33 episodes

Soil. What is it, really? It’s more than the dirt under our feet and the ground we stand on.

Soil is living and life-giving.

Listen as we unlock the mysteries of soil by speaking with people at the forefront of the soil health movement.

“4 The Soil: A Conversation” is part of the 4 The Soil Awareness Campaign led by the Virginia Soil Health Coalition. The campaign’s purpose is to raise awareness of soil as an agricultural and natural resource critical to social, economic, and environmental health.

Hear and learn from farmers, agricultural professionals, conservation leaders, master gardeners, and many more on how and why to be 4 The Soil.

The podcast is a collaboration of Virginia Tech's School of Plant and Environmental Sciences and Center for Food Systems and Community Transformation, Virginia Cooperative Extension, On The Farm Radio, USDA-NRCS, and the Virginia Soil Health Coalition with specific funding from the Agua Fund, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and Virginia Tech’s Department of Agriculture, Leadership, and Community Education’s Community Viability grant program.

Stay tuned for the release of our first episode in October!

4 The Soil: A Conversation Eric Scott Bendfeldt

    • Science
    • 4.9 • 9 Ratings

Soil. What is it, really? It’s more than the dirt under our feet and the ground we stand on.

Soil is living and life-giving.

Listen as we unlock the mysteries of soil by speaking with people at the forefront of the soil health movement.

“4 The Soil: A Conversation” is part of the 4 The Soil Awareness Campaign led by the Virginia Soil Health Coalition. The campaign’s purpose is to raise awareness of soil as an agricultural and natural resource critical to social, economic, and environmental health.

Hear and learn from farmers, agricultural professionals, conservation leaders, master gardeners, and many more on how and why to be 4 The Soil.

The podcast is a collaboration of Virginia Tech's School of Plant and Environmental Sciences and Center for Food Systems and Community Transformation, Virginia Cooperative Extension, On The Farm Radio, USDA-NRCS, and the Virginia Soil Health Coalition with specific funding from the Agua Fund, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and Virginia Tech’s Department of Agriculture, Leadership, and Community Education’s Community Viability grant program.

Stay tuned for the release of our first episode in October!

    Episode 22 - 24: Stories of Land and People with Lee Rinehart of the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) Part II

    Episode 22 - 24: Stories of Land and People with Lee Rinehart of the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) Part II

    Who inspired you in your soil health journey? Lee Rinehart sustainable agriculture specialist with the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) shared about two people who inspired him in his journey into sustainable, regenerative agriculture and soil health. In sharing about his maternal grandfather's influence and the writings of Wendell Berry, Lee reiterates stories about the care of land and people being critically important for affecting change, building camaraderie, and inspiring new ideas that can be adopted and implemented.

    Lee also emphasized how we need to learn from one another what has worked, what continues to be a challenge, and what emerging opportunities are there to build soil health and regenerate landscapes.

    To join a dynamic community of people in Virginia and across the world who are curious about water and soil practices, please visit National Center for Appropriate Technology's Soil for Water initiative at: https://soilforwater.org/

    The 1977 classic book that Lee referenced by Wendell Berry, The Unsettling of America: Culture & Agriculture, can be obtained online or from a local independent bookstore.

    To read the latest Soil Health Tip Tuesday blog post that Jeff mentioned about what to do with leaves, please visit https://www.4thesoil.org/blog/soil-health-tip-tuesday-ways-to-save-the-gold-and-red-and-brown-leaves.

    Learn more about the Virginia Soil Health Coalition and hear the conversation on our websites, please visit https://www.virginiasoilhealth.org/ and https://www.4thesoil.org or wherever you get your podcasts!

    • 18 min
    Episode 22 - 23: Appropriate Technology for Soil for Water with Lee Rinehart of the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) Part I

    Episode 22 - 23: Appropriate Technology for Soil for Water with Lee Rinehart of the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) Part I

    What are appropriate and inappropriate technologies for soil to benefit water? Lee Rinehart of the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) shares the history behind this question as well as how the question relates to their ongoing Soil for Water initiative. People may hear of appropriate technology in relation to an international context but Lee reminds us that no matter the context appropriate technology should be locally-adaptive, place-based, and people-centered to be most beneficial socially, ecologically, and economically.

    Lee tells several stories of when technologies were introduced and did not have the desired anticipated benefits but disrupted relationships that were naturally more integrated such as the carbon cycle and the integration of livestock in agricultural and rural landscapes.

    To learn more about the National Center for Appropriate Technology's Soil for Water initiative and join a dynamic community of people in Virginia and across the world who are curious about water and soil practices that create resilient, profitable agricultural systems, please visit: https://soilforwater.org/

    The classic book by E.F. Schumacher that Lee referenced, Small Is Beautiful: A Study of Economics As If People Mattered, can be obtained online or from a local independent bookstore.

    We can all be 4 the Soil, 4 the Water. Therefore, we encourage you to do your place-based, locally-adaptive part to build soil health on your farm, in your garden, and in your landscape. Learn more about the Virginia Soil Health Coalition and hear the conversation on our websites, please visit https://www.virginiasoilhealth.org/ and https://www.4thesoil.org or wherever you get your podcasts!

