The Universe Beneath Our Feet: The Soil Food Web

Episode 128: Dr. Elaine Ingham of Soil Foodweb Inc. guides us on this podcast journey into the world of soil. The meeting place of atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, and biosphere, soil contains vast numbers of species.  Like most places where “edges” of different worlds meet, the soil is a dynamic interface. Fertile soil is alive with the biodiversity of a thriving forest; complex ecosystems connecting, growing, living, co-existing, and dying. In this episode we learn about the cast of creatures that comprise the Soil Food Web, including Bacteria, Fungi, Nematodes, Protozoa, and Arthropods and the many ecosystem services that they provide.

Elaine talks about how to take dirt, soil that has no life, and transform it into soil. She details techniques that you can do at home and on the farm to increase soil life, resulting in healthier plants, people, and planet. Are you trying to grow broccoli in a fungal dominated soil? Why does your yard only grow weeds? What or who is living in your soil? Why is rototilling a bad idea if you are trying to increase soil health? What is the connection between healthy soil and climate change?  Tune in to learn the answers to these questions and more from Soil Food Web expert Dr. Elaine Ingham.


14 Comments on “The Universe Beneath Our Feet: The Soil Food Web”

  1. What a great podcast! Made me want to go out and get a microscope right away. I have been thinking about getting my soil tested, but now I think I´ll just learn how to tell the health of the soil myself and delve into the microcosm that is soil health. I felt excite just thinking about this new world I am going to get to know which is under my feet and connected to me through the plants I grow. Soil health is plant health is human health!

  2. I have land in Tennessee which I would love to start on a regenerative and sustainable program. My son and I are really interested in a course on soil microbe regeneration.

    • There’s a fantastic conference in TN coming up next month, called Herbal Symposium and Permaculture that will delve into soil science

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  7. I also really enjoyed this podcast, as I do most of your interviews. I was left a little aghast when I visited the soilfoodweb site to find that the courses have a $5,000 enrollment fee. :-(

    For little people like myself who are simply trying to scrape enough money together to buy some land and then invest what we can into regenerating the soil, the last thing we need is a $5,000 bill to learn how to do it.

    I am talking from the perspective, of course, that we are on a planet that is reaching a tipping point and I feel all knowledge that can help save our climate…should be given away freely to anyone with the effort to try and help improve things.

    I also understand the perspective that Dr. Ingham has invested her life into accumulating this knowledge and rightly deserves to be rewarded for her efforts, but…are we trying to save life on this planet or not?

    • Hi Joseph, I haven’t taken a full course by Dr Ingham, but I have read a lot about soil, watched a lot of videos, and took soil and horticulture classes at my local community college- which were very affordable! I’ve also taken classes at community gardens and some Permaculture workshops. Those were all much less expensive ways to learn about the soil food web! Thanks for listening.

  8. I LOVED this podcast, I listened to it twice and took a lot of notes. I so want to take her classes but cant afford them now. what she said makes so much sense, why isn’t this taught in school rather than boring the kids with stuff they will never use?

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