Part 1 — Overview

For the past 75 years, most growers have been limited to using expensive chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Unfortunately, this has destroyed soil fertility, and reduced the flavor and nutrient density of crops.

It has been well documented that these chemical fertilizers are harming the environment and are likely contributors to rising cancer rates and other health hazards. Public awareness is driving demand for organic foods and textiles. Not only are agrichemicals toxic to human health and microorganisms in the soil, they also harm pollinators and wildlife, running off into water bodies, polluting rivers, land and wetlands.

As a mutual fund portfolio manager, in my first career, I contemplated market history and future trends that would impact the market performance. Now, as CEO of a soil health, AgTech company, I find myself thinking about both future trends in agriculture and, increasingly, the investment era of the Nifty 50.

In the late 60’s and early 1970’s, a couple of dozen public companies were anointed One Decision Stocks, based on their historic growth and future prospects. Only 15 years earlier, the dominant investment thesis for equities was they needed to have higher yields than bonds, because they carried more…

GeoEngineering is a set of approaches that involve intentional, large scale modifications of the earth’s environment to avert crises driven by global warming. While we at SymSoil celebrate every person focused on changing the trajectory of greenhouse gasses that humanity has created, those words, “Large Scale Modification of the Climate” terrify us. So often has humanity’s arrogant confidence in machines, chemistry and technology led to damage and unforeseen challenges, that we are now in a new age; The Anthropocene.

If you are not familiar with the two primary strategies of GeoEngineering (Solar Radiation Management and Greenhouse Gas Removal), I recommend…

With Covid-19, we’ve learned the importance of community and individual action. We all desire clear guidelines from the federal and state governments, and municipal support for healthcare. But even with those in place, we also take personal responsibility for face masks and social distancing.

Climate change is similar: Governments negotiate the Paris Accord or meet at the UN Climate Action Summit, seeking government guidelines and support for a transition into a less polluting society, individuals are also taking personal responsibility, with actions that reduce our carbon footprint.

Now there is a new way to reduce your carbon footprint, using the…

A Local Carbon Network is a local (county, city, etc.) group organized to conserve and exchange valuable carbon resources within a local carbon shed. The group uses food scraps and locally derived woody material as base material (compost feedstock) and uses the finished compost within the locality, in individual yards or community gardens.

Local carbon networks (LCNs) have operated in California since 2018, and are now going national.

We view each area, a carbon shed, as a source for carbon, much like a hydrologist looks at water shed: a local area within which the resource is effectively and efficiently collected…

Every Spring, I call my father, who is a master gardener, for advice on making compost. I don’t know if it is the water here in Los Angeles, or the air in Texas, but I never make good compost, despite following his instructions closely.

What Cynthia didn’t know was that food waste is particularly difficult to make quality compost with. It tends to rot without becoming that dark brown, rich material, with almost no smell, that gardeners value. Her father’s compost is probably a combination of green leaves, woody materials and biology from prior years of composting.

A couple of…

Sometimes an idea is profound and radical, yet in its detail so complex that it take awhile to fully grasp. The role of biodiversity in soil health and effective carbon sequestration is an example of this type of complexity.

Originally described in the academic literature in the 1980’s as the Soil Food Web, the vocabulary and images have changed and evolved over the decades.

The short version? The Soil Food Web is the community of organisms living all or part of their lives in the soil. It has much in common with the gut biome, but in the soil. …

In fine wine, flavor reigns supreme. The single most important factor is quality of the grapes, which is a function of their terroir. The skill of the vineyard manager and the winemaker are important, but the vineyard’s terroir — the minerals in the soil, the amount and angle of the sunlight, the amount of water have always been critical to thinking about wine. Recently, the most forward thinking vineyard managers have begun focusing on the estate’s biological terroir.

Ben Stein — Upsplash

These are not new ideas. In 2006, Dr. Elaine Ingham (founder of the Soil Food Web Institute) and Carol Ann Rollins published…

A tenet of biological farming is Feed the Soil, Not the Plant. If the soil is healthy, it will feed the plant.

Applying management practices that develop and maintain desired microorganism levels and diversity, will feed the plants by cycling nutrients they need. From a business standpoint, it’s important to know that applied material and labor are having the desired effect because the input costs impact the bottom line. SymSoil’s Soil Testing Lab in Fairfield can do this analysis for you, but often a quick test is sufficient to monitor your soil.

SymSoil’s focus is on improving sustainable farming, increasing…

As I dropped a shovel into the smelly pile that had been left in front of my house, all I could think was, “Is this compost? OMG, How could I forget this is what most people think compost smells like?”

Let me give you some context:

It was my first purchase of compost for a garden, as I am not a gardener. I have a “black thumb”, as did my mother, and her mother. I can only surmise that farming during the Irish potato famine made several generations want to get as far from growing green things as possible.


SymSoil (Soil Health B Corp)

We farms soil microbes to recreate the complete soil microbe biome. Scalable mfg of engineered soils as agrichemical alternative. Part of #LocalCarbonNetwork

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