Regen Ray: Hello, soil lovers, and welcome back to another episode of Secrets of the Soil. I’m super excited to be digging deeper into our soils. We’ve been joined by guests from across the ditch Ewan welcome to our podcast.
Ewan Campbell: Hi there. Glad to be here.
Regen Ray: Excellent. Share with our soil loving community who you are and what you work on.
Ewan Campbell: A bit of a deeper question. I’m a farmer, really, and I was brought up on a pig farm, which my father broke in from a piece of scrub and swamp. So he made a farm and we learned a lot about soils and how to do shit. Although when we tended to being dairy farmers on the Peak Farm, I stayed for a certain amount of time, but I just didn’t want to be playing paddocks and milking cows. And so I bought Our Own Farm and why he would sit at 40 case from where I grew up. Nice, beautiful part of the world’s great climate. Shit, soil. I didn’t put that on the prerequisite before I left and got there. So once I got there, I had to make it work and I was lucky enough to meet people that posed the question and I asked more questions. And I drive some people mad. But until I couldn’t answer and then I had to move on to the next questions. And along the way, I got invited to join Brookside Laboratories from nowhere in the states to train with them, which was an absolute godsend. With that, I could taste the Missouri river I was doing on a farm, so we had many, many episodes of, you know, what was going on and how people wanted to continue the process. People turned up fertilizer companies and say, You know, look, you just need to put some more super on. And I develop this more on theory. Well, if I was going to put more on always going to be the moron love that. So I tested a measured everything and I after I’d learned what was what I three days away and just carried on from because I could see the visual response. So we went on with a big farm and we started making our own beef because it was outstanding. Quality won some national food awards and started supplying probably the top 10 restaurants in New Zealand. And with that, a whole lot of farmers see what the hell are you doing? So business started. They came and had looked at the farm. And again, this is all upside down and you’re saying shit that. No one else is saying, and it’s actually the opposite to what we’ve been told you have long past is you have plants that look like weeds, you have rotations and everything’s wrong, but it works and you’d give them a stake and they’d go, Oh shit, whatever we’re doing, we’re doing it wrong. So they’d started, Yeah, and that was the the door that opened the box. You know, I was learning stuff all the time. I think the biggest thing after learning with Brookside was that it was such a cool. It is such a cool organization and allows me to test and measure everything I want to know. The parameters of what we taste is quite wide. But what it taught me was that mineralogy wasn’t everything. And the biggest kicker of all, because we didn’t have any money at the time, I used a product called Basic Slag and that came out a Glenbrook steel mill just just south of Auckland. I bought it because it was five percent magnesium, 30 per cent calcium and one per cent phosphorus. It was cheap and you know, it cost me $90 a tonne sprayed on the farm and effectively it was $200 with the nutrients. I like it. I bought it as a cost effective way of getting around things. But what happened was just remarkable. It changed the farm and effectively we probably grew 100 per cent more grass and healthy grass. Red clover came up where there was never any sign of it ever before. Wow. So and one day at this stage we were making mineral licks and we took to pat coleby called me before and I’d read a lot of his stuff and I’d been looking at all these different mineral mixes, and I was making these mixes and I decided to pull a recount meal and just to see what would happen because a lot of people were saying how good this kelp was to make a difference in the end, why he we had some pretty heavy rainfall events. If you get a depression off the coast of Brisbane and it drops down over New Zealand, we can get six inches of rain in a night. So. In the fish bin in the morning where I put all the minerals, there was probably only half a teaspoon of kelp left there and the drum was full of water, but all the kelp was lined up, running exactly East-West. Twenty seven millimeters apart and it was like the mice had been out and set up their Olympic swimming pool and were ready to go to. And I just thought, Oh, what is this? It’s like, How do you explain that? Hmm. So that set me on a platform to work at how the hell this happened. And what was it? And what I’d inadvertently done with the basic and the conditions in our soil was actually set up a solar panel in the soil. It runs from east to west. The magnetite, which came from the iron sands on it, which was part of the slag. It actually joints and entwined like little magnets and lines across the soil in which the electricity runs through it. And found that forms of silica created electrical energy that ran down. And then the research really went to town, you know, Davis and Rose Phil Callahan. All of that electromagnetic effects trips to ACRES USA and driving people more mad in a solar panel experts. You know, just in time that I was in there and probably took me about 12 to 15 months to fathom the process that. UV light was coming in. It was reacting with the silica in the soil, so it creates heat, light and electricity. And with that, the current stimulates biology and it moves nutrients into the plot. And hey, hey, you’ve got really healthy plants to grow more carbon. And yeah, that was my life. Well, wow, this is pretty out there, you know?
