New Courses Brewing

Dear Friends,

Winter is coming and that means conferences and courses on building soil.  Here are some upcoming events that you will find me at.  I’d love to meet you and share what has been happening over this last growing season.  It’s good stuff!


Here is the link to the Soil Summit:  October 15, 2016 – Billings, MT – Northern Plains Soil Summit

I’ll be speaking for a short bit, however, I will be attending the whole summit and will be around the following morning for a meet and greet and brainstorm session.

And then there is this one for you on the East Coast:


Here is the link to register for this outstanding conference: Nov. 4-6, 2016 in Durham, NC Carolina Farm Stewardship Conference

On Friday I will offer you an Identifying the Microherd session where we will look at soils and Composts together.   Bring your soil, composts or liquid amendments such as extracts or teas you made or purchase for application on your land.  Let’s check out the world beneath your feet (or the one that should be there) for the plants you want to grow.  Microscopes and appropriate equipment should be brought by you. More info on needed equipment to follow shortly.

Saturday I will offer a lecture on the soil food web and how to get it into your growing systems, supported by success stories (and challenges) of implementing the soil food web.

We hope to see you there!

Minnesota Organic Conference

January 12-13, 2017
St. Cloud, MN

Minnesota Organic Conference

The first meeting of the Compost Exchange will be on January 14, 2016. There is more information to come for registering for this event that is FOLLOWING the MN Organics Conference. It is a separate event, however, many of the Farmers, Ranchers and Compost Operations I have worked with for the last 5 years will be at the conference and we want to keep you all there for one more day. Why?  Check this out.

Topic or title: The Compost Exchange: Trade Secrets for a Productive Future

Description:  The art of soil building requires access to a multitude of tools.  While there is no silver bullet to solve soil fertility issues, there is an essential catalyst tool for crop productivity, and that is the soil food web.  The soil food web can be looked at as Nature’s fertilizer bags and Nature’s fertilizer bag openers and spreaders.  As with any craft, learning to build soil with the soil food web takes some patience and know how.  The truth is, building a diverse soil food web is different for every farm and every Compost operation.  The Compost Exchange aims unite Compost Operations and Farmers that 1) want to build the soil food web or 2) have been building the soil food web, together to exchange knowledge and Compost. (We don’t call it Compost Exchange for nothing!)  There are trade secrets to be shared and heard. So bring your stories of challenges and successes.  It’s time to build some soil!

*Participants are asked to bring a 1 qt bag with the best Compost they have made.  All Compost will be mixed together and redistributed to participants for a take home inoculate.  Remember, when you increase the diversity you will increase productivity.

*To enter the Compost Exchange Compost Competition,  your Compost must be assessed before the event.  Your analysis will be done by Molly Haviland from Haviland Earth Regeneration.  The cost is $60 per sample.  For more information on how gather and to ship, click here.  When you call Haviland Earth Regeneration for registering your sample analysis, the shipping address will be given to you. Phone:  303. 999. 5935, Email:

*There will be microscopes on site as well as microscope technicians to do brief and live soil or Compost assessments.

Course Schedule: (This event is under development, the schedule below is subject to change.  The course update will be reposted no later than November 1, 2016. 

9:00-9:30; Soil Food Web Basics – Why do you want them? What do they do? (Molly Haviland)

9:45-10:30: Live stream footage of the soil food web in soil and Compost – What you’re likely to see and what you want to see. (Molly Haviland)

10:30-12:00: Building The Soil Food Web – How to create Compost and Compost products that contain the soil food web. (Molly Haviland and Clifford Johnson)

12-1:00: Lunch

1-2:00: Successes, Challenges & Trade Secrets Exposed – Key knowledge from those with feet on the ground.  What have been the challenges, what were the solutions.  We will share up to date field experiences of what is happening on farms in the West and Midwest as they increase diversity in their Compost and on their fields.

2:00-3:00: Best Compost Prizes Awarded

3:00-4:00:  Meet and Greet-  Round table discussions

4:00 – 500:  Open Forum Q and A

Presenter:  Johnson Enterprises and Haviland Earth Regeneration

Presenter name(s): Clifford Johnson and Molly Haviland

Session length:       6-8 hours with lunch break

Audience level: Advance though all are welcome

Three and a Half Week Soil Intensive In Iowa

holding dirt Haviland Earth Regeneration

Taught by David Fisher, PhD, Soil Ecologists Molly Haviland, BS and Loida Vasquez, BS and Crop Consultant Ben Ice

May 23 – June 16, 2016

Sign up for the course here – Maharishi University of Mangement

The 2016 Living Soil course focuses are:
1) Soil Food Web – What is it, how to identify it, how to create products that are rich with it, how to incorporate it into growing systems through composts, teas and extracts. 
2) Mineral Balancing 
  • Learn to read a soil chemistry test
  • Calcium and magnesium balancing
  • Potassium and sodium balancing
  • Mineral excesses and deficiencies

3) Soil Armor

  • Cover crops to assist nutrient cycling
  • Organic matter as a natural benefit of crop residue digestion and vertical or no tillage
We will do practical applications of 
  • Building Compost
  • Creating Teas and Extracts
  • Assessing biology through microscopy
  • Site assessments and appropriate applications of composts, liquid composts and mineral amendments
What do increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, dead zones in the ocean, polluted water ways, soil erosion and low nutrient containing foods have in common? These are all results of poor agriculture practices.  In the last 60 years, modern agriculture has done more to alter land and waterscapes than it has in centuries.  It is time to go beyond conventional, beyond organic and far beyond sustainable methodologies and propel ourselves forward to create regenerative growing systems.  Building and stabilizing soil is essential to planetary health.  All life comes from this mysterious place and to it all life will return.

