The mission of our series, Farm To Fork Across America, is to broaden the awareness of those authentic people in the betterment of food — from sea to soil to seed and beyond — changing the tides of often toxic and depleting processes for the benefit of everyone’s health. One of those on a mission is Arthur Zeigler, whose research in his own words, “Captures more than a century’s worth of agricultural research of turning sea energy agriculture into a practical reality.”
Half of all species of life on Earth are found in the oceans, and these waters contain 99 percent of the planet’s living space. Not to mention that plankton, the largest single biomass on the planet, exceeding the forests, provides nearly 50 percent of the oxygen in our atmosphere. Marine life falls victim to none of the chronic diseases found in land animals, especially man.
Zeigler believes that mineral deficiencies are the missing link. His technique is to feed nourishment derived from the sea to the soil that nourishes the crops that nourish us, completing a sustainable exchange. This unadulterated form of vitamins, minerals and proteins is the untired treasure from the sea. Where else can you find a soup of more than 89 elements, natural-source minerals, 50,000-plus organic substances and the related bioactivity to benefit your soil?
As my organic farm internship in Bedford Hills, New York, was coming to an end in 2011, it was time to pull my head out of the rich soil of Rainbeau Ridge and look around for more opportunities in farming. Yes, I caught the bug and was craving more. I reached out to Philippe van den Bossche, as I had previously worked with him. Today, his mission is building a comprehensive holistic program to improve the nutrition of soil on farms for a more nutrient-dense food supply worldwide.Van den Bossche offered the chance to conduct a bionutrient soils study with Sea-Crop. He was helping orchestrate soil studies around the globe to collect data on a variety of crops grown in varying soils in an array of different bioclimates. Ag universities, government farms and agronomists on private farms conducted these tests. Naturally, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to be a part of an international study.
I had the chance to work with Sea- Crop in a field trial on six different crops on a 100-acre organic farm in Thermal, California. For more than 10 months, on the other end of the telephone line was Zeigler, confirming, reconfirming and reaffirming proper protocol procedures.
Ziegler and I were two nerds in a pod. We often went off on lengthy tangents relishing the exquisiteness of microbes and their impact on the quality of the food we eat. Considering myself an amateur to this realm of science, Zeigler’s enthusiasm, kindness and patience were invaluable. So as you can imagine, I was looking forward to meeting him at his home tucked in the wild and wooly lumber mill town of Raymond, Washington.
His wife, Kathy, his son, Adam and his grandson greeted me graciously. We gathered around the kitchen table and talked shop for well over two hours. It all started 12 years ago when Adam fed his ill pet tropical fish a prequel supplement that Arthur learned about and developed from the studies of Dr. Maynard Murray. Within days the fish’s health returned, balancing
“the stress” in the aquarium. Then they tested the supplement on orchids, and within two to three months their bloom increased 50 percent. Arthur’s other son, Aaron, tested it on a diseased pear tree, and even without pruning, the tree became disease-free. A few years into testing varying degrees of redesigning the concept be- hind the amendment, they witnessed “epigenetics,” microbial activity becoming multigenerational. In organic farming, microbes are the farmers within the soil, breaking down soil into digestible forms for the vegetables. If microbes aren’t flourishing in your soil, your crops will starve, becoming
susceptible to viral, fungal and insect invasion.
The Zeiglers even tested their supplement on dairy cows suffering from mastitis and chickens with Newcastle disease — the infections cleared. The family knew they were onto something, and four years later went into business with Sea-Crop.
Armed with sprayer and an embryonic wealth of knowledge, I was suddenly well-equipped to initiate this Sea-Crop trial. As it progressed, new doors continued to open. The Linus Pauling Science Center agreed to conduct tissue sample testing for complex compounds, vitamins, antioxidants and other important nutrients inherent to each vegetable. With additional guidance from agronomist Sandy Menasha at Cornell University and from hours spent on the phone with one of my heroes, Dan Kittredge, a master of bio-nutrient dense soil practices, I knew I was in great hands.
Six months later, study complete, results tabulated, what did this bionutrient density study reveal, and what exactly does bionutrient-dense soil imply?
Paradoxically, the health of just 2 feet of soil largely determines the quality of the world’s food. A new scientific frontier, the study of bionutrient-dense soils is modeling this 2 feet and its impact on nutrient uptake. The premise is that a rich, healthy soil dramatically increases a crop’s nutrient content while sustaining soil quality. That being said, the study results were astonishing.
The amendment used is a microbial stimulant derived from the mineral density flowing from mountain streams into oceans. Sea-Crop is mined from this flow and from underwater volcanic sources rich in minerals and the basic elements for plant life. After desalinization, it is ready for use.
To note just a few of the significant increases found in all six crops: cauliflower, Swiss chard, carrots, beets, fennel and spinach, the average increase in crop yield was 62 percent, protein increased 13 percent, Brix increased 35 percent and phenolics by 10 percent.
In a world hungry for nutrition this is a truly significant discovery. Healthy soil will pass its nutrient capacity onto its crops, which in turn, pass higher nutrient-dense foods on to all living things.
Conventional farming is all about getting the highest yields at the cost of the crops’ nutritional value. A burgeoning paradigm in how our food is grown is a new science, a new frontier.
Sea-Crop is nutrition and a pro- biotic for microbes — a seawater- induced fertility for the soil. Zeigler published Seawater Concentrate for Abundant Agriculture, and I’m proud to say the results of my field trial are part of his book.
As we made our way into the family’s garden, we stretched our legs and relished the taste of nutrient-dense tomatoes and basil and toasted to the healthy abundance in his garden with homemade rhubarb apple wine.
Julie Ann Fineman, journalist, award-winning photographer and a founder of The Foodshed Exchange (foodshedexchange.com) and Peak Plate, maintains a personal commitment to supporting sustainable agriculture. Her work includes the Huffington Post series Farm to Fork Across America. Her mission is documenting the innovative professionals who are making a difference in the food supply and expanding the boundaries of a healthier system. Fertility from the Ocean Deep by Charles Walters and Sea Energy Agriculture by Dr. Maynard Murray are available from Acres U.S.A.