Regen Ray: Yeah, I love that. And I think that some, you know, is kind of like where the whole principle of like grounding comes from, like earthing your house and grounding yourself. Is it all interconnected with the same information that you found?
Ewan Campbell: All right. I have to agree. It’s all part of it. I like, I think the part that it showed me was that earth has a natural electromagnetic spectrum. Yeah. And the closer you get to the poles naturally gets higher and higher. So and the soil where you are live, if you can get zero to five about running east west, that’s pretty good. But if I go down to south london and then we have a log eight point six and the higher highest I’ve ever seen has been in North Wales and Britain, I got to one point five volts. So it’s a hell of a lot of energy. Get on through your soil, which changes the seasonality and the speed things grow. So, you know, like the peonies were dropping all over the place and people can feel this stuff, and I was putting it into context. Yeah, because I love science. I just just love the numbers and the facts and the figures in that, you know, not normal. Sort of the way I look at being told what to do. I just like, how does it work? And in a way you go,
Regen Ray: Yeah, that curiosity. I love that. And you mentioned, why are you expanding then about how you were doing farming upside down? What intrigued you to do it differently? Was it because you saw other mentors, or were you just wanting to play around with what you were seeing and trying something different? What created you to have an upside down farm?
Ewan Campbell: Well, that was the thing about growing up on the pig farm we had. There was nothing before us. So we walked into a clean slate and you only did what work. you didn’t do what other people told you to do is like. So I say, Oh, you need to put a shitload of stuff and go, Well, we’ll try a little quarter and it didn’t work and go now. And so it was trial and error, and we did things because we were the masters of our destiny. And when I moved across to the farm and why he I mean, I didn’t have any money and it’s like empty pockets, chef in the mind. Yeah, you know, like most farmers are under the pump at the moment, so they look.
Regen Ray: And yeah, I love that that empty mind sharpens because that’s the way you become resourceful. You think I can’t do it this way. Let me think of another solution. It’s very easy just to go and keep paying for us for product or service, but it’s when that money dries up or at crisis point happens that you start thinking differently. You know, in so many of the leaders of the regenerative movement have all come from a crisis point, you know, and I just hope that people can see that they can prevent that and learn from from their experience. You also touched on visual. You mentioned about, you know, visually seeing what was happening on your farm. How important is that those visual above the ground signals in your
Ewan Campbell: look, it’s up above and below. But I mean, the the visuals are massive because when you see it, you going, you see what happened there, then you investigate it without you seeing it. You don’t know something’s going on. And you know, Ulbricht’s is a fantastic quote. It’s just read books and study nature. If they don’t agree, throw away the books. Well, yeah,
Regen Ray: I’m going to use that one.
Ewan Campbell: Brilliant. Yeah. And and we take that on board. I mean, Albrecht was one of the greatest researchers, and yet if you really look deeply, he looked at what was working, you know, he could see what was working. They need to dive in to find out how it was working and what’s going on. Yeah. So that’s how he found the best tools in the world. Yeah, they were working.
Regen Ray: Yeah, absolutely. And you know, a lot of material is coming forward now about First Nation and how they observed. And it’s just set with nature. And I think, you know, slowing down and getting off the tractor and doing these visual assessments is becoming a lot more popular. And you can’t you can’t argue when there’s a fence line between two different methods and one side’s grain and one side’s brown, you just think, Oh, what’s what’s the what’s going on here? You know, there’s a visual cue. And unfortunately, humans and you know, seeing is believing. And that’s, you know.
