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Culturing the Micro-Flora of the Body and the Soil

Left to right: Vincent Mina, Theresa Vernon, Paul Hepperly, Jerry Brunetti, and Michael Melendrez.

On January 23-24, 2010, Maui Aloha Aina Association presented a conference on "Culturing the Micro-Flora of the Body and the Soil" at Waiaha Farm in Holualoa, North Kona. Four experts presented at the conference, assembled from Acres USA and the Westin A Price conference held each year on the mainland.

Jerry Brunetti of Agri-Dynamics gave powerful presentations on "Health from the Gut up" and "Soil as a Super Organism". With Jerry's innate ability to describe the relationship of the body to the soil, he set the scene for this weekend farm health conference.

Dr. Paul Hepperly related his vast experience with organic agriculture, discussing research results related to Bio-char, cover crops, and compost for building soil. Paul also brought into his presentation the spiritual expression--connectedness to the environment at all levels in agriculture.

Michael Melendrez of Soil Secrets spoke to the value of utilizing humates and mycorrhizae in soil remediation. He showed his astonishing results in reclaimed New Mexico desert using these two simple tools. He also explained some of his more esoteric research, such as how the "dipole moment" of a humate molecule helps explain the beneficial effects different humate forms have on soil.

Theresa Vernon spoke about the effects of heavy metals on our bodies’ ability to absorb and uptake nutrients. Theresa described in detail the different elements that are required to maintain a healthy body. Through hair analysis one can detect mineral imbalances that can be caused by heavy metal toxicity. Theresa mentioned that her tests of Big Island residents showed some of the highest mercury levels she has seen in the U.S.

Goat milking shed at Waiaha Farm, where conference attendees discussed livestock care.

Farm Manager Steve Sakala and his partner Kaili took the conference attendees on a farm tour where we saw how the pastured livestock and conscious food plantings can cause an evolution in restoring vitality of the land. Attendees were also treated to homegrown lunches and snacks from the farm.

There was a tradeshow that had the newly formed Hawai‘i chapter of the National Farmers Union present, a new voice for ecological agriculture in our state. There was also a compost tea demonstration from Bobby Grimes of Honoka’a. Soil Care Australia came all the way from Down Under to share their unique experience of farming.

Jack Bates from Down-to-Earth Soil Amendments along with plant starts for sale from Waiaha farm rounded out the tradeshow.

This inspiring conference empowered everyone to cultivate health in body and soil. Maui Aloha Aina Association is a 501c3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to "promote life nurturing practices for the body and the soil through education and outreach". We have been holding educational conferences on the interrelationship of the body and the soil since 2001. It is our hope that we can continue to raise the awareness of our agricultural community to support a healthy population through restorative ecological practices. Please go to www.mauigrown.com <http://www.mauigrown.com> to sign up for our newsletter and stay appraised of our upcoming events.

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