Episode-1209- Evan Folds on Composting, BioEnergetics, Hydroponics and More

Evan Folds Founder of ProgressiveGardens.com

Evan Folds Founder of Progressive Gardens

Evan Folds is founder and President of Progressive Gardens, a retail gardening store specializing in organics, BioDynamics, hydroponics, composting, sprouting & much more.

He is also the founder of Progress Earth, global distributor of the Vortex Brewer® system, used to brew living, organic compost tea and to create living, energized water.

Progress Earth’s mission is to change the way food is grown and empower people to become self-sustainable through growing soil and growing their own nourishment. We grow healthy people, plants & planet!

Evan has a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a minor in Religion from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Evan is a contributing writer for reputable international publications, including Maximum Yield, Garden Culture, Urban Farm and many more. He resides with his wife and two children in Wilmington, NC.

Evan Joins me Today to Discuss…

  • What is the significance of vortexing water?
  • What is compost tea, and how & why do you brew it?
  • Who are Viktor Schauberger & Rudolf Steiner?
  • What are GMO’s and how do I avoid them?
  • What is water fluoridation and how do I avoid it?
  • What is the best thing that I can do to become self-sufficient in food production?
  • What is BioEnergetics?
  • What is hydroponics and how do I do it?

Resources for today’s show…

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68 Responses to Episode-1209- Evan Folds on Composting, BioEnergetics, Hydroponics and More

  1. This was an absolutely great podcast.

  2. Awesome show, IMO, EM, and Bokashi are all new and exciting concepts for me, and I can’t wait to implement!

  3. stephen forrest

    Would it be a good idea to pump water from my lake onto the ground in order to add microbs?

    • I doubt it would hurt, that’s for sure. You’re likely to capture some additional microbes for sure, but you’re probably less likely to get as much usable ones as one might think. Mostly because whats in the lake are anaerobic bacteria that lives in water. But Geoff Lawton definitely 100% recommends getting that soil and putting it in any water body you’re trying to establish because it has those anaerobes that you might want for a water ecosystem.

      • Modern Survival

        I am going to say it will work better than you might think. Why, lake water and lake soil are different. While much of the bacteria in the lake bottom will be anerobic, what is in the water itself not so unless the water is very low in O2 to begin with in and of itself. Additionally there are two things at play here, fauna and food for fauna as nutrient. Even the anerobs when they die and they will on dry land will become food for the fauna in the soil.

  4. Woah, Jack. Excellent interview. This guy is sweet and you should bring him back.

  5. Wow! Jack, thanks very much for being willing to push the envelope with new sources of information. This guy rocks. Agree he should come back in future to talk more.

  6. Great show !!

  7. Thanks for the feedback, guys. If you boil down what we do we are a garden/farming consultant. Keep any questions coming. @stephen forrest, many of the microbes found in aquatic environments are relevant to soil health, however, the lake is also representative of the diversity of microbes in your soil. So if you have deficiencies in the soil, then you would have deficiencies in the pond. This is why golf course lakes are so overgrown with algae. Basically, the algae out competes the microbes present for the food source available. In order to ensure you are working with a full deck it is always good to start with a guaranteed biological diversity so you can know you are using ALL microbes. Our compost tea recipe will accomplish this. Once you have inoculated your growing operations with our diversity you can then move forward distributing it with the confidence you have all of the players involved. Hope that helps!

  8. This was an awesome interview! Sounds like you just hit the tip of the iceberg with Evan. I look forward to many more podcasts with him. Maybe he would like to be on the experts panel?
    Thanks Jack for doing what you do for all of us.
    Sincerely the scott r. family

  9. stephen forrest

    Thanks for the info. If you are ever interested in putting on a clinic, I’m in N. Alabama, I have tons of room, Trying to convert this place into a food producer.

  10. I agree, it was a good show Jack. This gets me thinking. Narrowing down shows to a single topic such as composting seems to work out very well. So maybe doing some shows on other individual topics like apple trees and different varieties of them or the pros and cons of acorn trees vs walnut trees. These are just examples but I think this could become something awesome.

  11. Jack: Though we may disagree about this and that I have no reservations in saying that the information you provide via the guest interviews is generally excellent.
    Today’s podcast was an exception.
    Water does not “implode”, “explode”, “come to life” or anything else of the sort when you stir, shake, “vortex” it etc.
    What it may well do is become more “aerated”, which is to say the amount of Oxygen, Nitrogen, and other atmospheric gases dissolved in it increase, but that’s it. No elves, unicorns, or “magic” involved.
    That’s why water that has been stored long term in a non-reactive container tastes different if you pour it back and forth between glasses a few times prior to drinking. It has gone “flat” in storage i.e. the dissolved gasses have come out of solution, and you have replaced them by aerating the water.
    I gave up on the podcast after hearing this part, because it had destroyed any credibility that Mr. Folds might have had.
    I’m basing my opinion on my understanding of the chemistry of water I have as a consequence of being a medical lab technician, but I’d invite you to try and find any peer reviewed science that supports Mr. Folds claims.

    • Maybe you should read the research by Dr. Masaru Emoto he is fact proves water is alive or the work done by Raymond Grace, he was asked by the the Government of France to come and help them with their horrible water problem and just from intention he purified the water in Paris, the proof is in the pudding not opinions.

    • I have to agree with you here John I though this water stuff sounded like faith not science. I had looked into the methods of biodynamic agricultur witch didn’t quite pass the o’l smell test. I further looked into the founder who is mentioned in this podcast often, Rudolf Steiner he used the term “spiritual science” so yeah we are talking about faith basically. I did listen to the rest of the podcast witch I agreed with generally, learned from, and has scientific backing. And I do see the benefits of adding air to water. I am thinking dead zones in the ocean.
      rain and dew is rich in o2 and other gasses also it probably contains a lot of ozone. I could see how this could be Beneficial to plants. I just prefer to leave the faith out of my garden. Thanks to mr. Folds for sharing. Also compost inoculation is a terrific idea.