Please join our 4 instructors in the 2016 Living Soil Course that focuses on regenerative agriculture methods.  The foundation of the course is built on the combination of three agricultural tools: cover cropping(organic matter building) , mineral balancing and soil food web methodologies.   Students of this course will learn to build soil, create biological inoculums, apply biology to growing systems and learn to analyze life in soil and biological products through bright field microscopy.     We will address foundations of creating soil armor to stabilize soil and feed soil organisms.  Our students will be introduced to principles of balancing calcium and magnesium, as well as addressing mineral excesses in soils. 

Healthy soil stores massive amounts of carbon in plant life and organism life.  Healthy soil filters water as well as retaining and cycling nutrients to feed plants.  Healthy soil allows for plants to access the nutrients they need when they need them and where they need them.  Lace up your boots, bring your gloves, and don’t forget your notebook when you join us for this 3.5 week soil health intensive. Your tool box of knowledge will be expanded.  Let’s make this a decade where humans are known for building soil humus and growing food that is medicine. 

Instructor Bios:

Molly C. Haviland:  As a microherder, Molly understands how to cultivate beneficial soil organisms, merge them into growing systems, and encourage them to thrive in that location. Molly has consulted and offered courses in 20 states throughout America, and has recently began traveling the world to offer this information to compost operations, farmers and students. Molly aims to develop the highest quality compost and compost amendments designed specifically for the desired crop.  As the owner of Haviland Earth Regeneration (HER), her goals are threefold, (1) build soil humus as quickly as possible, (2) to grow food that is medicine and (3) to teach others how to do this for themselves.   Molly earned her BS degree in Sustainable Living from the Maharishi University of Management where she is an affiliate professor of the Living Soil course.  Molly has been under mentorship from Dr. Elaine Ingham since 2010 and gained her Soil Life Certification in 2012. She is a Soil Life Certification coach for the Environment Celebration Institute. 

Benjamin Ice: Founder/owner of Ice’s Soil Restoration, Ben delivers expert soil consultations  to farmers/businesses seeking to restore dynamic mineral balance and healthy soil biology into the soil.   He started his business  in 2009 to empower Grower’s to produce quality mineral dense food. The strategy is that mineral density will start in the soil and work it’s way through the plants, to the animals and back to the consumer.  His main focus is to educate Growers with the knowledge they need to make progressive decisions and to understand the value of mineralizing the soil. When he’s not on the farm or on the road he resides in Otsego, MN with his wife and 4 children. When life allows he enjoys hunting and fishing Walleye on Lake Millacs.  

Loida Vasquez: After years of working in corporate America, Loida realized that she wanted to do something meaningful to help the environment and all its inhabitants. That was when she decided to dedicate her time and efforts to healing our precious soil, without which, climate change continues at a rapid rate, contaminated run-off water kills life in our lakes and oceans, while healthy food can not be grown. 

Loida obtained a B.S. in Sustainable Living and a Living Soils consultant certification under the guidance of Dr. Elaine Ingham. 

She is now a professional Living Soils consultant devoting all her time to working with growing systems that heal the soil and so produce healthy food for humans and animals to consume, while reducing climate change via carbon sequestration. She is the owner of Regenerative Soil Services out of Las Angeles, CA.  

Upcoming Courses for the New Year

January is a month of opportunity for the Midwest to learn more about the soil food and and microscopy.  Check out these events and courses, perhaps you and your community would like to join in on the events!  If you want a hands-on microscope day, then check out the Milaca, MN event!  It’s very affordable and you will learn how to do the microscope assessments.  How cool is this?

The Minnesota Organics Conference is jam packed with excellent speakers and workshops to propel your growing system forward.  I will be speaking both days.  Here is what I’ll be covering:

January 8, 2016

Session 1: The Art of Microherding – Establishing below ground diversity for above ground resilience

This course will begin with understanding how the soil food web is a tool that can be used to increase productivity in all growing systems.  You will be introduced to the key organisms that are responsible in holding and releasing soil fertility. The discussion of their food and environmental preferences will allow you to understand why they may or may not be present in your growing system. We will discuss applications of composts, extracts and teas and how you can know you are using the products that will  make a change in the growing system.  Please attend Identifying the Microherd to understand how to identify and qualify the soil organism presence in your products or growing system.
January 9, 2016
Session 2: Identifying the Microherd – Create an on farm lab to monitor efficiency in your soil and in living soil products.
Have you ever wanted to see what soil organisms are in your soil, your compost or that tea your buying?  Using simple microscope methods you will be able to track what life in active and present in your soil now and how/if it’s changing based on the treatments you are putting on the land.    This course will introduce you to the basics of identifying and accounting for beneficial organism presence in soil, composts, extracts and teas.  We will discuss how to sample, when to sample and how to be sure that the organisms are getting onto your land.  Welcome to the underground!  Let’s build some soil! *This course is a continuation of Session 1, it is highly recommended for you to attend session one to gain the most from this course.
Microscope course in Milaca, MN
When: January 11, 2016
Where: 632 2nd Street SE Milaca, MN 56353
Time: 9 A.M.— 4 P.M.
Tuition: $80
Registeration: Contact Florence Dehn 320-983-2154
Please register by January 9, 2016. Course is limited to 15 students. Participants are recommended to have a compound, bright field microscope with a 10X eye piece and 4X, 10X, and 40X lenses as well as appropriate sampling equipment. Equipment list will be sent after registration is complete.