growth is just as significant and profound. Dr. Elaine stresses the importance of this life on the health of our plants and agricultural system, how using compost to increase the number of beneficial organisms living within your soil can make a huge difference to your soil quality, and the power of a microscope to bring all these ideas together, right in front of our eyes. The toxic chemicals in large scale agriculture practice is KILLING the insects, and microbes, and this eliminating or drastically reducing or sometimes even adding species to the mix can put the whole food chain out of whack..
Dr. Ingham, stresses the importance of healthy, living soil for human wellbeing. Her theory is that “Conventional” agriculture is all about trying to get people to buy inorganic fertilizers, pesticides and minerals that inadvertently kill of the beneficial life (both flora and fauna) in the soil, so they are never able to do the jobs that nature intended them to do. Of course, this keeps growers “addicted” to buying more, and more, and more of those chemicals from the big chemical companies. Excessive use of chemical fertilisers poses a real danger to the soil sucking the water out of the microbes that live within the soil.