      • It really has nothing to do with faith, Rudolf Steiner was a spiritualist and belonged to no church. in the late 1800′s there were 2 types of people Darwinist and those who believed in more than Darwin theories AKA life after death, even in his later books Darwin himself couldn’t understand why the scientist of the time made it into fact, look up the Darwin and the Wedgwood family, they decided to prove that superior genes could produce superior progeny, so so they only married with each other, within 2 generations the children were insane or retarded..that’s why there are no famous Darwin’s in modern day…Ohh and this happened after Darwin died.

      • @Jared
        Don’t take anything I’m going to say too personal, or too strongly, reading text by a stranger online somehow morphs context beyond all repair…. I’m just taking a deep dive into the topic of science (the scientific method) as the all knower, and everything else being foolishness.

        “Science.” In my opinion, science falls out of the window and hits its head when it comes to anything related to life. Science, also in my opinion, has clearly become a blinding dogma as the only “explainer of all things” rather than being used as a tool (amongst many) for understanding. Science because of its very inductive nature does not have pure ownership over facts and yet is given the carte blanc authority to trample. Hell, try to argue against it and you’ll get “its not opinion its science!”

        This is one particularly reason why I have gravitated to permaculture. It acknowledges that the boxing up of life, has failed, and continues to fail. (Just examine plant classification, it keeps changing, sometimes radically, again and again as “new techniques” are discovered).

        Science/Biology + Gardening/Farming = Big Ag. By its nature, and particularly zealot like implementation, its reductionist, therefore all individual variables must be explained and defined, and once that has been done, each variable can then be acted upon individually for a response. Spending about 10 minutes considering the ramifications of this regarding a living system should be all that’s necessary to bring questions to mind.

        If anything I definitely see some of the problem in communication, as it has become the defacto to speak as “science sounding” as possible, otherwise you sound like a quack. (Or I guess if you try science sounding, you’ll inevitably sound even more like a quack eh?)

        It would appear that your interpretation of his arguments were that its based on “faith”. By the nature of the comparison, you’re using faith as a derogatory (and coercive I might add) statement as if its incapable of explaining anything, and anyone using should immediately take a step back. Taking a deep dive into epistemological discussions you’ll eventually come across the subject of fideism. Sitting and thinking about it long enough, you may come to the conclusion that faith supercedes human logic as to which is more “justifiable” to use. (this is coming from a person who is undeniably NOT religious, but I had to point out the topic for consideration).

        Summing it up, I think making specific arguments against specific statements might be a better approach than attempting to shut down the man’s statements (and arguments for support) as pure nuttery.

        • I agree with everything you said Mike, I have dated 2 scientists and one of them walked away from her profession because in her words, it was all BS, lies and cooking the books to get research money, she told me strait up that science couldn’t prove a damn thing, but they all act like everything they were doing was written in stone, when in fact it was guess work in a white coat.
          Rudolf Steiner’s work has been proven to work for almost 100 years no tin hat stuff there, yes he was very spiritual and believed if we kept poisoning the soil with chemicals we were doomed, we needed to go back to the old ways of farming where the farmer was one with the land, he didn’t think that, he lived it as a child, the farmers of his youth knew what was wrong with the land because they could feel it, it might sound tin hat today but 150 years ago he saw it and felt it…we have lost that, but I think we are getting some of it back, well some of us anyway

        • I am not clear if you where still talking to me at the end there. I in no way attempted shut down his entire statement. I to find it hard to communicate via text to strangers. I did not mean to use the word Faith as a baseball bat it is clear now that’s how it sounded. As I stated earlier I learned from what mr folds had to say about the other topics Discussed And thanked him.

          Back to the faith issue. I am a man of faith myself. I am not “religious”. Faith can be part of science, Edison had faith he could turn electricity into save lighting. However When you talk more about the “energies” and less about what those energies do or what they are it makes things sound fuzzy. Please see response to jack.

        • @Jarred
          Cheers. I’d say I feel your communication pains.

          Regarding the baseball bat comment, perhaps I should have brought up you clearly didn’t just “outright ignore” him like John did, but like I said i wanted to touch deeper on the “Faith” vs. “Science” issue. The wife and I talked about this after I posted (surprised she didn’t chime in). She’s a scientist herself, and finally listened to the podcast and felt there was nothing at all at issue, but perhaps implosion and explosion might have been inaccurate statements. I’m not sure, I’d have to listen carefully and dial in with a little of my own research to determine the validity of those words.

          I will admit, that it makes me think that specific words at time require specific intentions. However, from the podcast, I can’t feel compelled to believe that he literally meant what he said, as everything else in the entire podcast, was very exact (or at least exact sounding right?)

          I’ll reply to your post to jack here as well, since it flows better. Couldn’t agree more. Funnily enough thats why I said what I said just beneath it about admitting one’s own humility. People idolize the heck out of the giants, and as a result, I think it ends up skewing the discourse onto what works and what does. Ben Falk (as an example) tried all sorts of “tried and true methods” and yet flopped on nearly all of them. Especially when it comes to Sepp Holzer (probably the least understood of them all), duplicated results in these fields is very tricky. Sepp Holzer has been personally and intimately involved in nature for his entire life, and I”m supposed to be able to duplicate anything he does with any kind of accuracy anytime soon? Not likely haha!

          I can definitely understand how certain words really set people off, or trip them up. Its one reason why I feel compelled to fully explain myself to people, but they want the sound bytes (they think they’ll just get it if its not fully explained, even though they’re not really listening anyways, hahaha).

    • @John -
      magic – the power of apparently influencing the course of events by using mysterious or supernatural forces.

