Soil Foodweb Pioneer Elaine Ingham to Lead Workshop on Building Healthy Soils

For Immediate Release
March 9, 2017

Contact: Center for Sustainability

SAN LUIS OBISPO — The Cal Poly Center for Sustainability will host a daylong “Healthy Foodweb, Healthy Soils” workshop, led by renowned soil microbiologist Elaine Ingham, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday, April 21, at the Inn at Morro Bay.

Ingham pioneered the soil foodweb concept, underlying the relationship between soil biodiversity and plant productivity. Her user-friendly approach to ensuring healthy soils is grounded in years of research and applicable to a wide range of farming and gardening settings. 

Ingham demonstrates that enhancement of soil biology leads to improved nutrient cycling, reduced water use, reduced weed populations, and reduced need for chemical inputs while improving plant production and nutrition.

Workshop topics will include soil foodweb principles, soil organism identification, how to make aerobic compost/humus to enhance soil life, making and applying biological extracts and teas, and case studies in improving soil ecosystems.

Registration for the workshop is $65 (which includes lunch) prior to March 31. After that date, the cost is $95. The event will conclude with an optional wine and cheese reception for an additional $10. The workshop is being presented with the generous support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program and the Harold J. Miossi Charitable Trust, as part of the Cal Poly Center for Sustainability’s soil health initiatives.

Registration details and more information about the “Healthy Foodweb, Healthy Soils” workshop is available at In addition, the American Society of Agronomy has approved the course to provide six continuing education units for Certified Crop Advisors (four soil and water management and two nutrient management units). 

About Elaine Ingham
Elaine Ingham is founder and president of Soil Foodweb Inc., a business that grew out of her Oregon State University research program in soil ecology. Since 2014, Ingham has been the managing scientist at the Environment Celebration Institute in California, a nonprofit research facility focused on scientific experiments assessing the impact of soil biology on plant production. From 2011 to 2014, she was the chief scientist for the Rodale Institute in Pennsylvania. Ingham earned a master’s degree in microbiology from Texas A&M University and a doctorate in microbiology (with an emphasis in soil) from Colorado State University. She is co-author of the USDA’s Soil Biology Primer.

About the CAFES Center for Sustainability
The Center for Sustainability ( is a cross-disciplinary initiative in Cal Poly’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences that is dedicated to advancing education on sustainable food and agricultural systems through curriculum, professional development and on-farm education.

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