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Wild Soil™ Farming – Distinct and Superior To Organic™

Wild Soil™ farming uses proprietary cultural methods to improve soil and recreate the taste of ancient farm products.  The extraordinary flavor and aroma of our almonds reflect the care given to our trees.  Healthy trees produce tasty nuts and happy consumers. 

Wild Soil™ is a form of restored virgin soil.  Virgin soil allows plants to achieve their full potential by supplying mineral nutrients and water.  In addition, good soil contains a diversity of microorganisms that trigger disease resistance in the plant by stimulating its immune system (1) and suppress the growth of plant pathogens in the soil (2, 3, 4).  This combination of a vibrant plant and fewer pathogens reduces the need for pesticides.  

Conventional farming produces big plants, which are maintained with continuing supplies of chemical fertilizer and pesticides.  There are over 1,000 pesticides presently used on California almond farms and in 2014 more than 25 million pounds of pesticides were applied (5).  The list is so long, almost interminable, that the chemicals are typically divided into three classes, going from the most dangerous in Class 1 to the least dangerous, but still toxic and highly regulated, in Class 3 (6).   

Organic farming claims to use fewer chemicals to produce plants with fruits and nuts, but OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute), the organization that determines which input products are allowed for use in organic production under the USDA National Organic Program, still permits organic growers to use 23 Class 1 chemicals for growing almonds (7) (Table 1). Class 1 pesticides are all extremely toxic to humans and must carry the warning “DANGER” on their label.  Many of these are restricted use chemicals.  They can be used only by well-trained, licensed professionals, who must wear special protective gear in some cases (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Personal protective equipment required for use with some Class 1 pesticides

 

Wild Soil™ farming is an informed version of organic management.  We grow plants that are so vibrantly healthy, we do not need to use any Class 1 pesticides.  In the case of almonds, to protect consumers further, we pasteurize our nuts with steam, not the propylene oxide (PPO) used by many suppliers.  We find that steam protects the natural nut taste and life within the nut.

Figure 1. Personal protective equipment
required for use with some Class 1 pesticides. 

Our Wild Soil™ vibrancy model for growing plants depends on restoring virgin soil.  Virgin soils depend primarily on huge quantities of organic matter, which are sustained by large, healthy roots.  American Indians recognized these facts when they fired fields to maintain rich, productive grassland soils (8).  Conventional methods “farm out” fields by reducing organic matter 25% in as little as 50 years (9).  Wild Soil™ almond trees grow in newly virgin soil which was restored in part by supplying proprietary, OMRI-certified compost at a rate of 10 tons/acre for over 10 years.  We use our own proprietary methods for monitoring microbial diversity and rejecting any compost or other inputs that do not meet Wild Soil™ standards.  After plants are established in the Wild Soil™ system, soil organic matter is sustained by the flux of carbon we monitor from the naturally large root systems.

The large amount of organic matter present in virgin and Wild Soil™ fields has important benefits.  First, it holds more water for a longer time than soils containing less organic matter.  More water means more soil life, not to mention conserving one of our most precious natural resources.  Thus, the second benefit is a healthier soil food web of microorganisms and small, largely invertebrate animals that cycle mineral nutrients between the soil organic matter and the plants.  This large population of happy microbes suppresses disease organisms, but in addition, it offers probiotic benefits to our nuts.  For example, probiotics promote microbial diversity in our gut, and greater diversity has been proven to promote leanness and inhibit obesity.  A third advantage of restoring a diversity of life to “farmed-out” soil is that the microbial community destroys legacy pesticides and toxins still present in the soil.  Those pesticides and synthetic fertilizers have perpetrated soil genocide by killing more than 99% of soil organisms in conventional farm fields. The chemical reactions (10) and biological diversity (11) required for curing this problem are well established.  Our Wild Soil™ method, with its extreme soil diversity, degrades trace pesticides.  We know of no other agriculture soils that contain fewer trace pesticides than ours.