      ‘Rational’ (scientific) questions – Does ‘vortexing’ water increase its beneficial effects to living organisms that live in, pass thru, or ingest said water? [test and report, quick and easy]

      By what mechanism or mechanisms does it produce these beneficial effects? [may take years of study to even approach an understanding of 'why'.. may NEVER be understood]

      Now someone noting an effect, of a process that is not ‘scientifically’ understood (subjected to extensive reductionist study), might attribute the CAUSE of the effect to god(s), ethers, magnetism, quantam phenomenon, fairies or angels.. but doing so in no way invalidates the FACT of the phenomenon.

      So the real (and only) question is.. does it work? :-)

      (The ‘how’ only matters if you’re trying to find a DIFFERENT more efficient way of achieving the same beneficial effect.)

    • I have never commented on an episode before. As I was listening to this one I had to make sure that someone said exactly this.

      There is no vibration. There is no wetter water. If you change the molecular structure (one oxygen bound two two hydrogen) of water (H2O) it stops being water. These were all pseudoscience things that came up.

      I know Jack doesn’t like to challenge his guests and he may not have known enough to do so in this case. But there was a great deal of of woo spouted by the guest in a very short time frame.

      He also made a claim that combustion is only 10% efficient.
      He is off be at least 100%.
      To quote wikipedia: “Even when aided with turbochargers and stock efficiency aids, most engines retain an average efficiency of about 18%-20%.[9] Rocket engine efficiencies are much better, up to 70%, because they operate at very high temperatures and pressures and can have very high expansion ratios.[10] (Electric motors are better still, at around 85-90% efficiency or more.)” — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internal_combustion_engine#Engine_Efficiency

      • Modern Survival

        Do I buy into all that energetic types claim, NO, do I buy into any of it yea quite a bit.

        There is no vibration? Wow, anyone claiming that knows NOTHING of phyical science and quantum mechanics.

        • Just to clarify, in regards to combustion I was referring to usable energy transfer. Fire is hot, meaning most of the energy transfer is not usable, but heat. It is explosion, as opposed to implosion. Explosion uses temperature and pressure to work mechanically whereas implosion is cool and rather than pushing, compels the water or air to move in a natural rhythm. Read the work of Viktor Schauberger in the book called “Living Energies”.

          For the record, Wikipedia is as subjective as an opinion. I will admit to not be able to “prove” much of what was discussed outside of my personal research and experience, btu that’s the point. If we only know what we are taught we will never know a thing. I am very careful not to approach the subject definitively, which is what you are doing. That is a very dangerous posture, for yourself and for the world!

          I am interested in helping people stretch their thought in order to experience new ideas. Experience is all the proof one needs. Lighten up and open your mind, you may be surprised what you might find. Peace

        • Quantum mechanics isn’t even really happening on the scale of whole molecules so doesn’t apply to their claims.
          Vibration does happen. Brownian motion covers that very well. But that isn’t the same as what they are talking about. That a water molecule vibrates at a different frequency than say a carbon dioxide molecule. This is the kind of claim used by homeopaths. But there is this persistent myth without any evidence that this vibration can be used to identify molecules or that this vibration interacts with and has any effect on other molecules. Their electromagnetic fields insure that they don’t.
          This claim is easy enough to test. What are the frequencies of some of the more common atoms? Because of the second law of thermodynamics in order to transfer any of any kind must loose some of its own vibration or take some on. What is the rate of loss/gain? Does the loss or gain of vibration energy change the structure of the molecule? (ie will the hydrogen atoms be at an angle other than 104.45?)
          If one is measuring the frequency what is the frequency of healthy vs dead water? If someone sells me some “wetter water” and I have access to the best labs what test can I do to insure that I was sold what I bought?

          The basic claim is flawed and has no support in physics or chemistry. It is up to the people making the claims to provide proof of them.

  12. There is another book I would add to the the mix, The Secret Life of Plants by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird, when I submitted my application for your internship one of the questions was, what book would you recommend for me to read and I submitted, Agriculture by Rudolf Steiner and the reason I recommended that book because in my opinion he is more important than Tesla for the survival of our species and both of those geniuses were almost erased from history.
    Without getting to spiritual, I spent some time down in Peru with the Shipibo people and they opened my eyes to so much, they taught me how EVERYTHING is alive and we are all one! There is no beginning and no end!
    We are apart of the Earth, not owners of it, the Earth is one gigantic organism and we are only one small part of it and some say the cancer of it.
    And no if you have ever read any of my post you know I’m not a hippy! LOL. although I have been called much worse LOL!

  13. Also wanted to say thanks to jack for letting this guy on even though some of the info was a little “tin hat” sounding. I think it’s important to let People see through that stuff on there own and not clip out every last thing that makes you uncomfortable. That’s why I like that jack won’t debate the guests to much. Like he said yesterday about the silver company if you don’t like it don’t listen.

    • Modern Survival

      What sounded tin hat to you? If it was fluoride, I can assure you everything you heard is 100% accurate and I have researched it very deeply.

      If it was the components of “energetic systems” yes this is where things get gray. Frankly cosmology and string theory and things of that nature are what I read and study about for fun, seriously yea fun. I am also a quite spiritual deist and have investigated things from that angle as well as to how energy fields work and interact.

      My conclusions

      1. All matter is energy and all energy is matter, the two are not separate in reality only perception of reality

      2. All things have an energy field that binds them and exceeds their apparent phyical boundaries. These fields can and do interact with other fields.

      3. Once two energies bond even if said bond is broken the connection remains and defies the limitations of time and space, this has actually been proven in sub atomic testing at places like CERN.

      4. Given the above proper use of energy in the cultivation of everything from plants to human beings will give greater results than ignoring it. Summed up with this quote, “The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.” ? Masanobu Fukuoka

      5. While I feel everything above is true and most can in fact be proven by observation and mathematics, anyone claiming to know exactly how it works or exactly what the results will be is full of shit.

      The living water concept though isn’t something unheard of by the greats in agriculture and permaculture. Sepp Holzer says exactly the same thing about the water on his farm, he just explains it from a different angle.

