Ecotechnics and Biospherics
Posted on October 8, 2015

Innovative Approaches to Living Sustainably


Mark Nelson: “Ecotechnics and Biospherics: Innovative Approaches to Living Sustainably” will be Keynote speaker at the Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD) Sustainability Summit on Friday, April 15 at 9:00 am.


$ 99 Saturday Workshop:

99.00 $

Room M233, second floor of M, look in Map for best parking in S1:


8:45 am Registration

9 am Workshop starts

12:30-1:30 Lunch

4:30 pm Workshop conclusion


Dr. Mark Nelson – Ecotechnics

Dr. Mark Nelson brings a world of practical knowledge and unique perspectives to the Sustainability Summit. He has a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering Sciences from the University of Florida where he worked with the founder of the new field of ecological engineering, Prof. Howard Odum. Mark is a leading researcher in ecological restoration, environmental technologies and space life support. He was a member of the eight person biospherian team in the first two year experiment in Biosphere 2, the world’s first laboratory for global ecology. That mini-world housed a rainforest, savannah, desert, mangrove marsh and coral reef ocean along with a farm to feed the eight people. Everything was recycled inside, which necessitated that farming and all supporting technologies be accomplished in a healthy, non-polluting and sustainable way. This led to major environmental technology advances like air purification using soils and plants, constructed wetlands for wastewater treatment and reuse as well as important insights into how to restore and manage key wilderness biomes. Mark co-founded and heads the Institute of Ecotechnics which has worked for four decades around the world in innovative demonstration projects in challenging environments. These range from world city (London), arid southwest deserts (Santa Fe, New Mexico) where Mark developed organic orchards and vegetable gardens and methods for reversing desertification, sustainable forestry in the rainforest (Puerto Rico), regeneration of overgrazed tropical savannah (West Australia), maintaining traditional polyculture in the Mediterranean (Aix-en-Provence, France) and working on ocean health and sea people cultures in the world ocean with the Research Vessel Heraclitus. His Institute consulted to the Caravan of Dreams jazz and theatre complex in Ft. Worth in the 1980s, demonstrating that global solutions have to include the vital role of cities, including urban greening and enriching cultural diversity. Biosphere 2 inspired Mark to start Wastewater Gardens International bringing cutting-edge and affordable ecological approaches to several hundred projects in 14 countries around the world. Mark’s work includes rigorous science coupled with the necessity of finding low-cost, green and low tech approaches. The goal is to develop ways of enhancing human life while protecting our global biosphere. His books include: “Space Biospheres” (with John Allen), “Life Under Glass: the Inside Story of Biosphere 2” (with two fellow biospherians) and most recently: “The Wastewater Gardener: Preserving the Planet One Flush at a Time”.

About the speaker:

Dr. Mark Nelson has been hands-on on pioneering ecological projects around the world. His Institute of Ecotechnics has for over three decades been working on ecological restoration and sustainable ranching and farming/orchardry in the tropical savannah of outback Australia (in the Kimberley of Western Australia), the semi-arid temperate grasslands of the U.S. Southwest (near Santa Fe, New Mexico) and demonstrating sustainable forestry in the rainforest (in Puerto Rico). Originally a city boy from New York City, Mark knows that what happens in the world cities is crucial to our transition to a sustainable future. His Institute has its base in London where they showcase cutting-edge artists from around the world, and create a space where art, science and ecology can meet. His Institute was also involved in the Caravan of Dreams jazz club and theater in Fort Worth, Texas in the 1980s, helping bring life to a downtown city center, with a geodesic dome featuring cacti and succulents from Texas and other bio-regions.

Mark also brings a unique personal perspective to our shared challenge of learning to live in harmony with Earth’s biosphere. He was a member of the first team of “biospherians” who conducted a two-year experiment in Biosphere 2, the large closed ecological system facility in southern Arizona which served as a laboratory for studying our global ecology, as well as an early prototype for long-term space habitation. That experience has catalyzed his appreciation that every action has consequences and that changing the way we think about living in our planetary biosphere is crucial to changing how we treat it.

