A Passion for Soil

While in West Lafayette at the Han Institute project meeting I was introduced to a man who claimed to have a passion for soil and how it relates to plants, animals, and humans. He was a project manager by trade, most recently working for Eli Lilly through BCForward in Indianapolis. He’s a reflexologist on the side, which is like acupuncture, but without the needles.

He told the story of how his brother, while working for Albert Einstein, asked Einstein if his famous equation could be inverted to create mass from energy. The story goes that Einstein just rocked back and forth in his rocking chair a bit before saying, “I’ll leave that one for you to figure out.” His brother later worked on developing formulas for ionization, which was the beginning of his work in soil and plant science. His brother now consults with farmers about how to improve yields without fertilizers, herbicides, or pesticides.

The man’s name is Jerry Smith. He’s of Jewish descent, having had his name changed upon his ancestors entering the United States. He asked us if we knew the purpose insects serve? I said to clean up plant waste, but he said it was to eat unhealthy plants. He said the only way to tell the true health of a plant is to use a spectrometer. Unhealthy plants contain less sugar and are easier to digest. Then he asked us why weeds exist? He said it was to add nutrients back into the soil to prepare for other plants.

In other words, his brother believed and has proven that healthy plants need no insecticide and healthy soil grows no weeds. These are pretty bold statements, but it gets even bolder. He said that plants, like corn, that have broad leaves get most of their nitrogen from the air, not from the soil. He said that people knew this back in the 1700’s, but somehow the knowledge was lost. On top of that he said corn should be able to water itself from the moisture in the air as long as the soil was healthy.

So what are some characteristics of healthy soil? It’s soft. It has a smell to it. It’s cool in the summer and warm in winter. And it should have the same moisture level as the air. If any of these things aren’t true, it means the soil is dead or damaged. He did mention one way to restore the soil. He told a story of a farmer with a sandy hill. His brother asked him if he could plant some buck wheat on it for a year. As soon as the buck wheat would turn to seed, he’d plow it under. After the third time, the soil had turned black. The buck wheat had taken nitrogen from the air and energy from the sun and put it into the ground. He had created matter from energy.

Corn Leaf

Grain Harvest? More like Great Harvest!

I recently wrote about how I typically work and network in Indianapolis and while it started out as a way to discuss how to get the most out of little pieces of the city (what in my mind I call “hacking the day”), it ended up being more about networking and how I spend a typical day in the Carmel, Indiana area.

After writing it I ended up telling my friend, Jason, about Jerry at the Great Harvest Bread Company in Carmel, Indiana. Jerry recently joined our BNI group in Carmel, and his business cards can be used to get a free loaf of bread.

They are located next to the Stacked Pickle across from Meijer on Penn and Carmel Dr. They grind their grain each morning and only use natural ingredients.

They want to do catering so Jerry is wanting to come give a groups a free catered lunch as a way to advertise their catering service. If you’re interested, contact:

Great Harvest Bread Co.
12505 Old Meridian, Suite 100
Carmel, IN 46032

I recently had lunch at Great Harvest Bread Company and I wanted to share a little bit about the experience. When I first walked in I got greeted by a fresh-baked slice of bread to try while I looked over the menu. Since I had just got back from Tom and Chee’s in Cincinnati, I was still craving a BLT so I ordered a BLT panini. Drinks were self-serve and coffee was available from a pump carafe in three flavors. After a short while, my sandwich was brought to me along with a wrapped pickle spear, which was delicious.

Indianapolis Networking with BNI and Rainmakers

Yesterday, I wrote about attending an Indianapolis networking group called Linking Indiana, but recently I have joined both BNI (Business Networking International) and Rainmakers.

I go to the BNI in Carmel, Indiana called “Network Masters”. It’s a referral group where only one person from each professional specialty is allowed. This means that there can’t be two web designers in a group, for example. They call it “exclusivity” and it helps you to be “the guy” for your particular industry or specialty.

BNI is also strict on attendance, meaning that you have to either attend every meeting or find a substitute. You’re only allowed a limited amount of absences per year, but this can be a good thing because you know people are actually going to be there to hear what you have to say. The point is to learn about each other’s businesses so you can be a good referral partner when you’re out working in your field.

Rainmakers is different than BNI in that its events aren’t required, but its “power circle” meetings are. The power circle meetings act more like BNI meetings because their seats are exclusive, meaning you can have only one type of profession in each meeting. The difference in power circles to BNI is that power circles are supposed to be made up of service professionals who naturally refer to each other, making the group potentially more effective than a general BNI group.

Anyone can invite visitors to a BNI meeting or a Rainmakers event, but visitors can only attend twice before having to sign up as a member. BNI and Rainmakers are comparable in price per year and both have their advantages. If you’re interested in attending one, but don’t want to go alone, contact me and we’ll see if we can go to an event together.