      His basic premise is the water there is “special” because it is moved in ways that “bring life to it”. He doesn’t really try to explain why it works or how it works, just that it works and the same methods with water that hasn’t been energized simply won’t work as well, they will work just not to the level at his farm.

      • I loved the discussion on fluoride it was my favorite part of the whole podcasts. After such a grounded discussion on the topic I don’t see how anybody could disagree with the unwilling medication of the population. Which, yes is against the Nuremberg Agreement.

        It was the water and energy stuff that sounded out there. Geoff Lawton, Bill Mollison, Paul Wheaton, sepp holtzer, and you All have one thing in common that is Legitimacy in What you are saying due to the foundational support for you methods and proven scientifically verifiable results and much Trial and error. I don’t think that the water and energy stuff is Completely Bogus (To be clear when I said Faith in my response to John I was not talking about Any specific organized religion) I just find that many followers of Steiner and Different “biodynamic methods” Derived from his work. Don’t really know why they are doing what they’re doing They just seem to think That there are some unexplainable “spiritual energies” at play in the soil and water (I am not referring to Mr. folds In particular). I just see the potential with this type of thought For people to lose their grounding. I did read the greater part of the Wikipedia page for Mr. Steiner He was a very interesting in fascinating guy but it seems to me That some of his work could be classified as pseudoscience. Again I’m not discounting him entirely That was 100 years ago and I think there’s more work to be done in the area of water. I just think that whenever somebody is idolized to such a degree Their work becomes somehow infallible And that can be a dangerous place. (I did laugh out loud when Mr. folds compared him to Jesus) That does exemplify my point a little bit Any great scientist Has had mistakes and has been proven wrong from time to time Just like Mr. fold said All the laws of science break down at the speed of light. Thank you for having civil discussion with me on this topic enjoy your day. And thank you for taking the time to reply

    • @Jack
      I like how in a discussion on Tin Hattery you bring up String Theory.
      That just makes me laugh. Maybe String Theory could be considered the acelles heel, or perhaps the “red headed step son” of science (to those who hold too strongly to their convictions).

      I thought the remaining of your post was great. Particularly this statement: “anyone claiming to know exactly how it works or exactly what the results will be is full of shit.” The greats that so many people look up to, (such as Sepp) appear to not have all the answers! Bill Mollison, the more he goes the more that he realizes he doesn’t know!

      This much is obvious in the Biology realm in particular. My wife gets so ruffled up over this topic, but eventually has conceded that “well… we just don’t know.” “AHHHHH…. .thats all I wanted, an act of humility!”

      I think in our hour of humility, we might have an opportunity to learn. (Discover and accept that we don’t know, and perhaps we’ll have the incentive to learn).

  14. Math and Science are our language for ATTEMPTING to describe reality.

    I’ve been collecting small bits of soil when in healthy areas and putting it my worm bin. Figuring that each time I add a more diversity to the biology. I now need to make some tea in a 5 gallon bucket and see the results.

    Thanks for this show.

  15. A really interesting podcast but the first article I ran across when I went to find out more about biodynamic farming was..burning of weeds. Now I understand that nature burns things sometimes through lightning strikes and so forth but I thought we had got beyond that in our understanding of just what burning does (aside from adding masses of carbon to the air) to the soil and life therein.

    We’ve already stripped so much life off the face of the earth we don’t need to copy that particular natural event.

    Mollison points out that it takes something like a tiny part of a second to give weed seeds the light they need to sprout, so cultivating is actually encouraging weeds to sprout and grow, which then you need to “do something” about. Then there is also the organic matter..not only that you are NOT adding to the soil but that you are actually destroying through fire.

    Discussions of the timing notwithstanding I think that we should have gone way past the burning of things in the garden as a general practice.

    There may well be parts of the biodynamic system that have interesting and useful things to say but they certainly didn’t spring to the front when I looked it up.

  16. Another thing about adding air to water.. look up trompes. For those who have the luck to be able to have their water “fall” it can not only provide you with compressed air energy but also purified water. I’m not sure how far it has to fall to be useful, it’s difficult to get exact figures as I am not an engineer.

    There used to be a mine in Canada that worked for years with the trompe providing all the energy needed, but it finally got shut down, although much of the system is still in place. At the time, people said it couldn’t (wouldn’t) work but it worked extremely well. No fossil fuels at all, no pollution, just water falling through air which was passively added by pipes. Oh yes, and the air quality in the mine was actually much much better than is normally the case as well.

    People don’t like technology to be simple, it’s too hard to make money on simple technology.

  17. In the beginning of the interview when Even mentioned Gerald Pollack I almost flipped. Pollack is among a few researchers who have a very interesting take on water and life. Rupert Sheldrake is another. I noticed in the commentary above that some folks were being rather close minded when it came to the discussions saying it sounded like faith not science. I’m not surprised by this at all. Jack states in ex. number 2 that energy fields interact with each other. They absolutely do. In some arenas this is called “resonance” and it’s nearly instantaneous communication, billions of times the speed of light. These conversations can seem like witchcraft or faith because we don’t have the entire picture yet. Imagine taking a cell phone into the year 1209, it would seem like sorcery to the people of that age. If you enjoy Pollack you’ll probably enjoy Sheldrake, who had his TED talk taken down by the powers that be and them calling it “pseudo” science. He’s got a book called “Dogs That Know When Their Owners are Coming Home”, just for starters.

    http://www.thunderbolts.info/wp/2013/08/17/gerald-pollack-the-fourth-phase-of-water/

    http://www.thunderbolts.info/wp/2013/01/24/rupert-sheldrake-science-set-free-part-1/

    • Modern Survival

      @Les, you stated,

      “Dogs That Know When Their Owners are Coming Home”

      I can tell you this is fact, it does happen. My husky Lakota and I had a special bond, something really hard to explain. I have loved every dog I have owned and the two I have now. Max is without question a dog I have a special bond with and the best dog I have owned, might be the best I ever will.

