Training and Research on Compost and Compost Teas to Increase Soil Health and Microbiology on Southwest Missouri Farms

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2018: $15,000.00
Projected End Date: 02/28/2020
Grant Recipient: Ozark Mountain Permaculture
Region: North Central
State: Missouri
Project Coordinator:
Ben Tegeler
Ozark Mountain Permaculture

Information Products

Life in the Soils Presentation (Conference/Presentation Material)


  • Miscellaneous: Compost, Actively aerated compost tea, and compost extract


  • Crop Production: agroforestry, biological inoculants, foliar feeding, no-till, nutrient cycling, nutrient management, water management
  • Education and Training: demonstration, farmer to farmer, mentoring, technical assistance, workshop
  • Farm Business Management: new enterprise development
  • Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity
  • Pest Management: compost extracts, weed ecology, Compost Teas- Foliage Sprays
  • Production Systems: permaculture
  • Soil Management: composting, organic matter, soil analysis, soil microbiology, Soil Food Web
  • Sustainable Communities: infrastructure analysis, leadership development, local and regional food systems, new business opportunities, partnerships, public participation, quality of life, urban agriculture

    Proposal summary:

    Compost and compost teas are integral parts of organic farming. The large populations of beneficial bacteria, nematodes, fungi, and protozoa found in compost can correct deficiencies in the soil food web, create healthy and fertile soil, and act as an organic/natural pesticide. Compost is a sustainable method for erosion control, plant health, land and stream reclamation, and environmental remediation.

    Compost containing beneficial microbiology is not commercially available in Southwest Missouri and represents a large gap in our community’s ability to create healthy soil, regenerate our ecosystems, and engage in sustainable, organic agriculture best practices. Composting best practices require training to identify and create optimal soil microbe ratios for use in crops and permaculture systems. This project will provide training and education to Southwest Missouri farmers and at-risk homeless youth to develop small scale replicable compost and compost tea systems with measurable microbe health using demonstrated best practices. Using a highly successful train- the-trainer model developed by Springfield Community Gardens through a National Association of Conservation Districts grant, workshops will include education on soil health and creation of compost and compost tea systems. In conjunction with the project, an abandoned urban lot in an impoverished neighborhood will be remediated and revitalized.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Develop an economical and replicable small farm process for compost and compost tea recipes with optimal soil health for plant disease.
    2. Create positive environmental impacts and a strong foundation for a resilient intergenerational food system by increasing soil life and and resiliency.
    3. Empower and educate the community with practical tools to positively transform the environment and local food production using soil science and regenerative.
    4. Build on previous collaborative efforts of individuals and organizations in the community who are skilled at implementing and teaching sustainable agriculture and conservation methods.
    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.