Ewan Campbell: Yeah. Even then, though, you know, the programming of our growing up and you know, how we do things is still the biggest challenge. I mean, I’ve been at field days where we showed people stuff and they go, Oh, and if I remember my dad, so I look up to this guy and he says, Well, what do you think? And he said, shit. I could believe what I’m seeing, it’s bloody amazing. And so, yeah, we had another instance, probably only about a month ago, where the neighbor next door floppy I call him used to play with him, but he can scream it up the right to dead it. He’s done it again. What do you mean? He said he took one of the weightiest farms in the bloody district and cleaned it out without any sprays, and there’s no way on your place. So, yeah, they can see it, but sometimes they’re a bit slow on the movement of what’s next.
Regen Ray: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And do you think it’s just an education? Like, what is the next step? Is it being held accountable by a mentor of some sort or is it just people are easy to stick with what they know, you know, path of least resistance?
Ewan Campbell: Well, a lot of it’s fear. OK. Yep. Huge amount of fear, especially in the people with mortgages in the dairy industry. You know, the Dairy NZ, tell them what they have to do and how they have to do it, and they feel safe. Even that might not feel right, and it’s not working that well. They still well, we just barely go there, you know? Yeah, it’s not until I step off the treadmill and go, shit there was another way. Mm hmm. Yeah. So money and fear when we see that a lot in society, right at the moment knowing.
Regen Ray: Yeah, absolutely. And it’s very interesting that, you know, people can feel that it’s not right. But yet there’s this thing, you know, human intuition of, like just being safe and that trumps even something that doesn’t feel right, you know, like safety and protection and follow the bouncing ball in the system and we will be OK. You know that there’s a lot of comfort in that. It just it highlights, I guess, from my point of view, how out of touch with our intuition and our feeling, which is also meant to be a guiding star way of knowing you know what to do next year. Something like this doesn’t feel right or that place feels shady, you know, like it’s a protective mechanism.
Ewan Campbell: Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. I say people don’t like a lot of things, and I saw it in the agriculture. A farmer who turned up to a discussion group in a talk to the say, Look, I saw that over there, and whoever was running it just cleaned the floor with them because it didn’t fit the narrative and they’d soon cross like theirs and all of a different look. If I saw something, it was up to me to go and find out what it meant. And if somebody tried to wipe the floor with me, I just go, You should get your shit sorted out because this is how it works. Yeah, yeah. So yeah, it best to be armed with technology and the ability to do things. Most people don’t back themselves.
Regen Ray: Yeah, 100 percent. And you know, unfortunately, when you live in a world where that’s how we kind of trained and, you know, sit in the corner, do the right thing, put your hand up when you want to ask a question and you know, and you know, we’re conditioned that way. So I’m I’m glad that more and more people are questioning that narrative and breaking that mold. I know your journey has led you on to writing a book. Why did you write the book and tell us a little bit more about what’s in the book and what it’s all about?
Ewan Campbell: Yeah. Well, the book I see some clients said, Well, why don’t you write this down and get off? So one day I sat down with nothing to do when I started, and it’s been a longest process. But I guess the thing was is it saved me from being that toy that just said the same thing again and again and again and kept telling people the same thing over and again. So now it’s like the book just backgrounds my journey where it came from, how I got to, where I learnt what I learnt. I mean, there’s so many crazy stories in there that people just, Oh Christ, of course, that’s exactly what happens. I mean, one of the ones that really comes to mind me that people laugh their heads off is the one about the red goat. There I was pulling redwood on a farm and I could see all these beautiful worms in this fungi, and that was fantastic. Bloody hell, I’ve got to have some more of this and an old friend. Tom Harris his now past where he was a good burger. He used to pull our fungi in his fish and emotions that he was making, so I thought, Oh, well, I’ll try this, putting this in the fish and I’ll try. That’s on the farm. And so this is great. And it was really interesting because it only took four days and it took all the smell out of the fish. It didn’t have a pong anymore, so the helicopter came and it sprayed it on. It was all good and you know, things were alright. But come the springtime, all of a sudden there’s all these regular plants started coming up over the whole farm and you flip and it. All of a sudden I had nine hundred acres of redwood. And yeah, it was like being off some flowers and showing up, and it was just like, Oh shit, what do I do? And it showed it was just an experience. People, people see. Look what happens when specific fungi hit a specific environment. They just went and germinated every farm seed on the farm, and now it’s like a crop. So, I had to grin and bear it for a couple of years as it went through the cycle and disappeared at the far end. And but those are experiences. People have seen things like that in the past that they’d never been able to put the one in one together. And so when they leave that you get jabbed in the ribs again, you cannot put any flowers out this year, you know? But you know, these are the experiences that I went through and I documented them, and I can just show you that there’s lots of ways to skin a cat. You know? And it can be fun, and it can be trying at times, too. But I hoped that it was going to save a lot of people, a lot of Reisman kind of selves. Yeah.