    • 20 min
    Episode 22 - 22: 'Soil is Meant to be Covered' with Mike Phillips of Valley View Farms

    Episode 22 - 22: 'Soil is Meant to be Covered' with Mike Phillips of Valley View Farms

    If you were an earthworm, what type of farm would you like to be living on? This question was posed to Mike Phillips of Valley View Farms in Mauzy, Virginia, who is a student of history and a champion of soil health. Jeff Ishee was able to catch up with Mike at a recent Soil Health and Cover Crop Field Day in Rockingham County to learn how Mike seeks to mimic nature in his farming and soil health principles.

    Mike is always cognizant of keeping soil covered, nurturing soil biology, and managing his above and below-ground livestock. He encourages us all to know we are part of a system and that all living things are sacred. Therefore, we should manage our lives, farms, and soils to be in harmonious balance. Mike has been inspired by many people throughout his life and he is fiercely intent on inspiring others, particularly young and beginning farmers, to farm and live as part of the land and sacred system.

    Context is a critical precept for customizing soil health to your farm and landscape. To learn more about Mike Phillips's passion for farming and care of the land, please take six minutes to listen to two of Virginia Cooperative Extension's Soil, Conservation, and Place videos at https://youtu.be/Sgbqt_AnA8s and https://youtu.be/HyW858Hb12k

    Learn more and hear the conversation on our website www.4thesoil.org or wherever you get your podcasts! As always, we encourage you to do your part to build soil health on your farm, in your garden, and in your landscape.

    • 18 min
    Episode 22 - Special First Anniversary Edition of 4 The Soil: A Conversation Podcast with Mary, Jeff, and Eric

    Episode 22 - Special First Anniversary Edition of 4 The Soil: A Conversation Podcast with Mary, Jeff, and Eric

    The 4 the Soil: A Conversation podcast was collaboratively launched on October 12, 2021, to bring farmers, graziers, market gardeners, agricultural professionals, educators, researchers, conservationists, and community leaders together to hear and share stories about agriculture, soil health principles, and shared values. The First Anniversary Edition is aimed to be a "best-of" episode to celebrate the milestone and offer a sample of memorable conversations of the first year.

    Special thanks to all of our guests and listeners. We hope you will join us in this celebration and continue to support and share the 4 The Soil: A Conversation podcast as we work together for the common good and health of the soil and the future.

    Learn more and hear the conversation on our website www.4thesoil.org or wherever you get your podcasts! As always, we encourage you to do your part to build soil health on your farm, in your garden, and in your own backyard.

    • 20 min
    Episode 22 - 21: Farming and Soil Health by the Square Foot with Brian Downing of Crooked Row Farm

    Episode 22 - 21: Farming and Soil Health by the Square Foot with Brian Downing of Crooked Row Farm

    Will soil health work on your farm? That is a question that farmers often ask related to soil health-building principles and practices, particularly in relation to multi-species mixtures and diversified enterprises. Brian Downing of Crooked Row Farm is a second-generation farmer located in Randolph County in central North Carolina. He shares his perspective on farming by the square foot and making soil health work on his farm. Faced with a soil compaction resource concern, he began experimenting with cover crop mixtures, a diversity of livestock and crop species, and enhancing the carbon currency on his farm. Brian highlights the need to understand what is happening on your farm by the square foot and to realize your farm has its own micro-economy that requires investments and savings in carbon and soil health. Additionally, farming and soil health accounts require sound recordkeeping to know where, how, and if wealth and health are growing and accruing as part of a stable micro-economy that naturally includes deposits and withdrawals.

    Learn more and hear the conversation on our website www.4thesoil.org or wherever you get your podcasts! As always, we encourage you to do your part to build soil health on your farm, in your garden, and in your landscape.

    • 19 min
    Episode 22 - 20: Keeping Context and Camaraderie in Mind with Cover Crop Coach Steve Groff Part II

    Episode 22 - 20: Keeping Context and Camaraderie in Mind with Cover Crop Coach Steve Groff Part II

    What do you want to accomplish on your farm, in your garden, or in business? Do you have a specific resource concern such as lessening tillage? Do you want to provide your family, friends, and customers with nutrient-dense food? Cover Crop Coach Steve Groff shared in the previous episode about keeping the soil alive and well. The conversation continues with Steve emphasizing that farmers need to learn all they can and understand how soil health concepts, principles, and practices are applicable to their individual farms and context. Similarly, Steve encourages farmers, graziers, and gardeners to visit with other farmers locally as well as virtually for camaraderie and peer-to-peer networking. There are many ways to learn and continue to self-educate ourselves as we face challenges of living longer than ever, and unfortunately, in many cases, being sicker than ever.

    For more information about soil health for your farm, pasture, garden, or backyard, please visit the Virginia Soil Health Coalition's Tips and Resources website at https://www.virginiasoilhealth.org/resources-1. To take the pledge to follow and educate others about the four core soil health principles, please visit the 4 The Soil website at https://www.4thesoil.org/take-the-pledge.html.

    To learn about Steve Groff's soil health journey, mindsets, and the changing context of farming, you can read his new book The Future-Proof Farm: Changing Mindsets in a Changing World, which is available online at https://stevegroff.com.

    • 18 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
9 Ratings

9 Ratings

meb4308 ,

Great podcast on soil health!

Great resource to learn about soil health and why we should all care about this valuable resource!

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