Among the topics that Mark will speak on and explore more deeply in the Saturday workshop are:

  •     intensive organic farming and fruit growing in water-limited environments, replenishing soil fertility, approaches which can help green our cities;
  •     ecological approaches to sewage treatment and water re-use with constructed wetlands.,
  •     graywater irrigation and other emerging ways to prevent water pollution and conserve valuable freshwater supplies;
  •     air purification using soil and plants, a solution to indoor and outside air pollution
  •     the development of our understanding of the biosphere and the role humans play in its  cycles and co-evolution
  •     the need for dialogue between scientists and artists and between cultures since we share our planet in common
  •     the ability of each of us to make a difference and regain our sense of connectedness with the biosphere

Mark has a Ph.D. in environmental engineering (worked with systems ecologist and father of ecological engineering, H.T. Odum at the University of Florida), a M.S. in Watershed Management from the University of Arizona and a B.A. from Dartmouth College. He helps edit the journal, Life Sciences in Space Research and organizes sessions at space science conferences. His books include: “Space Biospheres” (with John Allen), “Life Under Glass: the Inside Story of Biosphere 2” (with two fellow biospherians) and most recently: “The Wastewater Gardener: Preserving the Planet One Flush at a Time”.

Mark is Chairman and CEO of the Institute of Ecotechnics (, a U.S. and U.K. non-profit research group working on ways to bring ecology and technics into balance; head of the Biospheric Design Division of Global Ecotechnics Corporation ( and founder of Wastewater Gardens International ( which has brought ecological approaches to projects in  more than a dozen countries worldwide.

Starting in the 1970s, Mark worked in the high desert grassland south of Santa Fe, New Mexico where he made hundreds of tons of compost, planted over a thousand fruit and windbreak trees, and helped develop a highly productive organic vegetable farm, creating an oasis in previously overgrazed and eroding country. Since 1978 Mark has worked in the semi-arid tropical savannah of West Australia where he helped start Savannah Systems P/L a project centered on the pasture regeneration and enrichment of a 5000 acre property in the Kimberley region. He has also helped develop the research program at Las Casas de la Selva, a project for sustainable forestry in the tropical rainforest in the mountains of Puerto Rico. Mark has co-authored papers on the results of the line-planting of 40,000 trees on an 1100 acre property to showcase responsible enrichment and utilization of secondary forest.

Mark was a summa cum laude graduate from Dartmouth, Phi Beta Kappa and is a member of Phi Kappa Phi, the honors engineering society. Mark was awarded the Yuri Gagarin Jubilee Medal, 1993 for outstanding service to international cooperation in space and the environment by the Russian Cosmonautics Federation; and elected a Fellow of the World Academy of Arts and Sciences (2008), Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (1998) and Fellow of the Explorers Club (1994).


Biosphere 2 facility in southern Arizona. The white domed structure on the far right is one of two “lungs” (expansion chambers) connected to the main structures by air tunnels. Population: 30,000 tons of soil, 3800 species of plants and animals, 8 humans.



Biosphere 2 first experiment crew on the beach prior to closure. From left: Mark (Laser) van Thillo, Dr. Roy Walford, Abigail (Gaie) Alling, Linda Leigh, Jane Poynter, Sally Silverstone, Mark Nelson and Taber MacCallum (photo: D.P. Snyder).



Biosphere 2’s half acre farm which supplied eight people with a healthy, organic diet including a small amount of eggs, milk and meat. It was one of the most productive systems in the world and used no harmful chemicals and maintained soil fertility.



Mark Nelson conducting research in the mangrove ecosystem of Biosphere 2.



Measuring plants to track rates of growth and increase in biomass were done by Linda Leigh and Mark Nelson in the rainforest as well as the other terrestrial wilderness biomes of Biosphere 2.