Regen Ray: So maybe if the book told me to do it?
Ewan Campbell: That’s right. Now you’ve done it again. But what it gets down to at the end of it really is we got to the point where we’ve got really good at what we do and it’s taken a long time, but we got really, really good at what we do and we’re accumulating large sums of carbon. But now we regularly accumulate between seven and twenty five tons per hectare per year on figuring five energy ceiling. And you know, if we do get paid for this, it’s massive. But as far as an environmental thing goes, it’s documenting how our water that’s leaving the farmers down to such low nitrate levels that we’re environmentally friendly as well.
Regen Ray: Yeah, yeah. And I love that as well with that whole, you know, if you get paid for it also and if not, it’s just really good for the ecosystem and the environment and the hydration and all the other benefits that come come with it with our soil lovers we talk about the word regenerative a lot. Do you have any opinions about this word and what does it mean to you?
Ewan Campbell: Well, I think I started before it was even thought of to tell you the truth, and I’m probably a bit of a redneck because I don’t actually follow the prescribed theological process of this. Look, it’s brilliant. What people are doing is starting to learn. I was telling people 20 years ago they needed graze better. Yup. You know, we’d come off a place where we we had beef cows and we used beef cows to clean the scrub and the rushes from the land using grazing methodology. So we knew about that. First thing I did when I got to Waihi on this big block was put fences and water everywhere. But at that point, I realized the soil was really important, and a lot of people are going down this regenerative track and they’re not looking at the soil at the same time and saying, Oh, well, if we get the right species and we crossed it down and I gag, if you don’t fix what’s underneath first, you won’t, won’t do anything. You just cause more havoc and you’ll spend a lot of money on seed and a whole lot of stuff if you don’t actually take notice of what’s going on.
Regen Ray: Yeah, I couldn’t agree with you more. And I think, you know, hanging out with farming secrets and Helen and Hugo and what they’ve been able to see with this industry back then, there was no sexy word called regenerative ag . And everyone seems to be jumping on it, and there is a lot of fear in the in the industry of whether it’s going to be hijacked. And, you know, if we start talking about certification and all these frameworks that it doesn’t really align with, you know, looking at nature and letting nature be your source of truth and say, this is what I’m observing, I need to do this, you know, and the whole principles and practices of what regen ag is could get very messy. And so I definitely agree with you that it’s all about the soil. And that is a reason why we started this podcast. And, you know, Secrets of the Soil is all about let’s educate about what’s happening below the ground, what’s normally out of sight and out of mind, and really get people interested in that side of the world because that’s our true North Star. You know, you can do whatever you want above the ground, but if you’re not nurturing below the ground, it means absolutely nothing. So I agree with with that and a lot of people worried that it’s getting greenwash. You know, big corporations are starting to put this on their packaging and not really know what it means, you know, so it’s a way
Ewan Campbell: we’ve got some great things coming up. You know, some of these scanners that. I don’t think I mean that long before they’ll be able to get on your phone and be able to scan the quality of food. That’ll be a that’ll be the end of the certification process here that you go to, you know your story? That’s right. The other part that I suppose that I’ve got onto understanding the soil, the article of faith and what it has a biology and the toxicities and things that we need to clean up. But what I’d like to throw to take was that the greatest carbon build in the soil is cyanobacteria in the story. You can you can trample grass down on the ground. But if the soil is not there, ready to be the receiver of that trash and break down the roots and all that sort of stuff, you know, good. But first of all, you had to photosynthesis the grass before you could actually put it in the ground. Mm-Hmm. Well, those cyanobacteria, they’re the greatest oxygenated is on the planet. They’re in the ocean and they’re quite happy living our source. They don’t like aluminum and they don’t like poisons. So nice price. And you’re got to get the aluminium out of the profile. So right fungal species and they will do stuff for you that you just can’t even imagine. And this all this multi-species crops and all this other stuff is like. Forget it if you can save yourself a fricking fortune, if you can get those guys working.
