Below are short bios for the 2017 Living Soils Symposium presenters and panelists, in alphabetical order.
Lawrence is the co-founder of Gary Ducket, a Philadelphia-based fermentation and pickle collective that specializes in rare peppers and Korean naturally farmed vegetables. He focused on vegetable farming, design, and branding development. Lawrence has has refined his practices, production, and crop quality through regenerative farming, Korean Natural Farming, and fermentation. In that time he has consulted for large scale cannabis, fruit, and vegetable farms providing hands-on services, education, technique, ideology, crop planning, and strain curation. Lawrence has been growing cannabis for 8 years and recently co-founded a cannabis start-up in southern Oregon.
Matt Davenport is certified in Permaculture Design by the Colorado Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute with 14+ years of experience in self-educated cannabis cultivation and research, 11 + years solvent-free hash making experience and 7 years in the application of Permaculture/Living Soil Systems to cannabis horticulture. He is the founder and CEO of Permalos Consulting, a regenerative cannabis consulting business focused on the design, implementation and operational management of its cannabis cultivation systems. These systems are proven to produce the safest, most organic, sustainable and cost effective legal/medical cannabis on the market.
Jesse Dodd is a lifelong gardener with a keen interest in living soils. He specializes in multifaceted composting strategies, utilizing appropriate biology, based on location and materials in an attempt to optimize the process. By tailoring composting techniques, Jesse develops site specific plans to efficiently turn organic matter and agricultural waste into living soils while sequestering carbon and improving the quality of the medicine. His hope is to instill in others how important living soils are to our life on this planet and the need to return our organic wastes back into the natural cycles.
He is the creator of Biovortex, a living conceptual art piece with the goal of influencing the cannabis industry in the direction of a profitable and environmentally regenerative future. It's his belief that through the development of regenerative cannabis farms we can create tremendous economic growth and opportunity, while having a positive impact on the environment.
Chris Jagger is owner/operator of Blue Fox Farm, a 40 acre organic vegetable farm in the Applegate Valley of southern Oregon. He is also owner/head consultant for Blue Fox Agricultural Services, a full service agricultural supply and consultation company focusing on ecological solutions for the modern farmer. Both his farm and his agricultural services use Living Soils as a foundation to scale farming operations efficiently and profitably. He rounds out his involvement with the agricultural community by hosting the Living Soils Symposium each March. The symposium is an interactive conference for farmers, interested in regenerative farming techniques, to exchange knowledge and gain insight in a peer-to-peer environment.
Josh & Kelly are the owners of Dragonfly Earth Medicine, a family owned business and farm dedicated to the regeneration and health of the earth and its humans. Vitality of water, soil, plants, humans, mycology and cellular renewal has been their focus for over 25 years. Their surroundings of glaciers, mountains peaks, forests, healthy ecosystems and vibrant northern life gives us inspiration to keep it pure and natural. They have started with the soil, which, in its most basic form, holds nutrients for the creation of life. DEM recognizes that each region has its own soil which contains a microbial community that supports indigenous bacteria, fungi, microbes and ultimately plant life that is particular to that region. It is their mission to help people ally with nature and to understand how to utilize natural systems and become self-sufficient.
Sam Knowlton is an agroecologist, and the principal consultant and founder of Soil Symbiotics, a leading soil and crop health company offering a whole-systems based approach to soil microbiology and plant nutrition. He primarily works with a variety of medium to large scale fruit and vegetable growers along with specialty crops like cacao and coffee. Sam provides training and education as well as crop nutrition programs for a growing number of farms throughout the US, Hawaii, Mexico and Central America. Fluent in Spanish and Portuguese, Sam is a featured speaker at Universities, corporate events and conferences.
Nick Mahmood is the owner, founder and farmer for Green Source Gardens Nicholas believes that the key to a healthy future is founded in how we care for the Earth. With a mission to change agriculture into a practice that cleans and enhances the environment while at the same time deepening a relationship to the natural world, he believes that regenerative methods and systems are the answer to restoring health to the planets abused and overused lands.