Room M233, second floor of M, look in Map for best parking in S1:


8:45 am Registration

9 am Workshop starts

12:30-1:30 Lunch

4:30 pm Workshop conclusion









Posted on March 21, 2014

DR. Elaine Ingham
March 20-21, 2015





Learn from Dr. Ingham from home.
NEW LIVE WEBINAR We will be offering a livestream version of March 20th workshop,
to purchase your ticket for the online training click here

Friday March 20 9:00 am – 10:00 am
Lecture: Introduction to the Soil Food Web Free conference
Venue Cedar Valley College – CVC's Gym
registration here

Saturday March 21 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Workshop: Soil Food Web and Compost Tea Technology
Venue Cedar Valley College – M Building rooms: M121-M122

99.00 $


“ You are not a gardener, a farmer, a rancher, a landscape architect nor a greens keeper instead, you are a soil manager.” Dr Elaine Ingham PhD. This distinction alone can change the way we wrap our minds around growing anything.  We might be able to work smarter rather harder.  Instead of being at the mercy of the soil, its present condition or having to rely on costly and at times dangerous additives we can use biology to enrich the soil.  Healthy soil makes for healthy plants that resist disease and pests.

Does this sound too good to be true?  Well it is true and not hard with proper understanding of the soil food web and how it works.  Talk about having nature working for you with an age old tested, successful method.  Although only three percent of the organisms in soil have been identified, we know that the combination of micro organisms, bacteria and fungi churn mother rock into soil rich with humic acid.  These organisms co exist with the plant roots that exude sugars to power the little critters.

Dr Ingham is one of the leading soil biology researchers and founder of Soil Foodweb Inc. She is known as a leader in soil microbiology and research of the soil food web which she brings to life in her talks.  She is an author of the USDA's Soil Biology Primer. In 2011, Ingham was named as The Rodale Institute's chief scientist.  Her passion is to increase fertility to soil, grow strong crops, reduce water usage, use composting to cut down the necessity of waste.

Soil Foodweb Fertility Solutions Class on Live WebEX

Healthy soil has all the interconnected elements of a "web", retaining and cycling nutrients into the right forms at the right rates for each individual while building soil structure, suppressing disease-causing organisms, protecting plant surfaces, producing plant-growth-promoting hormones and chemicals, and decomposing toxic compounds. In this class you'll look at the elements of a healthy soil foodweb.

Dr. Elaine Ingham uncovers the basic principles of the Soil Foodweb, plant relationships, and bacteria to fungi ratios. You will gain a fundamental understanding of the way soil biology drives plant nutrition, you will learn how modern agriculture selects for disease and pests. This will be a contribution to anyone wanting a more complete understanding of soil health and healthy plants.

Understand Soil Health

Learn Why Fungal To Bacterial Ratios Are Important

Learn the Secret That Fertilizer Salesmen Don't Want People To Know

Why Is Compaction So Bad?

Why Are Roots of Plants Prevented From Growing Deep Into Soil?


ZERO Waste
Posted on March 20, 2014


FRIDAY ALL DAY (9-3pm): $144 (paypal)
Students or Buddy Pass (2 for 99 each): $99 (paypal)

Friday NIGHT (Only) $10

Saturday ALL DAY (9-3pm): $144 (paypal)
Students or Buddy Pass (2×99 each): $99 (paypal)

*Refresher Course for Friday or Saturday ONLY $25, Please call us to register.

Online Webinars (eventbrite)
a. $79 to attend all live presentations on-line, from 9 am – 3pm CST
b. WEBEX INTRO $29 to attend Intro presentation only on “Zero Waste for Businesses and Communities”

Speaker bio
About Gary Liss


 Gary initiated Gary Liss & Associates, where he is the President and Managing Director.  Serving international municipal and private-sector clients, his success has been built upon a history of bridging problems with solutions and creating environmental programs that have economic benefits.  He is often the “go-to” person for national media on Zero Waste issues and has been included in articles in publications such as Time Magazine, the Wall Street Journal and USA Today.

He has a Masters in Public Administration from Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey and a Bachelor's in Civil Engineering (Environmental Engineering major) from Tufts University.  In 2005, Mr. Liss went through extensive training in the Zero Emissions Research Initiatives and is now a Certified ZERI System Designer.

Previously he was Executive Director of the California Resource Recovery Association (CRRA).   For CRRA, Mr. Liss organized workshops and their Annual Conference, including the first Zero Waste Conference in the nation in 1997.   Under his leadership, CRRA adopted its Agenda for the New Millennium, which calls for Zero Waste as a new goal for resource and waste management.

