STEPS TO FOLLOW TO BECOME A SOIL LIFE CONSULTANT
Please first provide evidence of completion of the following courses taught by Dr. Elaine Ingham.
COMPLETE THE CLASSES
- Life In The Soil Class
- Compost Class
- Compost Tea / Extract Class
- Microscope Class
Candidates must take Life in the Soil class, Compost class, Compost Tea class, and Introduction to the Microscope class.
- The current Life in the Soil course is located at www.lifeinthesoilclasses.com. This course is periodically updated with the most recent information. The update lectures will be modified to include new information as well.
- Once the microscope class is taken, practice with that microscope must be maintained..
- Classes taken through Common Ground, AMMA Center, Ojai Center for Regenerative Agriculture, and Permaculture Voices meet part, or all of the class requirements.
- If any Life in the Soil Class was taken before 2010, a short update is required, either by viewing the appropriate lectures from the current Life in the Soil Class, or by taking a current two-day “live” Life in the Soil Class that includes this update information about nutrients in soil, nutrient retention, carbon sequestration, etc. Compost, Compost Tea, and Microscope Classes must also be taken.
- Since the Farming Secrets/Soil Learning Center course was filmed in 2008, updates and retakes are necessary — the Life in the Soil updated classes, the Compost Class, the Compost Tea Class, and the Microscope Classes must be taken.
- No matter where you took the four Class Training (online, “live” workshops, etc.) Quizzes must be taken before signing up for the Certified Soil Life Consultant Program and a 90% or above average must be received. If a 90% or above average is not achieved, then the online classes must be retaken at a 50% discount and quizzes must be passed with a 90% or above average score to apply to the Certification Program.
Week-Long “Live” Sessions with Dr. Ingham that includes Life in the Soil, Compost, Compost Tea & Microscope Classes are accepted.
Once Life in the Soil, Compost, Compost Tea, and Microscope classes are finished (passing grade), then practical demonstration of what was learned is needed and will be part of Phase II of the Certification Program.
Once you have completed the four courses and passed the quizzes with a 90% or above average then you can proceed to apply for the Certification Program. .
1. Please provide evidence of completion of the following four classes taught by Dr. Elaine Ingham by emailing us the date the classes were taken, how many days each class was, and the location where the classes were held.
Life In The Soil Class
Compost Tea / Compost Extract Class
You must have completed those four classes listed above before applying to the program to become a Certified Soil Life Consultant.
2. Please send us a resume or your background experience and a brief (no more than 1 page) description of why you want to become a Certified Soil Life Consultant.
Once your application is reviewed, we will send you an email regarding your enrollment status and upon acceptance you must pay the certification fee for Phase II.
PAY CERTIFICATION FEES:
THE FEES INCLUDE:
- Administrative fees
- Document checking
- Mentoring with Certified Soil Life Mentors, Dr. Ingham & Dr. Rollins
- $700 for Phase II (20 hours of mentoring @$35 an hour). If more time is needed additional money will be required.
- $1400 for Phase III (40 hours of mentoring @35 an hour). If more time is needed additional money will be required. You pay this fee after being approved by your mentor as passing Phase II.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT:
1. MAKE COMPOST
Make compost according to the instructions in the compost class that you took and the information that your mentor provides. This can take a full growing season. So, start the process of making good compost ASAP.
- Get the recipe right
- Get the full food web present
- Get the food web functioning in the pile
2. RECORD DATA
Collect information throughout the full composting process. We will provide you with a Compost Ingredient Recipe Template and a Compost Log Template to use to record the data required.
- Starting materials
- Amounts of the materials used
- When and how you put the pile together
- Temperature data
- Moisture data
- Turning data
3. PERFORM BIOLOGICAL ANALYSIS
When the pile is finished, (i.e. back to ambient temperatures) collect more information. You can use the microscope data template you received during the Microscope Class when recording the biological assessment:
- Perform a biological analysis of the pile.
- Include that data in your information about the pile.
- The pile must be turned a minimum of three times.
4. MAKE SUCCESSFUL PILES THREE TIMES CONSECUTIVELY
Once you work out the recipe for your piles:
- Document that you can consistently make good compost.
- At least three piles should be made, the measurements made, and data collected to assure that the pile is real compost.