Elizabeth Luca-Mahmood is a passionate land steward who has a background in Natural History, Ecology and Illustration. Veering off a path toward academia she began farming vegetables in the Southwest. She has since been cultivating her love of plants and animals with an ecological focus on regenerative farming systems and holistic livestock management. She is co-owner and founder of Green Source Gardens with her husband Nicholas and they live in Southern Oregon on their 80 acre farm.
Dan Mar, a certified permaculture designer, is the owner of High Tide Permaculture, a company focused on passive-integrated systems, alternative systems to compliancy and regenerative land use. Dan created a land use certification program called Watershed Conscious Property, which focuses on including rainwater catchment for irrigation, closing the loop onsite for recycling of nutrients for plant nutrition, building living soils for carbon sequestration, groundwater recharge strategies to enhance in-stream flows, and holistic property management based on seasonal timelines. He is also co-owner of Compliant Farms, a watershed and compliant cannabis farms consulting company, and has consulted with over 200 cannabis farms. Rather than taking a design and drop approach, Dan sees educational opportunities for the client so that the long-term sustainability is built right in.
Jaya Palmer is a biological horticulture consultant with a passion for sustainable human settlement and cognitive liberty. His mission is to excite and inspire people to utilize cannabis as a fulcrum to raise consciousness. Jaya believes we can realize the genetic potential of plants with organic, regenerative methods that focus on feeding and diversifying biology. His passion for science, spirituality, and sustainability led him on an autodidactic quest requiring the commitment of years of his life to homesteading, intentional community, eco-restoration, mushroom and vegetable production, buddhism, and integral consciousness. Inspired by the need to keep cannabis nontoxic, Jaya’s focus has shifted to developing a certification that supports the emerging definition of sustainable business: The Quadruple Bottom Line; People, Planet, Profit, Purpose.
Matthew Slaughter is a soil science professional who received an AAS in Computer User Support, graduating with honors from Linn-Benton Community College. He started Earthfort in 2005, and has since traveled to nine countries, worked with every major crop type, and has consulted in most of the continental United States. In Santa Isabel, Guatemala he worked to help resolve issues on a coffee plantation on the brink of collapse through teaching them how the biology in their soil worked. One of Matthew's most difficult problems was how to convince large-scale farmers to consider biological farming and to greatly reduce barriers to biological farming for large commercial producers.
Don Tipping farms at Seven Seeds Farm, a small, organic family farm in the Siskiyou Mountains of SW Oregon. They produce certified organic fruits, vegetables, seeds, herbs, wool, eggs, and lamb. Seven Seeds helps to mentor new farmers through internships and workshops including the biennial Seed Academy. Seven Seeds has also been active in USDA Western SARE, Organic Seed Alliance and other seed initiatives to advance the development of open pollinated organic seeds. In 2009 we began Siskiyou Seeds, a bioregional organic seed company operated from the home farm. Don helped to found the Siskiyou Sustainable Cooperative which manages a 300 share CSA, commercial seed growing, and an equipment co-op and internship curriculum among 12 cooperating farms. He also co-founded the Family Farmers Seed Cooperative, a seed grower, marketing and distribution cooperative comprised of 10 western organic farms.
Mike Wert is an animator, artist, adjunct professor, and regenerative farming consultant holding a BS degree in Media Arts & Animation. He's consulted for large scale greenhouse/outdoor cannabis farms in Oregon as well as fruit and vegetable farms on the east coast. His media/design knowledge has allowed him to bridge the gap between art and farming through brand development and unconventional marketing.
Mike has spent 5 years learning about Korean Natural Farming, fermentation, and microbe cultivation. He's spent 6 years freelancing in commercial motion-design and several semesters teaching motion graphics courses at Philadelphia University. Having grown up in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey, he was immersed in the forest for most of his childhood where he feels he originally made a deep connection with the soil.
Shane Young founded Natural Enemies in Oregon in 2014. Leveraging his extensive background of more than 10 years in commercial greenhouses, he promotes chemical-free cannabis growing. With the availability of beneficial predatory insects, it is no longer necessary to incorporate harmful and risky pesticides into commercial grow operations. Shane leverages his extensive background in commercial greenhouses assisting cannabis growers to produce plants that always test clean before market.