      When I say best I mean obedient, loyal, trustworthy, does no harm to property or livestock, never ran away once, will hold and not break even when deer are running in front of him. Gentle to all welcome strangers, will let a kid take a bone from his mouth and not even growl. An unbelievable dog, but the bond isn’t like it was with Lakota.

      Lakota was a great dog but not a good dog, he was not obedient, he ran away often, he would ignore commands, etc. But our bond was special. At the time I traveled about 40 weeks out of the year, I came home different days and times all the time.

      My wife told me, EVERY TIME, about 30 minutes before I got home, whether I called her or not, whether she knew or not, he would get up, look out the window and go sleep by the door. He would not move from that door until I got home. People can say that isn’t scientific, fine, but they can never say it didn’t happen.

      Here is myself and that dog when we were both a lot younger, I still miss him. I guess I am about 29 in this photo, http://on.fb.me/157kb4K

      Yes he knew when I was coming home, I don’t pretend to know how, I just claim to know that. Many things in life work that way.

      • WHO IS THAT GUY!?
        Thanks for sharing the picture. Analysis of dogs (our closest none human counterparts) is always an interesting topic and feels like its possible to one step closer get into the mind of a very different animal. I think thats part of the reason why people obsess and align themselves so much with dogs. Powerful stuff.

    • Jack,
      Thanks for the Lakota story. When I was a kid, I heard my friend’s dad say that their dog always knew when his mom was almost home. It always baffled him. Other topics Sheldrake goes into detail on are, knowing when someone is staring at you even when your back is turned, knowing who’s calling before answering the phone and many more. I have had too many premonitions or whatever you want to call it to write this kind of research off as hocus pocus. There is an interconnectedness between all living things. As Evan says, not all of these things will meet the biological definition of “life”, like water. It’s just hubris when people write it off as mumbo jumbo. I think there are people who’s antennas are literally broken and will never tune into the powerful undercurrent that runs through nature, but for those who do it is truly liberating.

  18. Quite a dedicated and educated bunch, what a pleasure to connect with you guys. It’s so great to see the conversation of differing opinions. The forum Jack has created has obviously attracted people that are serious about doing right and doing good.

    In my opinion the first thing that we should know is that we don’t. In fact, that is much of what I was trying to get across in the discussion today…we know very little about the soil food web, no matter how closely we look at water we cannot understand its abilities and anomalies. In fact, the closer we look the less we know. Call it faith.

    All witchraft and woo woo aside, I’m proposing that there is more to life than what is physically here. Are we not more than the sum of our parts? Does energy, or life force, not define life?

    And that living systems are not designed to be innately sick – weeds, pests and disease are doing what they are supposed to be doing. When the system is deficient it gets sick, pretty simple.

    There is a limitation of language regarding these concepts that is challenging to overcome. When you say that water is alive people mistake it for meaning biological. But does water not define whether life can be present? Homeopathic concepts illustrate the vibrational retentional ability of water. It communicates vibrations in and between life. BioDynamics is homeopathic farming.

    It is possible to document qualitative aspects of plants grown using these concepts, but not in a way that can be replicated to fit within the scientific method. Nature doesn’t work in straight lines and data points, but chaos and spirals. So by design we have a system that tells u what is true about Nature that is counter intuitive to how she works.

    I believe and have experienced the results of energized water, BioDynamic preps effecting an acre of land with a tablespoon of physical material, seeing crops jump 4″ over night with foliar spray of Earth Tonic. But I didn’t believe any of it either before I tested it for myself.

    The point is that if you apply the static scientific method to a dynamic reality you are always going to end up using the “science” to undermine the value of the wholistic system and telling yourself you are right.

    We’re better than that. And to the idea that the important question is “does it work?” Touche. For what it is worth, I can say that I would not be doing what I do if it didn’t. Watch this video of excited customers who have used our recipe: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fNWyTqUUN0

    I look forward to future conversations!

    • Thanks for coming back and sharing your further thoughts.
      Until probably about 2 or 3 years ago, I wouldn’t have appreciated any of those statements. Today, I’d say I have a totally different opinion.

      I have always gravitated towards philosophy and especially after being steeped in epistemology I feel I have at least some anchorings, to realize, just how little we know, can describe, or put into words. In fact, one could argue that life would be quite drab to a thinking being if everything was so easily discovered and boxable.

      In Geoff Lawton’s PDC he specific mentions your point regarding static science to dynamic reality. Unlike every other science topic, life reacts to stimuli. How it reacts is not necessarily guaranteed because all elements of that which is being studied is living (and can react). Also the PDC has made much more aware of energy, as it is embodied in literally everything, and I’m starting to think that life is the pinnacle (at least that we know of) of energy. Energy that is more or less, unpredictable, infinitely reactive, and more importantly PRO-active.

  19. Echoing the great interview theme!!

    I heard Evan do another interview a short while ago and thought he was brilliant..you know how there are those guests or concepts that just “click” well that’s what he did with me! On the other interview Evan was talking about nutrient dense food and referred to Miracle Grow as “Fast Food for plants” as it only gives them a few of the many needed elements which besides being true I thought was hilarious and a great way to get across the point of real sustainable alive healthy soil vs. just pepping up the plant to make it look good.

    I’m glad you got a chance to talk with him in your own way and draw out some interesting ideas the fluoride chat was an unexpected eye opener for me with the pharmaceutical vs. the grade that goes into the water, talk about craziness!

    I’ve already talked to the guys at Progress Earth about using a Vortex system along with compost tea to revitalize some dead pasture and it seems promising.