Organic farming methods often supply mineral nutrients from animal manure.  OMRI allows raw manure applications with some restrictions (7). Surprisingly, manure approved for organic production can come from animals fed antibiotics (12), which then get into the soil-plant-food cycle and contribute to the global problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria (super bugs) (13).  This is one of the many reasons that we choose not to be associated with the National Organic Program (NOP) organic label.  Additionally, please be aware that the National Organic Program (NOP) is a regulatory program housed within the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service which is responsible for developing national standards for organically-produced agricultural products.  Their “regulations do not address food safety or nutrition” (14).  In contrast, Wild Soil™ farming does not use raw manure because it values the soil, the plants and the consumer.  Indeed, we treat all edible products from our plants as probiotics suitable for humans, and we use advanced microbiological methods to maintain our standards. Our almonds undergo proprietary testing, proving their content of naturally occurring probiotics.* New research shows that changing the human diet alters the profile of intestinal microorganisms from one associated with obesity to one characteristic of non-obesity (15, 16).  Thus, healthy diets promote human health, and Wild Soil® almonds can be part of that process.

Our customers’ health, safety, and taste buds are our most important concerns.  Plant and human vibrancy is tied to our soils through the soil-plant-human cycle.  

 

 

* Wild Soils™ farming methods were developed after more than 20 years of trials and testing by a research group comprised of a consortium of subject matter experts in diverse disciplines including soil science, microbiology, human pathology and immunology.  Several of these experts are among the top in the world in their field.  These researchers obtained their PhDs/studies/residencies at the following institutions: Harvard, Yale, University of Pennsylvania, and St. Louis University.

 

 

Table 1.  Class 1 pesticides approved for organic farming (7).  This information is taken from the labels – the label is the law (17).

                                

Brand Name

Active Ingredient

Effects

EPA Reg. No.

AllDown

Acetic Acid, Citric Acid

Irreversible eye damage, harmful if swallowed, inhaled or absorbed through skin

84069-1

Lime Sulfur - Brandt

Calcium Polysulfide

Fatal if swallowed, absorbed through skin, or inhaled, irreversible eye damage

61842-30-48813

Lime-Sulfur Solution - Novasource/Tessenderlo

Calcium Polysulfide

Irreversible eye damage, skin burns, harmful if swallowed or absorbed though skin

61842-30

Lime Sulfur Ultra - OrCal

Calcium Polysulfide

Irreversible eye damage, harmful if swallowed or absorbed through skin

71096-11

Rex Lime Sulfur Solution - OrCal

Calcium Polysulfide

Irreversible eye damage, harmful if swallowed or absorbed through skin

71096-6

Nu-Cop HB - Agri Star

Copper Hydroxide

Irreversible eye damage, harmful if swallowed, inhaled or absorbed through skin

42750-132

Nu-Cop 50 DF

Copper Hydroxide

Irreversible eye damage, harmful if swallowed, inhaled or absorbed through skin

45002-4

Copper Sulfate Crystals - Chem One

Copper Sulfate Pentahydrate

May be fatal if swallowed, irreversible eye damage, harmful if absorbed through skin or inhaled

