Growing Food

Key insights from reviving soils around the world, with Matt Slaughter

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Though we’ve covered many aspects of soil health on this show in previous episodes, this is an area of scientific and agronomic study which is constantly growing and evolving. It seems that there are a growing number of specialists who are pioneering research in very specific and detailed aspects of soil health which helps to expand our overall picture of the ecosystem under our feet. 

At the same time it’s essential to be able to translate all of this advanced biology, chemistry, and even physics into information that someone from outside of academia can translate into action on the land and a soil care and fertility strategy.

Thanks to another great recommendation and connection from my friend Anja at Soilify, I was put in contact with Matt Slaughter to explore this kind of practical information. For 20 years Matt has been helping farmers around the world understand their soil microbiology and finding ways to help them “bring soil back to life”.

He is the Founder, President and Laboratory Director of Earthfort where he’s primarily focused on customer support through consultation and education, but is also responsible for product research and development. As the creator of Earthforts products, he is constantly striving to help customers understand and use the products to the greatest advantage of the end-users. As a scientist, philosopher, and poet, Matthew is always learning and attempting to integrate natural, holistic processes into agriculture. 

Matt was also an early student of Elaine Ingham and worked with her for years going out to consultations in remote places around the world.

In this interview, Matt starts by sharing some incredible stories from those early days in the field and the key learnings that have stayed with him until this day.
We talk about how he has developed the soil amendments and products that his company is known for and what he’s learned about how they work over years of study. 

We also get into a broader understanding of soil health and function as well as how it can differ across contexts and use cases.
Matt gives his thoughts on many other soil amendment strategies like bio inoculants, different types of compost, biochar and the like as well as what all this research and working with farmers all around the world has taught him about the commonalities and patterns of productive soil and land.

I’ve often been careful not to go too deep and academic into the topic of soil health because of how technical and unapproachable it can be, but Matt does a great job of making all the immense knowledge and experience he has simple and approachable so I know you’ll find valuable insights that you can use to develop your own soil care strategy.

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