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280 EpisodesProduced by mrjonmooreWebsite

Decarbonise the air, recarbonise the soil.To feed the world, to clean the air and water, we need to change what we do with our soils.This podcast looks at the many variants of regenerative food growing. How? Why? When?We must be the ChangeUnderground!


40 #worldorganicnews 2016 11 14



Home Farming Robot – Englishery!


Soundscapes in the Vineyard | Son Alegre Ecològic


The 3 sisters – An Artist in Spain


Weeds | Permaculture San Joaquin – Colombia


Good Soil – Turnips and Toadstools

Lindsey Brigham, “Good Soil”, Circe Institute

  Transcript! This is the World Organic News Podcast for the week ending 14th of November 2016.

Jon Moore reporting!

We begin with an ominous post following on from last week’s episode: Home Farming Robot! From the blog Englishery!

It’s a video post  showing the planting, watering and a growing season all handled by a farmbot. Water where it’s needed and nowhere else,  a triumph of engineering. So we are not needed to grow food, produce goods or perform routine service tasks as the robots/AI takes these tasks from us. What are we to do?  Storytelling is what makes human. Maybe there’s a ray of light there. Maybe?

Our next post of interest comes from the blog: Son Alegre Ecològic. It is intriguingly entitled: Soundscapes in the Vineyard.The post discusses the variations in soundscapes between vineyards. It is based upon the work of Bernie Krause.


Soundscape ecology is the bio- and geo-acoustic branch of ecology that studies acoustic signatures from whatever source within a landscape (the soundscape). The soundscape of a given region can be viewed as the sum of three separate sound sources: Geophony is the first sound heard on earth. Non-biological in nature, it consists of the effect of wind in trees or grasses, water flowing in a stream, waves at an ocean or lake shoreline, and movement of the earth. Biophony is a term introduced by soundscape ecologist, Bernie Krause, who in 1998, first began to express the soundscape in terms of its acoustic sources.

End Quote.

I find this approach fascinating. Can we use this information, long hidden or even ignored, to understand our world a little more deeply? I think so. This seems an area of investigation ripe with possibilities.

 Now we move from a newish field of endeavour to an ancient technique: The 3 sisters from the blog An Artist in Spain.

Who are these three sisters? I hear you ask. Well, they are corn, beans and squash. The 3 sisters idea is to combine the three plants to create a whole greater than the sum of its parts.

To quote from the post:


The sweet corn grows high and provides a strong frame for the beans to climb up. The beans are nitrogen fixing and increase the fertility of the soil, and the squash provides green mulch, reducing evaporation from the soil whilst protecting it from erosion by heavy rain. ....

...The idea isn’t to increase the yield of any one specific crop, but to increase the combined productivity of that piece of land whilst also maintaining (or preferably improving) the quality and integrity of the soil.

End quote.

The post goes on to explain that this is referred to as a plant guild in permaculture. They then decided to apply this principle to their lives. I’ll leave you to read the outcome but it is positive and enlightening. Following on with the Permaculture theme, Permaculture San Joaquin – Colombia posted on Weeds. This post calls not for a “see it and spray it” approach but a more nuanced, deeper understanding of “weeds” and what they can tell us. Quote:

Every disturbance of vegetation is met with a reaction, be it fire, compaction of the ground, plowing (sic), erosion or anything else and weeds are the first emergency responders. Every plant has a ‘germinating condition’ directly connected to the process of disturbance and repair. When for example the soil gets compacted the plants with strong deep root systems emerge to break up the compaction. Is the ground too loose, for example after plowing (sic), then plants with a widespread system of small roots germinate to cast a net that holds the loose soil together.

End Quote.

Whilst most gardening authorities will tell you weeds are plants in the wrong the place, the approach suggested in this post would suggest “weeds” are plants exactly where they need to be to keep the soil safe. A safe soil will sustain not only the plants within it but all non oceanic life. Seeing weeds in this light, we can use them to guide us as we assist Nature to achieve the best soil in a given location. Imagine a situation where all soils were rehabilitated responding to the signals they are sending us through the “weeds” in air quotes. Just imagine...

The blog Turnips and Toadstools brings us a timely reminder with the post: Good Soil.


Modern agriculture focuses on crop production over soil cultivation. Exhausted soil is boosted with fertilizers, then sown with thousands of rows of a single plant type, producing high yields but sterilizing the land. In much the same way, results-driven education teaches to the test in order to yield students who rank high on standardization, but whose minds are worked to exhaustion, unable to grow anything of their own.” -Lindsey Brigham, “Good Soil”, Circe Institute

End Quote.

This succinctly sums up the pact with devil made by industrialised agriculture since World War 2. By using soil as nothing more than a wide scale hydroponic medium for growing crops, that soil has been destroyed by 1% or thereabouts each year. Weeds become rampant but, as we know now, these “weeds” are trying to tell us what the soil needs. Instead of reading the soil through these weeds, more herbicides have been applied, the conditions conducive to weed growth has been encouraged and the cycle continually feeds up itself. Great if you’re selling herbicides, not so great if you’re thinking about the soil you’ll be leaving your grandchildren.  

And that brings us to the end of this week’s podcast.

If you’ve liked what you heard, please tell everyone you know any way you can! I’d also really appreciate a review on iTunes. This helps others to find us. Thanks in advance!

Any suggestions, feedback or criticisms of the podcast or blog are most welcome. email me at

Thank you for listening and I'll be back in a week.


Home Farming Robot – Englishery!

Soundscapes in the Vineyard | Son Alegre Ecològic

The 3 sisters – An Artist in Spain

Weeds | Permaculture San Joaquin – Colombia

Good Soil – Turnips and Toadstools

Lindsey Brigham, “Good Soil”, Circe Institute

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