56576-20

Copper Sulfate Crystal - Quimag

Copper Sulfate Pentahydrate

May be fatal if swallowed, irreversible eye damage

73385-1

Copper Sulfate Crystals - Old Bridge

Copper Sulfate Pentahydrate

May be fatal if swallowed, irreversible eye damage

46923-4

Copper Sulfate Liquid - Blumaxx

Copper Sulfate Pentahydrate

Irreversible eye damage, harmful if swallowed or absorbed through skin

11435-3-86460

Alonglife

Copper Sulfate Pentahydrate

Irreversible eye damage, harmful if swallowed, inhaled or absorbed through skin

89930-1

Magna-Bon CS 2005

Copper Sulfate Pentahydrate

Irreversible eye damage, harmful if swallowed, inhaled or absorbed through skin

66675-3

TerraClean 5.0

Hydrogen Dioxide, Peroxyacetic Acid

Irreversible eye damage, may be fatal if swallowed

70299-13

OxiDate 2.0, ZeroTol 2.0

Hydrogen Dioxide, Peroxyacetic Acid

Irreversible eye damage, may be fatal if swallowed

70299-12

PERpose Plus

Hydrogen Peroxide/Hydrogen Dioxide

May be fatal if absorbed through skin, irreversible eye damage and skin burns

86729-1

Perasan 'A'

Hydrogen Peroxide, Peroxyacetic Acid

May be fatal if inhaled or absorbed through skin, irreversible eye damage

63838-1

SaniDate WTO

Hydrogen Peroxide, Peroxyacetic Acid

May be fatal if inhaled or absorbed through skin, irreversible eye damage and skin burns

70299-19

BioSafe Mold & Mildew Control, BioSafe Disease Control

Hydrogen Peroxide, Peroxyacetic Acid

Irreversible eye damage, harmful if swallowed or absorbed through skin

70299-16

Harvest 6.0

Hydrogen Peroxide, Peroxyacetic Acid

May be fatal if inhaled, irreversible eye damage and skin burns, harmful if swallowed

10324-214-90353

GreenClean Pro

Sodium Carbonate Peroxyhydrate

Irreversible eye damage, harmful if swallowed, inhaled or absorbed through skin

70299-6

PAK 27

Sodium Carbonate Peroxyhydrate

Irreversible eye damage, skin burns, harmful if swallowed or inhaled

68660-9-67690

SePRO PAK 27

Sodium Carbonate Peroxyhydrate

Irreversible eye damage, skin burns, harmful if swallowed or inhaled

67690-76

This information is taken from the labels – the label is the law (17).

 

Citations:

  1. Dangl, J.L. et al. 2013. Science 341:746-751. This paper offers new thoughts on how the plant immune system can be used to benefit agriculture.
  2. Mendes, R. et al. 2011. Science 332:1097-1100. These authors give new details on the genetic basis of disease-suppressive soils.
  3. Raaijmakers, J.S. and M. Mazzola. 2016. Science 352:1392-1393.  These authors summarize our current understanding of the relationship between the soil microbiome and suppressive soils.
  4. Zimmer, C. June 21, 2016. New York Times. This article popularizes disease-suppressive soils.  
  5. https://home.agrian.com/
    http://www.cdpr.ca.gov/docs/pur/pur14rep/comrpt14.pdf p. 74.
  6. http://www.cdpr.ca.gov/docs/dept/comguide/using_excerpt.pdf 10. This defines different classes of chemicals.
  7. http://www.omri.org/omri-lists/download. The OMRI Materials list specifies products that can be used by organic farmers.
  8. Stewart, O.C. (edited by H.T. Lewis & M.K. Anderson). 2002. Forgotten Fires. Univ. Oklahoma Press. This book, published first in 1954, details how Native Americans used fire as a landscape tool to maintain and rejuvenate plant growth.
  9. Blank, R.R. & M.A. Fosberg. 1989. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 53:1484-1490. This classical report compares virgin soil plots with adjacent fields that had been cultivated for many years in South Dakota.
  10. Bailey, R.A., et al. 2002. Chemistry of the Environment. pp. 231-234. Academic Press. San Diego. 835 pages. These authors give a detailed account of the chemical transformations generated by microbial communities in soil, as they detoxify various compounds.
  11. Madigan, M.T., J.M. Marinko, J. Parker. 2000. Brock, Biology of Microorganisms. 9th Prentice Hall. 991p. This text book describes in detail how microorganisms live and function in various environments as they exhibit such important phenomena as degradation of toxins and development of natural antibiotic resistance.
  12. https://www.ccof.org/sites/default/files/media_files/documents/CCOF%20USDA%20NOP%20Standards%20Manual.pdf page 13. USDA National Organic Program (NOP) Standards Manual.
  13. O’Neill, J. 2016. Tackling Drug-Resistant Infections Globally.  http://www.life-worldwide.org/assets/uploads/files/Jim%20O%27Neill%20Review%20on%20AMR-%20Final%20paper-%20EMBARGOED%2000_01%20BST%2019th%20MAY.PDF. This report details how drug-resistant bacteria may kill 10 million people annually by 2050 and cost up to $100 trillion. 
  14. https://www.ams.usda.gov/about-ams/programs-offices/national-organic-program
  15. Le Chatelier, E. et al. 2013. Nature 500:541-546.  The 43 authors of this article found characteristics of microbial genes present in the intestines of 123 lean Danes differed from those in 169 obese compatriots.
  16. Cotillard, A. et al. 2013. Nature 500:585-588.  This article reports that changing the diet of 49 obese or overweight humans altered their profile of intestinal microorganisms from one found in obese individuals (characterized by Le Chatelier et al 2013) to one more typical of non-obese people.
  17. https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-labels/introduction-pesticide-labels The label is the law.