He has helped design and implement Zero Waste Programs in several countries, states, and cities, including: Los Angeles, Oakland, Burbank, Alameda, Palo Alto, Del Norte and San Jose in CA, Austin (TX,), Telluride (CO), Arkadelphia (AR), Central Vermont, Waveney (UK), New Zealand and Nelson, BC in Canada. Mr. Liss has worked on more Zero Waste community plans than any other individual in the
United States.

Gunter Pauli founder of ZERI (Zero Emissions Research Initiatives) and author of  The Blue Economy 10 Years, 100 Innovations, 100 Million Jobs recommended Gary for this workshop here in Santa Fe.


Workshop Description


Zero Waste Businesses are leading the way for Zero Waste and have diverted over 90% of their waste from landfill and incineration. Zero Waste Communities have adopted Zero Waste goals and plans to implement those goals. This workshop will demonstrate how Zero Waste can be a key part of community and business sustainability plans and help contribute to reducing greenhouse gases and global cooling.

By attending this session, participants will learn:

  • Connections between Zero Waste and greenhouse gases
  • Jobs potential from Zero Waste
  • Benefits to Businesses from pursuing Zero Waste



10.00 $



Intro to Zero Waste:
* Definition of Zero Waste
* Connections between Zero Waste and Climate Change
* Cool Cities and Urban Environmental Accords
* Communities that have adopted Zero Waste as a goal
* Zero Waste Businesses that divert over 90% of their waste from landfills or incinerators

Intro to Zero Waste Businesses:
* Benefits to Zero Waste Businesses
* Zero Waste Business Principles
* Model Zero Waste Businesses
* ZERI and the Blue Economy – Thinking outside the Box

Intro to Zero Waste Communities:

– Extended Producer Responsibility
– Local Product Bans and Fees

– Incentives
– Intro to Resource Recovery Parks

Business and Jobs
– Siting of Zero Waste Infrastructure
– Purchasing for Zero Waste

Developing Zero Waste Community Plans
– Service Opportunities Analyses
– Commodities Analysis,
– Menu of Incentives and Policies
 – Zero Waste Infrastructure (Reduce, Reuse, Recycling and Composting)

Resource Recovery Parks
Public Participation Processes
Model Zero Waste Communities


The class project will involve the students by organizing them into teams that will tackle a real world example of how to get to Zero Waste. Students will break into groups and each group will share their experience with Zero Waste at their business or community. The team will choose one example and develop a Zero Waste Plan for that situation based on the principles learned in class:

    ID types, amounts and sources of materials discarded.

    Design waste out of the system and identify EPR opportunities.

    ID service opportunities where new services are needed to fill gaps in current reuse, recycling and composting services.

    Select policies, programs and facilities needed. Consider if resource recovery park needed. Support existing reuse, recycling and composting businesses and nonprofits.

    ID how to fund Zero Waste initiatives

    ID incentives for all stakeholders.

    ID “low-hanging” fruit for short-term success and long term strategy and goals.

PREPARATION FOR WORKSHOP Prior to class, please review the following websites to become familiar with the Definition of Zero Waste and Zero Waste Principles, as well as leading Zero Waste Communities and Zero Waste Businesses:

Zero Waste Definition and Principles:
    Zero Waste Businesses
    Zero Waste Communities –
Palo Alto ZW Strategic Plan:
Oakland Zero Waste Plan:
Austin Adopted ZW Plan:
Telluride, CO ZW Plan:

The subjects covered will includeThe Four Keys to Zero Waste :
What is Zero Waste? How is different than Recycling?
Garbage is not inevitable. It is the result of bad design. It can be designed out of the system.

Community Organizing & Political Strategies for Zero Waste Zero Waste is systemic change. Change comes from the outside.

Key #1: New Rules & Economic Incentives
Rules make us and we make the rules. We need new rules because the old ones are not working. Economics is not a matter of immutable laws, but human-made rules and institutions.

Key #2: Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) & Local Producer Responsibility (LPR)
Local Government can't control design, manufacture and distribution of products, but it can control what is sold and disposed within the community (LPR), and it can collaborate with other local governments to drive for changes at the state and national level (EPR).

Key #3: Purchasing for Zero Waste & EPR
One of every five purchasing dollars are spent by government. We should use our tax dollars to purchase the future we want. The combined power of government/large contractor purchasing will dictate changes product design and manufacture that we cannot legislate.