Regen Ray: Yeah. So share a little bit more. I’d love to go a bit deeper on that. Like, how do you encourage that bacteria? And you’ve said the word very quickly. So I haven’t been able to catch on how to say it. So if you want to repeat, repeat it.
Ewan Campbell: Cyano Cyanobacteria.
Ewan Campbell: also right now, these boys are hardy. As far as climate goes, they live in the desert. And so when it rains, it’s those guys that provide the nitrogen for the great bub in the ocean. If you look at the polls just as spring comes in, the melt comes and you get this massive boom of life. That’s them. It’s those guys that kick off, then the Shrimps and the Crow. Everything else goes from there. So they are prolific in the right circumstances, and they’re not. So then other worrying about the temperature being hot or cold. So we grow more here in the wintertime and the cold period of the year. We can you can watch the carbon levels go up and you walk across the soil and it’s like a carpet where all the worm castings are. And those guys are gobbling that cyanobacteria bring it to the surface and ran and ran it, guys. So what we do is we’re using various sea products. He can use seawater to bring them in because they’re prolific in the ocean, but they have to have a clean environment. They really do. I mean, you’ve got to have a good fungal sit that’s cleaned up the toxins, pass chemical residues and stuff like that before they’ll go. But when you get them to go, there’s nothing like them. Oh, I just cannot speechless. Well, well, they were the first organism on earth. It is right, and they have so many amazing properties, so restrained their DNA back to the original format. So you’ve got a process there that will allow you to correct defects in the genetic sequence, right?
Regen Ray: You know, nature heals nature repairs and that’s it.
Ewan Campbell: And those guys can do it. And there’s other technologies that they’ve taken from it where they can actually feel that they can introduce viruses and bacteria into these cyanobacteria, and then it makes them kill myself to all that pathogenic bacteria and viruses. So if you feed these guys right, you go, Oh shit, we’ve got a really bad bug coming to the population our guest gang sprayed on the farm and the food that we produce from that will then be the remedy to what was going on. It’s like nature is so cool. Yeah. And yet they’re trying to take it and, you know, make money out of it. But what it was, it was so funny. I can’t tell you the documentary I was watching about it, but it’s called CRISPR technology, and I just clip it to. The DNA of the cynobacteria inserts that DNA of the pathogenic cell, and then it goes, Oh, that one kill, kill, kill. You can ask for better.
Regen Ray: Yeah, yeah. It’s, you know, so many, so many of our world solutions have come from nature. And then we either have lost track of that and not even realize that that’s where it comes from. You know, and so we’ve just so become disconnected from nature. We don’t even question where some of the things that we do live by day by day comes from. You know, and yeah, it’s it’s definitely an interesting world and what a great world we live in as well, where we can just explore this stuff deeper. You know, you can jump onto the internet and dig deeper and research it. And that can be a dangerous rabbit hole as well because you get conflicting advice, but it really empowers you to bring power back to you where you can go. I like that that resognates, and you can make your own assumptions. What was it like when you were trying to expand this to people? And there wasn’t this kind of internet world and like, did you just have to build a really close community in your local area? Or did you travel around and spread it to whoever wanted to listen?
Ewan Campbell: And that was funny because I had been trying to get the meat board to help sponsor some research I was doing at the time, and they wouldn’t do it. But because I’d won these national food awards, the magazine then called the meat producer came along, said, Oh, do an interview on your farm. So they did an interview and then all these people from around the country rang me up and said, What are you doing? Said, Get off free advertising.