  20. Hey Evan,
    Great interview. Nice to see someone as knowledgeable as you on TSP representing Wilmington, NC because that’s where I live and I’ve meet you at the store before. I would like to connect about our fluoride issues here and talk about getting some permaculture going here locally. I’ll find a way to email you so we can connect.
    Cheers, Joe

  21. I unfortunately live with city water. I want to sheet mulch an area for planting some bushes in the spring. Everything I read says to water each layer as you go. Would it be best to try to do this while its raining rather than spraying city water that contains fluoride and chlorine on the layers? Or won’t that matter when it will sit over a zone 6 winter?

  22. Jack,
    Just wanted to say, IMO this was one of your best podcasts. A lot of great information presented, Evan was a great guest. Keep up the good work.

  23. Evan is evidently a really knowledgeable guy so full kudos for all the research and application done that gives you the knowledge.
    I researched energized water, having not heard of it, and find it hard to see the difference that the vortex would actually make over a regular aerated compost tea (ACT). Especially if you use worm casts in the brew, you will get the effects shown due to the microbial activity. In fact the vortex junior (I think it’s called) product that Evan sells is a simple ACT setup that anyone can make for almost nothing which claims to do the same as the Vortex Brewer.

    Elaine Ingham explains that what’s required for ACT is microbially active compost, food (typically molasses) and any mineral supplements eg powdered seaweed or other dynamic accumulators. Maybe his products are amazingly more awesome than that but in implying that nothing else will work seems to me to be misleading. I also find it too overtly commercial in nature and unkeeping with the style of the show. Of course the guy deserves to earn money – that’s not my point.

    I guess what I reacted to was the strong impression that Evan gave about soils not being good enough without his brand of additives applied once a month because only his soils have been used for thousands of years (or words to that effect). Only his brand can give you the correct soil microbial make up. (Paul Stamets would probably take Evan up on the almost dismissive inclusion of the role of fungi).

    That said, I look forward to hearing more from Evan as good soil is the basis of all that is good in the world.
    And maybe his products can be presented next time in the light of their advantages over the $10 back yard approach. Or even “how to create pale imitations of my products for $10. Of course they won’t be quite as awesome…”?

    • Hi, David. Not sure where to start with this one as I think you have taken some liberty in characterizing what we discussed in the wrong light so I wanted to provide some feedback to your comments.

      In order to have a nuanced discussion about water we have to begin with an understanding that we are not equipped to fully experience the qualitative differences we are discussing with our general abilities of observation. Water is more complicated than we can measure. In fact, we have never even seen a water molecule so its no surprise that looking up “energized water” gets you no where for the reasons above, and because there is no baseline for what it should be in the first place. The legitimacy of the concept is proven through experience not lab testing.

      However, there are ways to illustrate how vortexing changes water. One, it measureably reduces the surface tension, it makes water wetter. Research “aquaporins” and their role as the gatekeepers for cells. The discovery received the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2003. Cells are the basis of life, so making solutions more available to cells make them more effective and means that you have to use less to get more. Water wants to move in a vortex, which is why a river meanders or spirals through a drain. In the Vortex Brewer we don’t make a vortex, we allow it.

      You can also do this through dissolved oxygen (DO). If you have stagnant water it will be around 5 ppm DO. If you use the same air pump to vortex a solution and also separately to aerate a passive bucket with the same volume of water using air stones you will see the vortexed water go beyond 8 ppm and the passive bucket stay below 8. So vortexing accomplishes higher DO, but what is really important in regards to DO and often not discussed is not necessarily how much DO you push in, but the ability of the water to retain it and make it available. If you remove the air stone from the passive bucket the DO goes from 5 ppm to start up to 7 ppm and will often drop below the 5 ppm it started at when removing the air stones. So when you vortex the solution it starts at 5 ppm then goes up to beyond 8 ppm and when you stop the aeration flat lines around 6 ppm. The take away is that the water structure changed and is more able to retain DO. The Vortex Brewer uses no air stones. Air stones work to create more surface area in a passive approach, but with the Vortex Brewer their is constant surface area being sucked in and supersaturating the solution perpetually. You don’t have to aerate a river.

      To your point on worm castings, they are great to make compost tea out of, but they are biologically limited. The worm is a soil organism so its manure is immediately relevant to plants, but the worm retains primarily bacteria in its gut. Castings have around 1/4th of the fungal diversity, no protozoa and no nematodes, unlike balanced humus which should contain the entire soil food web. Doesn’t make worm castings bad, but it is better best.

      The Vortex Brewer Junior is not a simple ACT brewer or a commercial unit, but does accomplish implosion which is all that is needed to activate and energize water. We have Compost Tea in a Bucket for people who just want to brew passively. Again, nothing wrong with that, but you are not working proactively with waters abilities.

      And you can make compost tea with back yard compost and a bottle of molasses, but if your compost is not inoculated with diverse biology and you are only using 1 food source, the solution is limited to its potential. That is the point of our system. The justification for our products is in the diverse biology and the multiple food sources. Earth Syrup contains 13 different ingredients, for example. The more diversity you have the stronger the system. Compost is not compost. And compost tea is not just compost tea…depends on what you make it with just like anything else.

      I should also say that you can implode water by stirring it on your own. Imagine stirring a bucket with your arm in one direction, it makes an explosive vortex hugging the edges of the container. It is not until you reverse the flow that you create the moment of implosion. So if you stir the bucket back and forth over at least a 20 minute and ideally an hours time, you can work to do what the Vortex Brewer is doing.

      I am not going to apologize for telling people about the products we formulate, but the last thing we are about is trying to communicate that people cannot do these things themselves, what we offer is simply tools to make this more convenient and happen faster. The reason monthly applications are advisable is because if you only spray it once you will not have the patience to wait for it to work. Watch this clip of Bob Cannard describe nutrient cycling, he sprays microbes every time he waters, whether they are needed or not: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-AJL0P0OMrE

      There are plenty of ways to do these things yourself. The practice described above of collecting biological samples from as many places as possible to inoculate your soil is a fantastic practice. And its FREE. But for those that don’t have a forest available and want the convenience of knowing they are working with a full potential of microbes, minerals and energies…that is what we do.