Key #4: Financing & Transitioning to a Zero Waste Future
What infrastructure do we need in a world without landfills and garbage? Who will pay for it? What alternatives to landfills and incinerators do we need right now?

Closing: Elements of a Zero Waste Plan & Resources


10.00 $

Friday 9 am-3pm -Regular price $144:

144.00 $

Saturday 9 am-3pm -Regular price $144:


144.00 $


Adbongo VIP

Friday 9 am-3pm Student or buddy pass price $99:

99.00 $

Saturday 9 am-3pm -Student or buddy pass price $99:


99.00 $


Online Webinars (eventbrite)
a. $79 to attend all live presentations on-line, from 9 am – 3pm CST
b. WEBEX INTRO $29 to attend Intro presentation only on “Zero Waste for Businesses and Communities”

*Refresher Course for Friday or Saturday ONLY $25, Please call us to register.



Urban acres and Carbon Economy Series presents 1st annual “sol conference”
Posted on March 19, 2014

Wednesday April 8, 7:30am-6:30pm Dinner with Joel Salatin

at OakFIT, 2318 Beatrice St, Dallas, 75208

Get your tickets here!


Urban Acres and Carbon Economy Series presents 1st annual "sol conference" featuring keynote speaker Joel Salatin



(Dallas, TX) – Urban Acres and Carbon Economy Series is pleased to present the First Annual sōl Conference which will highlight issues, companies, organizations, and products to help attendees incorporate more "Sustainable, Organic and Local" into their everyday lives. Featuring keynote speaker, author, locavore, and third-generation alternative farmer Joel Salatin, the conference will take place on Wednesday, April 8, 2015 from 7:30am-6:30pm at OakFIT, 2318 Beatrice St, Dallas, 75208. Tickets and details are available at


Says Joel Salatin, “The Urban Acres  and Carbon Economy Series folks are always some of the most enjoyable I’ve ever worked with. It’s a real pleasure to be a part of the sōl Conference to help people learn and get inspired to make positive changes that affect themselves, their community, and the world.”

Other featured speakers include well-known Dallas chefs Graham Dodds of Hibiscus and Chad Houser of Café Momentum, Andrea Ridout of the popular home improvement radio show “Ask Andrea,” as well as representatives from Carbon Economy Series, Eat The Yard, Garden Harvests, and OakFIT. Speaker and breakout sessions will address topics such as backyard chickens and gardening, the importance of local food sourcing and whole foods including practical ways to incorporate them into one’s life. Graham Dodds will be demonstrating whole-animal butchering by breaking down a whole hog donated from one of Urban Acres’ local farmers.

Likeminded vendors will be provided an avenue to engage with conference attendees and sell their products at the “Gecko Marketplace.” Sponsorship opportunities are available for companies who wish to have a greater presence at the conference. Current sponsors include Artizone, Chipotle Mexican Grill, and Gecko Hardware.

The Artizone-sponsored after-party will round out the conference at 6:30pm with drinks and a DJ, free tacos from Chipotle and other food truck options.

Joel Salatin’s 550-acre fourth-generation Polyface Farm in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley is featured prominently in Michael Pollan’s book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and the documentary films, Food, Inc. and Fresh. Salatin's engaging and humorous speaking and writing reflect dirt-under-the-fingernails experience as he passionately defends small farms, local food systems, and the right to opt out of the conventional food paradigm.

Since 2009, Urban Acres has been serving the Dallas/Ft. Worth community by providing organic "co-op style" produce supporting Texas farmers at their 18 pickup locations across the city and through their 1/4-acre urban farmstead in Oak Cliff. Urban Acres Farmstead is committed to using 100% organic produce and dairy, fair-trade spices, pastured meats, and products that do not contain pesticides or hormones, artificial flavoring, hydrogenated oils, MSG, or GMOs. Visitors can dine on the patio at communal farm tables and tour the on-site chicken coop, rabbit pens, herb garden, flower garden, and aquaponics greenhouse, as well as sign up for a variety of Farmstead classes including knife skills, cooking, canning and gardening. For more info visit