Regen Ray: Yeah, that’s that’s that’s marketing, right?
Ewan Campbell: They came and they looked. And then I sort of went out to see their farms and have a look at look for resources. And it just grew. And we did a video once and that video just went everywhere. So that was the internet at the time. It just got handed on here and there and everywhere, and it just it went nuts, but it went so nuts that the bureaucracy thought shit. We got to stop this bugger is causing trouble. So yeah, we had our we’ve had our time with the government and their pseudo scientists and all that sort of stuff. And I suppose it’s not to be looked at that I’m really pissed off about it. They they made me go and research more. They made me get better and better at what we’re doing. So I got to thank them. I’d rather I not had it.
Regen Ray: But yeah, there’s always a silver lining, you know? And I often say to people all the time, like, don’t believe anything you hear, like, go and fact check yourself, go learn it yourself, you know, and don’t rely on a third party to be your fact checker. Like, make your own assumptions. That’s really, you know, the power of what we have to do is be able to think for ourselves and research topics deeper and deeper into we content. Yeah, so and so like reading your book, is it more of a these are the steps to take or is it more of a resource manual where people can go to different parts? Do you read it from start to end or is it more of a resource guide as well?
Ewan Campbell: Yes, it’s a story really with all the things that we found and how they impact. And then there’s a bit of it’s quite a summary about how they all fit together, and you can mold it all together and make it work like it’s a journey. I think the fungal species of fungal inoculum we make now, I think we’ve got around 17 or 18 species that I know of and there now, but I picked them up over 15 years saying, Oh, look what that’s doing over there. I think we need to try that and oh, look what it’s doing over there. And, you know, even though we have the internet and that sort of stuff, the likes of ACRE’S USA at the time when Charles Walters was running it, you know, the book resources, the people that he had drawn together. Extraordinary. I mean, if anybody’s been the foundation of regenerative agriculture, it was Charles Walters, you know? Yeah. By by a long way. Yeah. And people don’t talk enough about the gentleman. And he did a remarkable job.
Regen Ray: Yeah. And was it because of the way that he curated the content and the people and the topics? Or was it his tenure
Ewan Campbell: that he was a good writer? But he he was such an investigative little bugger. He was into everything. You know, I remember saying the first article about Maynard Moneys, Murray’s city energy and agriculture splattered across the front. And I was like, Whoa, you know, it wasn’t that long after that we ended up with a helicopter spraying seawater onto the farm and and seeing some of the remarkable things and just being able to take it on. And Richard, all these minerals to the genetic code and things like that, it’s just remarkable research processes. And he could see it. He he could actually go, Wow, that’s really important. I need to get that in here. And it would open a huge discussion. And yeah, he he really set the platform.
Regen Ray: Yep. And so in the work that you do, I’m assuming you help a lot of people in your community and so forth in this space, like how important is it to have others that are supportive and maybe like a bit of a mentor relationship like you do? I feel I meet a lot of people who feel alone in this space and they’re like, they’re the the one in the community that’s doing it, the crazy while their grasses of fire risk and everyone’s, you know, demonizing them for it. Like, how do people get supported through that? Like his mentorship? A big thing.
Ewan Campbell: I think the communities are slowly coming together in that regard, and information is king. I mean, the thing about the book is that any website in the videos they do and so many people can sit in their own home and actually make their own mind up, as you say. And then all of a sudden, are we talking to somebody? And now again? Did you see that? Yeah, yeah. And all of a sudden that little fires start to bend a little piles of smoke and a little aerial get cranked up and, you know, receiving the business three years ago? And that and you see those little embers that never went out. They were still looking for things and they wanted more information. And they are they’re quite funny, actually, the ones that have been around the longest. I’ve worked with a long time. They look at this regenerative thing and they sort of scratch your head and they’re going, you and you assign that 20 years ago, I’m like, Yeah,
Regen Ray: but now it’s sexy
Ewan Campbell: sexy. Yeah, yeah, it’s I’ve got gray hair now, and I didn’t back then.