 

 

     

    Additional Reading:

    Hodson, A. and E. Lewis. 2016. California Agriculture July-August, 70(3) 137-141. Managing for soil health can suppress pests. These authors discuss the latest findings in the area of soil health. A. Hodson is Project Scientist in the Department of Entomology and Nematology at UC Davis and E. Lewis is Associate Dean for Agricultural Sciences in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and Professor in the Department of Entomology and Nematology at UC Davis.

    White, H. 2016. California Agriculture July-August 70(3) 104-106. At Hansen Agricultural REC, better blackberries and a soil disinfestation alternative.  Farming without fumigation (chemicals such as methyl bromide, chloropicrin, 1,3-dichloropropene/Telone, etc, most of which are Class 1 pesticides, all require posting the ranch with skull and cross bone signs) is possible but at the expense of $3,000/ac.  

    Cavanaugh, P. 2016. Pacific Nut Producer July 2016. 10-15. Almond Fumigation Options in Merced and Stanislaus Counties.  According to UC Davis, fumigation (chemicals such as methyl bromide, chloropicrin, 1,3-dichloropropene/Telone, etc, most of which are Class 1 pesticides, all require posting the ranch with skull and cross bone signs) is still the recommend protocol for planting almonds.

    USDA National Organic Program: https://www.ams.usda.gov/about-ams/programs-offices/national-organic-program  NOP exists only to insure that organic producers comply with NOP’s self-defined standards.  However, these standards are arrived at without any particular consideration for the safety or nutritional value of the organic food produced.

    Dominguez-Bello, M. and Blaser, M. 2015.  Science Translational Medicine September 2015 7(307). Asthma: Undoing millions of years of coevolution in early life? Early microbiome composition can predict asthma risk, and asthma development can be subverted when missing protective microbes are restored.

    Arrieta, et al., 2015. Science Translational Medicine September 2015 7(307). Early infancy microbial and metabolic alterations affect risk of childhood asthma. Arrieta et al. report in a longitudinal human study that infants at risk of asthma have transient gut microbial dysbiosis during the first 100 days of life. They found that certain bacterial genera were decreased in these children. They suggest a window where microbe-based diagnostics and therapeutics may be useful to prevent the development of asthma in high-risk individuals.

    OMRI Products List: http://www.omri.org/sites/default/files/opl_pdf/CropByProduct-NOP.pdf Organic food can be grown with more than 4,000 products (pesticides, fertilizers, etc) approved by Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI)

    Centre for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy, September 2016. The Economist. Resistance to antibiotics - The other global drugs problem. The rise of drug-resistant infections and the overuse of antibiotics by people and animals.

