6 step soil life check

Any healthy farming enterprise depends on the capacity of  soils to keep the mineral cycles in motion. And this motion is propelled by life in and on the soil.  Each living organism takes nutrients to transform and pass them to other species when they got eaten, they give them away or release them when they die. This complex exchange of nutrients is called the food web.

Since soil life is so important to estimate soil fertility, we aim to see how good is the soil life of our farm and the conditions that enable it.

Here we have 6 basic methods anyone can do anywhere:

Go to  Step 1->


listen to Lecture at Oxford ORFC

Hereby some pictures, of the team, enjoying their time during lecture we gave in Oxford during the last conference of the ORFC last 4-5th January. It was great fun to answer and discuss the potential and scalability of bio-fertilisers.


Recording and presentation available here

The room was more than full. People sitting on the floor, standing everywhere, filling all gaps. There were more than 65 souls on the room and at least other 20 people could not get in the lecture room. Inside, waiting for us to start, we could see a lot of expectation in the faces of the participants. They all wanted to see what bio-fertilizers are, how are they made and what they can do for the soil, the plant and the farmer. Our goal was simple: to inspire, inform and entertain the participants with new fresh and useful information about a new way to look at organic agriculture.

Matt Dunwell chaired the lecture and introduced us and kept track on the time and questions. We divided the presentation in three parts:

  1. JuanFran brilliantly explained the working principles of the bio-fertilizers and presented the current research he is carrying at Ragman’s Farm.
  2. In a top-speed workshop, JuanFran explained the receipt of a basic bio-fertilizer while I was mixing ingredients into a small jar.
  3. I explained the practical applications of the bio-fertilizer and the many experiences we are having with farmers around the globe.

The session was planned for 1 hour but questions kept coming. After the lecture, doors went open and some people went out but many other people got in as we were still answering questions.

Thanks to Juanfran, Matt and the rest of the Ragman’s Farm team and the volunteers and participants for the interesting questions.

Listen the recording and/or download the presentation here.


With Ragmans Farm UK at ORFC 2017

In January 2017…Oxford Real Farmers Conference (UK)

I feel fortunate to sit with Matt Dunwell and Juanfran Lopez  of Ragmans Farm on 4/ 5th January 2017 in Oxford at the ORFC and share our experiences about our work  with bio-fertilizers. For the last two seasons, Juanfran and Matt have been doing very interesting work  with bio-fertilizers in UK in apple trees and vegetables. I have been working with bio-fertilizers in different crops, soils, climates and cultures of  the world.

Putting  our experiences together is an exciting experience worth to be shared with the Real Farmers community.

Besides the presentation, we will combine technique and humor to demonstrate the simplicity (and beauty) of this technology by preparing bio-fertilizers, dressed like real chefs. Want to see it?

  • When: 4 january 2017
  • Where: Oxford, UK
  • For more info/program/tickets about this event, go to: http://orfc.org.uk/



Rockin Soils was in October 2016 in Nicaragua to assist the Union of Cooperatives COSATIN with the optimization of organic fertilizers. To assess raw materials, improve the production process and optimize the quality control system to increase the quality of the organic fertilizers.

Growing organic Coffee in Nicaragua, between 700 and 1000m altitude is challenging. Sometimes it does not rain in months and suddenly a storm can leave easily 20 mm in few hours. This erratic tropical weather is often worsen by periodic events like “el niño”. With all these extreme events, the  fragile volcanic soils struggle to keep in shape.

The Farmers of Boaco rely on coffee, ginger and turmeric as main cash crops and they also grow many other fruits and vegetables for own consumption. Farmers know best how to make compost though they find difficult to access to raw materials and often do not get the time/space to produce it. They rather buy it from somebody they trust.

This reliable compost provider in Boaco is the Farmers Union Tierra Nueva. Tierra Nueva is well known in the country for their good quality organic coffee. It is an impressive good coffee that grows at less than 1000m of altitude.

Their organic coffee is sold in small scale shops over the whole country under the brand Lo Sano.  Actually a lot of their coffee is reaching European shops. Looking ahead in the future, the Union decided to cover the demand for affordable top quality organic fertilizers. Few years ago they started a composting project. Now they have a composting plant and will be able to provide with organic fertilizer to hundreds of farmers of the area.


(Dutch)Benutten van lokale grondstoffen maakt kleine boer weerbaar. Ekoland, mei 2016

In Juni 2014 heb ik voor het eerst gereisd naar Mbinga, in Tanzania om koffieboeren te ondersteunen met de productie van meststoffen. Afgelopen mei in Ekoland schreef ik de volgende artikel in Ekoland over bijzondere ervaring. ( Ekoland (NL)

In juli 2016, ben ik weer gegaan en de vooruitgang van deze boeren gezien. Samen hebben wij gekeken hoe de bodem, planten en vruchten veranderen op de bemesting met Bocashi en Biofertilisers.

(Dutch) Nature in the Coffee. Presentation at ARTIS Amsterdam

Door: Menno Simons (Bocca) en Rubén Borge (Rockin Soils).

het begint bij de bodem

Sta je er weleens bij stil hoe het kan dat er zoveel verschillende smaken koffie zijn? Dat begint al bij de bodem. De verschillende smaken van koffie worden mede bepaald door minerale bodemelementen. Microbiologie zorgt dat minerale elementen uit vulkanische bodems beschikbaar komen voor de koffiestruiken. De boer speelt een cruciale rol in dit proces. Door een rijk bodemleven produceren gezonde struiken de beste bessen.

respect voor de natuur

Rockin Soils werkt over de hele wereld aan het verbeteren van de natuurlijke vruchtbaarheid van de bodem in samenwerking met de lokale gemeenschappen. Koffieproducent Bocca beheert het gehele proces vanaf de productie en oogst van de bessen tot aan het roosteren en zetten van de koffiebonen. Tijdens de lezing ‘de natuur in koffie’ leggen Bocca Coffee en Rockin Soils uit hoe er met respect voor de natuur en natuurlijke processen mooiere en betere producten geproduceerd kunnen worden en waarom de lokale boer daarbij betrokken moet worden. Kom luisteren. Én proeven.