Regen Ray: That’s the formula.
Ewan Campbell: It must be a lot. Social media is amazing. Yeah. You know, you’re talking to people all the time. You know, I’m a, you know, I post a bit of stuff, but I quite often put a lot of comments into people when they’re asking some reasonably good questions or some really silly sort of point them in another direction. But yeah, it is a good. It’s a good platform. It’s amazing how many are watching and never say anything. Yes.
Regen Ray: Ghost viewers, we call them now. People like, Yeah, there’s a word for it as people who just watch your stuff and they never comment. I never subscribed and never like, you know, I just feel like I’m
Ewan Campbell: going to ring up . They were ready to get, Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Regen Ray: What did you come from? You guys did the closet. Yeah, it’s so yeah. And I wonder whether like there is some nervousness with people when they discover this space to go, Oh, I don’t know if I really want to like this page and you know, it’s aligned myself with that. But or whether it’s just people are really happy to declutter their mind of how many pages they belong to and just curate themselves, you know?
Ewan Campbell: And I’d have to say that given what happened when the Commerce Commission came after me. It’s a frightening experience to put your head up and say, Hey, I’ve found something. And yet in today’s world with, you know, the groups that are out there, it’s a lot easier to say those things. And this but there’s still people that are stuck in mainstream agriculture. They’re looking and they don’t want to be seen by their mates that they’re looking. And it’s quite surprising how many of them are. And I just haven’t seen anything yet.
Regen Ray: Yeah. And I admire people who do put their hand up. I saw a post on Facebook this morning where, you know, someone said, Look, I’m a traditional farmer. I’m got all these inputs going on and I want to explore this regen ag thing deeper and like, where do I start and what do I learn? And you know, and so the curiosity there and I feel like we’re past that tipping point of the majority understanding that there is a different way moving forward and you’ve spoken about carbon a little and using nature to build up that carbon. Why you focus so much on carbon. Do you use that as like a North Star or the signal of how the source performing or one of
Ewan Campbell: I don’t know, but I suppose it’s a tool to help farmers realize that you can do this and anything. They’re threatening us with methane and all that sort of stuff. It’s great. You’ve already got that in your bank. You know, the amount of grass you grow more because you’ve got it. There’s another thing the amount of moisture that you can hold because of it. And you know how fast the passage of spring back because it’s there, that it is an indicator and there’s plenty of other indicators to I guess it’s the the buzzword at the moment is around the around the traps.
Regen Ray: Yeah. And so soil tests are really important for you.
Ewan Campbell: Like, yeah, like all the things that I do that I don’t think many do. We do two tests. We do what you’d call a chemical melt. We want to know everything in your soil. And we do the available. And with that, we can actually look at the limiting factors. Most people haven’t understood how damaging aluminium is the soil, and they don’t understand the effect that past use the super phosphate. And I know New Zealand’s had a big use system to phosphate . I think Australia has as well as a lot of parts of the world. Mm-Hmm. When that goes on, it’s soluble as the aluminium and it takes the hydroxide off silica. So it’s the mechanism to remove the aluminium and the soil is gone. Big problem. So if you can biological farming after that and you don’t do anything about getting rid of the aluminium toxicity, just get in the supermarket and have a look at the antiperspirants. Yep, they’re all aluminum base. They’ll kill off. I guess it’s simple science. So I suppose when you look at and that contains the book revise my observations technology and it gives you enough technology and science to to go, Oh, actually, this makes a lot of sense. Yeah, technically, it’s right. And so when we bring these total and available tool to this, you can actually see when you see the sulphur levels fall, you guys. Biology is not working. You’ll see it correspond with the available nitrogen. You know, there’s a bump bump. OK, you got that and you can see what sort of soil you’ve got and what the the things are that you need to go and attend to. And with that, you know, when the biology will start to respond fully. Take soil samples are seriously important and they need to be seriously accurate. We do GPUs, you know, test two level stand a 300 mils to do the carbons at the same time and just accuracy.