    Claus, et al., 2016. npj Biofilms and Microbiomes May 2016 16003. The gut microbiota: a major player in the toxicity of environmental pollutants? This background review describes biochemical pathways and anatomical mechanisms that allow gut microorganisms to degrade environmental toxins in the human intestine.

    Aune, D. et al. 2016. BMC Medicine 14:207. Consuming just 20 grams of nuts per day (about 20 almonds) may reduce the risk of death and chronic disease, according to a recent massive meta-analysis of 20 studies and 820,000 participants by the Imperial College London School of Public Health published in the journal of BMC Medicine.  Their “results provide further evidence that nut consumption may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, cardiovascular disease, total cancer, and all-cause mortality, and possibly mortality from diabetes, respiratory disease, and infectious disease.  In 2013, an estimated 4.4 million deaths may be attributable to a nut intake below 20 grams per day in North and South America, Europe, Southeast Asia, and the Western Pacific.  These findings support dietary recommendations to increase nut consumption to reduce chronic disease risk and mortality.”

    Clark, Michael and Tilman, David.  June 16, 2017.  Environmental Research Letters.  Comparative analysis of environmental impacts of agricultural production systems, agricultural input efficiency, and food choice.  The Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, University of California Santa Barbara and the University of Minnesota conducted a meta-analysis of life cycle assessments that includes 742 agricultural systems and over 90 unique foods.  The Bren School has earned a reputation as one of the top schools of its kind in the nation and is among a handful of schools in the US that integrate science, management, law, economics, and policy as part of an interdisciplinary approach to environmental problem solving.  Bren School faculty members play leading roles in advising government agencies, corporations, and nonprofit organizations about science, management, and policy questions.  This report offers a comprehensive analysis of the true cost of organic farming to the environment as compared to conventional farming.  Organic systems require more land, cause more eutrophication and lead to greater loss of diversity.  http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/aa6cd5

    Jenkins, D.J. et al. 2002.  Dose response of almonds on coronary heart disease risk factors: blood lipids, oxidized low-density lipoproteins, lipoprotein(a), homocysteine, and pulmonary nitric oxide: a randomized, controlled, crossover trial.  Circulation 106:1327.

    Chen, C-Y et al. 2005.  Flavonoids from almond skins are bioavailable and act synergistically with vitamins C and E to enhance hamster and human LDL resistance to oxidation.  J Nutrition 135:1366.

    Jamshed, H. et al. 2015.  Dietary almonds increase serum HDL cholesterol in coronary artery disease patients in a randomized controlled trial.  J. Nutrition 145:2287.

    U.S. Food and Drug Administration.  2003.  FDA authorizes heart disease health claims for nuts.  Docket No. 02P-0505.

    National Organic Program – International Trade Arrangements and Agreements, Audit Report 01601-0001-21, USDA Office of Inspector General.  September 2017.  Report by the USDA acknowledges that imported produce labeled as “organic” is lacking adequate controls, audits and oversight to protect the integrity of the organic label.   The Inspector General found: 1. “Organic Standards’ Equivalency Determination Process Was Not Fully Transparent,  2. NOP Organic Import Documents Were Not Verified at US Ports of Entry, 3. Controls Over Organic Products Fumigated at US Ports of Entry Were Inadequate, and 4. Onsite Audits Not Conducted Timely.”  We recommend consumers only buy produce grown in the USA for many reasons.  Besides the misrepresentation involved with the USDA NOP Organic label on imported produce, products grown outside the USA are not subject to the same level of environmental protections of water and air (ie. Stringent USA EPA regulations pertaining to heavy metals, air pollution, contaminated water, pesticide regulations, etc). https://www.usda.gov/oig/webdocs/01601-0001-21.pdf

     

     

     

     

    The probiotic benefits of the proprietary methods described above have not been evaluated by the FDA or the USDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.  You should not use the information described above for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem. You should contact your healthcare professional if you suspect you might have a health problem. 
     
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