  24. Jack, do you have a link to that news story you mentioned where the water plant worker called the news?

  25. I can not remain silent any longer about gold fish in ponds. Our experience was a total nightmare. We have a 3200 gallon pond. We put in 4 feeder fish (minnow/gold fish) because research told us they were slow breeders, slow growers, wouldn’t bother plants. Lies, all lies.
    After 2 years we had a long hard freeze and lost hundreds of small fish. Please note the number. They were the ones that decided to hibernate at the surface instead of at the bottom. We were still ignorant of what lay ahead.
    We put plants in pots (lettuce, spinach, chard, fancy leaf veg) to extend the growing seasons in the spring and autumn. We had beautiful roots extending into the pond. Awesome.
    The next year failure. Zero plant growth, zero roots. We also noticed that the fish had gotten a bit large and the pond filter wasn’t able to keep up with waste product.
    Long horror movie stories later we had to drain the pond, got 66 fish out, many were over 4 pounds, with the small ones being 1 pound. We had already trapped out a bunch of fish and given them to other ignorant pond owners (we were still ignorant and didn’t know the evil we were spreading).
    We never saw the huge fish because they stayed at the bottom, we thought we had 20 fish at most.
    We researched recipes, but apparently they aren’t fish people voluntarily eat.
    We also discovered 3 aquatic salamanders (14 inches) who may have helped eat the zillion of babies. We put them back in the pond. Before we removed the fish I made floating net cages to put the native tadpoles in so the fish wouldn’t eat them (one large fish managed to leap into the cage and ate the tadpoles and had to be rescued the next morning).
    We live in the north and maybe you plan on putting a prime edible fish specie in the pond that will eat the gold fish. This can not happen too soon. The horror. The horror. Now we have salamanders and frogs and all the pond plants have returned. But further veg plants have not thrived due to lack of fish waste.

  26. Here is a great video about Peter Proctor. A person who also teaches people about Biodynamic farming.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vErQWRIV4Fw

    Jack it would also be good to have other people on the show that know about the subject. Say…someone from the Josephine Porter Institute. http://www.jpibiodynamics.org/ this is their website where you can also buy the Biodynamic preps which are so important to the practice. I have spread 500 Horn Manure which I potentized myself with only a 5 gallon bucket, creating the Vortex by hand stirring. You don’t need a $1000 machine to do this.

    • Modern Survival

      @Jessie, if you think someone would be a good guest send them this link and ask them to apply, http://www.thesurvivalpodcast.com/guest-submission

      Secondly, I think you sound a bit unfair with this statement,

      “I have spread 500 Horn Manure which I potentized myself with only a 5 gallon bucket, creating the Vortex by hand stirring. You don’t need a $1000 machine to do this.”

      May be you didn’t mean to but this seems to imply that Evan is misleading people or ripping them off. Couple things at play there, first Evan said you can do it by stirring in a bucket on the air, he also says that on his site where they sell a 5 gallon bucket system pretty cheap. Frankly in the interview if you listen to it I told him when he said you can do it by stirring, “I’m glad you said that because if you didn’t I would have likely called bullshit on you and ended the interview”.

      Next the Vortex Jr. which does the same thing the big machines do in smaller quantity is no where near a grand, so even if you want a machine you don’t have to spend a grand.

      So perhaps you didn’t listen yet or did I just not understand your point.

    • @Jack, on your first comment about sending a guest link, I think I did send a couple of people the guest link about a year or so ago.

      One was to Rob Bowers of Witted Bowers Farm. I first heard of Rob when he spoke at Professor Will Hooker’s Permaculture Class at NC State.

      http://mediasite.online.ncsu.edu/online/Play/f5fa936b304a4a18affb27cd367f01711d?catalog=f5a893e7-4b7c-4b79-80fd-52dcd1ced715

      This is a really really good crash course on Biodynamic Agriculture for those who are interested in the subject.

      Another one was Hugh Courtney at the Josephine Porter Institute, mentioned by Rob in his lecture.

      On your comment about being unfair to Evan, I had not heard the podcast yet. But deduced what the subject of the podcast was about by the Title and his website and seeing his Vortex machines. I just want the listeners to know that if you want to practice Biodynamics and stir preps, you don’t need to buy a machine. If you own a small property, a 5 gallon bucket will work just fine.

      I felt the podcast was a fail though in respect to Biodynamic Agriculture. Evan never talks about the preps or how to make the preps. Although he mentions the word Biodynamic and Rudolph Steiner often in the podcast. Also the podcast was derailed when you talked about fluoride. I don’t know that people understand what Biodynamics is from the podcast. Just my opinion.

      “Biodynamics cannot be grasped by intellects that are conditioned by an education that currently is so focused on the material world” – Hugh Courtney

      • Modern Survival

        @jessie, I don’t want to sound like a dick but basically your response is yea I ran my mouth before I even listened, still haven’t listened but the podcast is a fail.

        No brother, you have failed on many levels, try listening in before responding agian and making a further ass of yourself. It seems like eventually you listened but even the second time around you did not hear.

        • @Jack, I’m trying to understand you, as a paying customer, I can’t have an opinion? I’m an ass for having an opinion? Just trying to get it clear…

        • Modern Survival

          Let me explain it to you, you certainly have a right to an opinion, paying customer or not. In fact paying doesn’t give you any more right to your opinion then anyone else here.

          That said, you have a RIGHT to your OPINION, you HAVE NO RIGHT to not have that opinion responded to or challenged. Again you stated things that clearly showed you didn’t listen or didn’t hear. Your assertions were UNFAIR to the guest because they implied claims that were never made. Either you can admit that or you can’t. Yet don’t think you have a right to be BOTH inaccurate and unfair in your opinion and not be told so.