Regen Ray: Yeah, yeah. And I, you know, I’m a data person and you’ve spoken a little bit about that. I love tracking and measuring and putting it into a spreadsheet and seen the charts. So I get very excited about the number of apps that are appearing that can help you solve the these problems on your farm and in the paddocks and take photos and log it all in like a journal. And I think that’s super exciting because what you track, you can measure and manage. So I I’m a big believer of soil tests and, you know, just even you like explaining that like such a simple thing, like sometimes the answers are right in front of us. Your deodorant has aluminum in it, you know, like, why is that? Because it kills the bacteria that causes the smell under your armpit? And then that makes sense. It’s like, what if that’s in your soil? It has to be killing the bacteria like such a logical joining of dots. And sometimes the answers are right in front of our faces, but we’re not looking for it and we prefer to ignore it. You know, and so that that is a, you know, penny drop moment for me as well, because many years ago I removed, you know, detox my life a little bit and I removed aluminium deodorants. But I still didn’t join that dot like I knew about the aluminium in deodorant, but I never realized that it had that same kind of effect in our soil. So this is why I love doing these podcasts because soil lovers along with you, I’m learning a lot as well, and I love this co-creation space that we’ve created here with our podcast. And so we’re deep in the soil and the soil test. So you and I want to ask you if you were the voice of our soils, what would you tell us here on Earth?
Ewan Campbell: Look, the soil has a memory and it’s reminded of everything that’s gone on it. And it’s done it in a technical sense. Because silicon is a computer chip just the same as the water molecule, it retains a memory when something’s gone on it chemically, physically, it remembers. And until you sort your soil out and get the right biology to clean that, mess up their imprint stays. Mm-Hmm. And you are revisiting the sins of your fathers. I can tell you that now. And so we’ve been lucky enough to find enough fungal species there. When stimulated by the electrical activity, they will clean the slate. It’s called control alt delete.
Regen Ray: I love that. That is so good.
Ewan Campbell: So when you do that and you get rid of that element of toxicity by using certain forms of hydrated silica s volcanic silicas you can put back the minerals that are required, the biology that’s required, and it will play a marriage game for you, for ever. Yeah, as long as you look after it,
Regen Ray: I think that’s a really cool. It’s like basically our soils have a really good long term memory, and if they remember everything that has been done to them, but they forget, but they won’t forgive until you repair them, you know? So that’s that’s
Ewan Campbell: totally and the consequences that I saw from when I put the electricity into soils that had that memory, even though they had no chemical residues, it actually expressed it in the plants and it was like holy. And that’s all in the book. It’s like the experiences that we’ve seen no one else. You don’t have to go through it. You just, yeah, I can tell you it’s it’s it’s out there.
Regen Ray: I love that you got lots of stories and shared lots of information. You and it’s been an absolute pleasure chatting with you today and digging deeper into our wonderful world of soils. How can our soil lovers and farming community get to hang out with you a little bit more? Where can I see your content, your stuff?
Ewan Campbell: Yeah. So we’ve got a website, Eco Farm Aotearoa, which we’ve repeatedly made, putting more and more videos in there and YouTube channel. And I just get kicked more all the time. I mean, I need you on my side to actually put more content up there. But yeah, books available there, although we’d like to make it available in Australia if we can stay with the postage and and yeah, it this this week, talking with a few Aussies already and I’ve seen a bit of time out there in the past. I like the place. Yeah, yeah, well, I don’t.
Regen Ray: I have you be post COVID could be a different
Ewan Campbell: and I haven’t made it for a while. So yeah,
Regen Ray: yeah. Now I love that. I’ve really enjoyed our chat today and soil lovers has all the links where you can hang out with you and will be around the video in the show notes. Or if you’re joining us for the video experience on the Soil Learning Centre dot com, well, it’s been absolutely great chatting again to bucket load and I’m sure everyone else has as well. You and any final thoughts or partying and bits of advice you’d like our soul lovers to think about
Ewan Campbell: and don’t hide in the corner. You never get out there, get into it.
Regen Ray: Awesome. Well, on that note, soil lovers, thank you very much for hanging out with us. Get outside and get your hands dirty and keep digging deeper into our soils and get out of the corner. All right, until next time, keep curious.