About Soil Life Services - from the Great Lakes region
What we are about...
Regenerative Agriculture and Sustainable Soils
Microscope assays are used to study the plant beneficial microbiology of the Soil Food Web.
The Soil Food Web approach to repairing soil - from finding specialized species of bacteria or fungi to getting the whole food web building lively soil. All types of soils and ecosystems apply.
Get the life in the soil to serve your growing or farming needs!
(See the Products page - which includes beneficial nematodes, fungi and other suggested products for soil conditioning and accelerating plant growth...)
Mycoremediation - Repairing Earth with Plant Beneficial Fungi
Work with our team of professional mycologists to start a plan to repair damaged soils!
Get fungal dominant compost to detoxify soils
Use select strains to target soil contaminants, both biological and chemical - having the potential to degrade Glyphosate, phenols and whole classes of other toxic compounds...
Fungi open up pore spaces and flocculate clays for optimal water and air infiltration, ultimately reducing plant stressing toxic compounds produced by anaerobic microbes and root feeding nematodes
Mushroom mycelium facilitates uptake of phosphorus, water and transportation of micronutrients to plant roots. Provided a complete soil food web plants will get more foods.
Fungi present will transform nitrates (NO3-) into ammonium (NH4+) by lowering soil pH and will discourage nitrate loving weed germination.
Fungi are efficient at sequestering carbon from air.
Submit a request for beginning a Mycoremediation project -
Why we do our work...
Regenerative Agriculture and Sustainable Soils
Means long-term success farming, and healthier working conditions!
Farming can be done with fewer weeds and more success organically. Today world record yields are being set by organic practices and the techniques are improving rapidly! (Potato farms and tomatoes... more!)
Conventional chemical agriculture also pollutes our water- and impairs the growth of aquatic food chains too. By having healthy soils, the soil life feeds not just the land.
Soil contamination impairs change in the soil food web- all types of toxic chemicals have got to be controlled to get soils back to full speed!
Owner: Jason Safronoff, Traverse City, MI and Elsah, Illinois
Soil Life Consultant (See my CV)
The soil food web may be just as important as planting our seed. Soils that have become lifeless dirt are not capable of growing plants. There will be too many expensive problems growing in dirt.
When the soil life has been established as in nature plants are able to thrive! When there is deforestation someone needs to replant and when there is water pollution there needs to be change. Now there needs to be a reseeding of microbes to keep the balance of sustainability and productivity for human life. Plants control the food web by feeding it. Let nature take control of this aspect but give it a fresh start allowing plants to choose beneficial microbes that live around the roots: re-wilding natural settings.
Soil Life Services uses agricultural principles taught by Dr. Elaine Ingham. The program requires intensive study: of soil life, composting, compost teas, how to use organic principles to produce the most fertile soils possible for plants to grow. The mechanisms of the soil food web provide plant available foods and protection for growing plants. I have taken Dr. Ingham's five day intensive course in California which covers professional experience, composting, hands on microscopy, and compost teas.
Dr. Ingham explains using more than 100 lbs of fertilizer per acre will damage beneficial soil life. This results as a manifestation of plant destroying pests which grow quickly having shorter life cycles than plant beneficial soil microbes. The effect of damage done to the soil. Justice Van Liebig had discovered the use of fertilizers, but later denounced their practicality seeing the damage done ("Teaming with Nutrients" by Jeff Lowenfels). The fact is, healthy soils for plants just do not need fertilizers or any toxic chemical interaction to help plants grow neither do they need to be spread thin while converting (yet some growers manage to implement both growing methods and eventually get to entirely organic growing).
I have explored Northern Michigan amply studying native forest soils under the microscope. There are definite differences in the amount of life in soils from forests as opposed to tilled conventional soils. This relationship is unseen to the unaided eye and is often overlooked in the explanation of plant growth. The higher succession of plants rising from bare dirt to rich forest soils shows an ever increasing amount of microbes and plant productivity. The temporary fertility of soils after clear-cutting shows how microbes make a difference but as soil is successively tilled and compacted this fertility vanishes with the years. Soil Life Services aims to get these naturally growing microbes back into soils, then offer microbes to plants to increase their productivity.
In order to establish healthy plant soil one needs the members of a full food web. In order to do this a sustainable amount of biology meets the need for plants in compost which is applied to soils. This also means making a compost product meant for the type of annual or perennial ecosystem. A complete food web which thrives can eliminate compaction and allow plants to grow vigorously with a greater volume of plant foods. Fertilizers will make plants look good, but truly balanced plant growth established with the soil biology can be achieved at levels better if not comparable to conventional farming practices.
Preparing a full food web for growers is done under the microscope knowing which members of it are missing. Ideally, this is like adding employees to fill in missing roles in the workplace. The inoculate needed is derived from native soil resources which will result in the normal balance of soil productivity. Consider the impact soils have on not only by land but by water. Through eliminating toxic chemicals and using organic foods for nearby water bodies and for ground water. This improves the water quality and food chain for aquatic life. Many shorelines use excessive fertilizers which result in a loss of cold water loving fish species and greening algal blooms. Composts having soil life would only add to the base food chain and will likely help the life in the water.
Damaged soils have been why scientists have turned to GMOs and other toxic chemicals. Damaged soils make plants look like they are unable perform in natural settings when they truly can do well. It appears a new race horse is needed to be bred to produce a solution by genetic engineering. The problems get more complex when scientists try to engineer a plant for a toxic chemical which will impact other crops and neighboring farms. There are many publications on pesticides like Diacamba and Roundup which shows there are problems with toxic sprays yet if farmers would utilize the whole soil food web pesticides should not be needed or farmers can benefit from merging the best holistic practices with the conventional.
Some of my professional experience:
I began the Life in The Soil program with an interest in composting and organically growing world record tomatoes using some additional microscopy. I had a ten week long internship on Beaver Island, MI in 2014 at Central Michigan University Biological Station where I studied the behaviors of macroinvertebrates with Cladophora glomorata algae. There I had some of my first lessons on a dissection microscope and how to study the richness of species in an aquatic environment. These lessons about ecosystems were closely connected to the Life in the Soil classes. Both the indexing of macroinvertebrates and (in the soil, "assaying") microorganisms do to explain the treatment of an ecosystem. Following soon after, I completed an associate’s degree in Freshwater studies. From my degree, I learned mostly about the world’s freshwater issues, but I had not come to clear answers how to deal with the worst issues within the watershed, many regarding pollution from agriculture. One can study about sustainability but put it to practice! The Life in the Soil Classes had opened my eyes to see how there are many microorganisms in soil which make the impact needed for water quality which can serve to solve a myriad of the world's agricultural problems today. Ultimately, my vision is to improve water quality in the Great Lakes watershed, nationwide and wherever else possible by with an improvement to life on the farm and removal of environmental pollutants.
When one starts a biological program interesting things start to happen because of changes to the soil food web. Especially, if you do your own composting the foods web will attract the beneficial insects as well larger animals. Everything from birds to cats, and swarms of lady bugs, they will all be there at your compost piles and on your plants to guard them whenever they are available! Just delightful!
For years I have been studying fungi from hiking and going on forays. I am a member of the Michigan Mushroom Hunter’s Club. I am currently studying various fungal genera for Mycoremediation and their applications introduced into compost. If you come across any Mycoremediation articles to share I would be glad to read!
Hands on Agriculture experiences:
I have experience working in a chestnut and heartnut tree orchard.
Gardening vegetables, care for peach trees and grape vines naturally using no toxic chemicals (and in the past conventionally seeing many issues in growing)