- Document that all your piles reach appropriate temperatures.
- Document that all your piles maintain adequate levels of moisture.
- Document that all your piles are turned the required number of times.
- Document that all your mature piles are maintained and contain the full food web for the plants you want to grow.
- Note that we expect that the piles will be made consecutively so that you will apply what you learned from making each pile to the next pile.
5. MAKE COMPOST TEA AND EXTRACTS
Please make compost tea and extracts from each of these piles:
- Document the recipe used.
- Document the biology produced for each tea and extract made.
6. SUBMIT DATA FOR APPROVAL
Send your data to your mentor.
The Quality of your composts, extracts, and teas must be approved by your mentor.
7. SUBMIT PLAN FOR CONVERTING LAND
After compost and compost tea/extract quality and data have been approved:
Formally submit your plan for converting an area of land from a non-biological, un-healthy plot of dirt, into a biologically managed ecosystem.
This final third phase of certification can now be commenced:
- After the online classes have been satisfactorily completed or workshops completed and quizzes passed with 90% or above average scores.
- After the required documentation has been provided.
- After compost, compost tea/extract has been made by trainee and assessment with the microscope has been approved by your mentor.
Then, using the compost you have made:
You begin to perform the process of using biology to grow healthy plants.
The land you choose to use can be your own land, a client’s land, or on the Environment Celebration Farm in northern California.
1. LAND SITE CHOICE AND APPROVAL
Choose the property where you are going to convert the dirt into soil.
- The land you choose can be your own land, a client’s property, a friend’s property, or the Environment Celebration Farm, etc.
- Please get approval of your land choice from your mentor before proceeding.
2. THE PLAN
- Walk the land to be converted.
- Map the land with respect to the different habitats to be improved.
- Take pictures of the property as it exists now.
- Identify different areas on the property (for example: field, ridge line, pond/stream, gully forest, house garden, etc.) just as was done for the Boston example in the class.
- Define your desired plant(s) — or what you want to grow in the coming season — in each area.
- Define where soil samples will be taken, how many, how often, and what measurements will be taken on each sample date.
- Decide when compost will be applied (solid or liquid), how much, and how the applications will be made.
3. SUBMIT THE PLAN AND DISCUSS
Once your plan is complete, send the plan to your mentor.
Define what you mean by successful conversion.
Schedule a Skype conversation with your mentor to discuss your plan.
4. SET UP THE CALENDAR FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PLAN
Set up a calendar with all sampling dates, sample points, and assays to be performed clearly set forth. You will receive forms, templates, and reporting data needed. Discuss results from soil sampling. Discuss results from soil sampling.
- All plans may needing changing as you progress on your project.
- If changes happen, those changes will need to be discussed with your mentor.
5. SAMPLE RESULTS
Decide when discussions of sample results need to be done. Determine organisms coming out of sprayer nozzles to see if organisms are damaged in transit.
- Discuss results from compost, extract, tea, and soil sampling.
- Discussion of results from accessing soil and plant health.
- Compare results between the “with biology” and “without biology” areas. Are they significantly different?
6. SUBMIT SUCCESS STORY
Write up the Success Story (see examples on this website under Success Stories) with pictures and compost, compost tea, and compost extract data that was applied appropriately. Discuss with mentor, Dr. Ingham, and Dr. Rolllins. Your Success Story will appear on the ECI website.
- Compost Data
- Soil Data
- Compost Tea Data
- Get approval of Success Story
7. CERTIFICATION AS A SOIL LIFE CONSULTANT
A Certificate as a Certified Soil Life Consultant will be sent when the above steps have been completed and approved.
- Annual updates of your success story and a new success story about what happened during the year need to be submitted to Dr. Ingham and Dr. Rollins on an annual basis to maintain your Certified Consultant status. New stories will be added to the website.
- A write-up of the process (any oops! are to be included) performed, the data from assessment of the microbiology, and chemistry of the land through the conversion and documentation of success (however you plan to measure success) is required. This information will be posted to the websites.
- A Certificate will be issued when Dr. Ingham and Dr. Rollins approve your work as being a successful example of conversion to a healthy biological system and you will join the group of consultants that work closely with Dr. Ingham.