    • Wow guy, I cannot even fathom the ignorance of the statements you just made. Incorrect facts, not being informed of the content you are criticizing, and even then asserting you holier-than-thou attitude upon the guest and Jack. Furthermore, you decided to not only push someone (who may or may not be brilliant) up some one who you clearly show that you trust. To the point that the person is having to call you and the subject out and defend his guest. The fact that you would chastise a guest of TSP like that clearly shows where your heart is. I’m sorry brother, but what you have said and done here is not right, not cool, and most of all untrustworthy. I am here to gain friends, knowledge, and share the hope of the future for all involved. It is disheartening to see someone like you trying to tear someone else down because of misinformation and ignorance. We are all in this together. If you want to pick a fight and show your ignorance, I’m sure that the Real Housewives of New Jersey are looking for new people. I love damn near everyone on the forum and listening to the show. I love the whole community here, and let’s keep it amazing and epic. Let’s keep it always legendary!!

  27. Chris Harrison

    I finished listening to this interview this morning on the way to work, and all I can say is WOW! This has to be one of the best interviews I’ve ever heard on TSP. And I’ve been a regular listener since the middle of 2010. I’m going to probably have to listen to this one at least another 2-3 times to get everything out of it. Thanks so much Jack for having Evan on, and Evan — thanks so much for sharing your knowledge with all of us. I’m already looking forward to the next time you’re on!

    One thing that struck me in the comments — and it was quite predictable — was the backlash against his views for succumbing to a belief in “magic” over “science”. I’ve read a good bit about this over the past year or so, mainly in the writings of John Michael Greer at The Archdruid Report. I put quotes around “science” here for a reason — because the views expressed by those who lashed out against Mr. Folds are not science, which is really a method for trying to understand the world. What they are is sciencism, a belief system more similar to a religion than a method for observing different phenomena.

    To those who embrace this world view, anything that cannot be effectively quantified is discounted. If something cannot be definitively proven, then it is considered false. But absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Just because Rudolf Steiner’s biodynamic agriculture does not fit into control experiments does not mean that it is not effective, nor real. After all, when we are talking about complex ecosystems, how in the world can we break things down into control studies — when we probably only even understand a fraction of the many complex interactions that are going on between the different parts?

    Even Masanobu Fukuoka could not explain WHY his natural farming methods were so effective. He only knew that they were. Perhaps it is beneficial to take this kind of humble attitude in dealing with the natural world. Dismissing such things out of hand reeks of arrogance — the same kind of arrogance that has led us to pollute and destroy the natural world in an effort to “control” it, and adopt the mistaken belief that if we can only quantify things then we can control them. There are many things in this world that we can neither quantify nor control.

    • lisapaintergirl

      YES! Your statement is so right on!
      “Views expressed by those who lashed out against Mr. Folds are not science, which is really a method for trying to understand the world. What they are is sciencism, a belief system more similar to a religion than a method for observing different phenomena.”

      I know many people like this. If they can’t measure it or weigh it, then it must not exist or be true. Like all reality is dependent upon our observation of it. If a tree falls in a forest, YES it does make a sound, whether a person is there to observe it or not! Very egocentric, IMO- nothing can exist if my own comprehension isn’t big enough to contain it.

      Loved the Podcast!

  28. This is the first show out of about 800-900 shows that I have made it through in which I have immediately started over and listened to again.

    Wonderful show. I was taking notes and writing shit down like I was in science class! Very interesting topics and I can tell the surfaces to them were only scratched.
    Evan seems to be incredibly intelligent and down to earth at the same time. Very interested in hearing more from him in the future.

  29. Thank you Jack for this wonderful show. I plan to contact Evan and get some of the Innocent he recommended. Coincidentally, I just have been learning about a company which installs vortex systems on farmers’ irrigation equipment, among other places. The results were phenomenal. There are some amazing videos, explaining how the vortexed water produces results. Videos and info of the company can be found here: goo.gl/nT7sR5 (shortened URL).

  30. At one point you guys talked about drinking water, and how it can be ‘dead’ and ‘flat’ and I thought there was a product that Evan mentioned having in his store but I was unable to find anything online. Am I just missing it?
    I often have struggled to stay hydrated while working outside in the summer, even while drinking 2 quarts an hour or more. I’m interested in trying the stuff he mentioned.

    • Brad, the item I mentioned is called a Stirward. Their website is http://www.stirwandsdirect.com. I sold them for many years when we had a wellness division of Progress Earth, but have lost touch with the company so not sure if they are still active. I can vouch for the product, works very well. You could also try and put a piece of quartz or other crystal that you resonate with in your water when you drink it. The vibration of the material is what affects the water. You could arguably do this with your intention, which is illustrated by the work of Dr. Masaru Emoto. Hope this helps..

  31. Wow, I didn’t think anyone else knew about Victor Schauberger. Colins’ book about his work was amazing. Like Tesla, He was way ahead of his time. Great Show!!!

  32. Great discussion for the show. I have been looking into IMO myself, but have yet to go through the process of making IMO. If you have surrounding woods, there is a good chance that you can find healthy microbes in the soil to use and introduce into your garden. Look around old growth trees under leaves in the soil for the web looking material. It is fascinating to learn about. Do a search on youtube for some who have been researching and the IMO process.

  33. This was an Awesome podcast!

  34. Is there a way to get flouride out of your water in home. I’m on grid water, my only option right now, and was wondering what the best option is for a home. Also, is the risk only in drinking water, or should I worry about showering and washing hands etc. I could probably google it , but I’m sure there’s a lot of bs out there.

    • The best way to get fluoride out of water is reverse osmosis (RO) in my opinion. A 100 gallon per day set up will cost somewhere around $200-250. Annual costs depend on how much water you use for filters, but somewhere between $20-50. There are other methods like distillation, bone char filters and ceramics, but don’t have any personal experience with them. Hope that helps..

  35. What is a “silo cup?” He mentions it in the interview and a Google search comes up empty.