STEPS TO FOLLOW to become A Soil Life Consultant

You can be Certified as a Wholistic Soil Life Consultant or you can specialize as a:

  1. Compost Tea Soil Life Consultant,
  2. Compost Soil Life Consultant, or a
  3. Microbe Analysis Soil Life Consultant.

Please first provide evidence of completion of the following courses taught by Dr. Elaine Ingham.


  • Life In The Soil Class
  • Compost Class
  • Compost Tea / Extract Class
  • Microscope Class
  1. Candidates must take Life in the Soil class, Compost class, Compost Tea class, and Introduction to the Microscope class.
    1. If any Life in the Soil class taken was before 2010, a short update is required, either as the appropriate lectures from thecurrent Life in the Soil class, or as a current one day course that includes this update information about nutrients in soil, nutrient retention, carbon sequestration.
    2. The Farming Secrets course was filmed in 2008, and therefore, the Life in the Soil update, the Compost class, and the Compost Tea class have to also be taken.
    3. Classes taken through Common Ground, AMMA Center, Ojai Center for Regenerative Agriculture, and Permaculture Voices meet part, or all of the class requirements.
    4. The current Life in the Soil course is located at www.lifeinthesoilclasses.com. This course is periodically updated with the most recent information. The update lectures will be modified to include new information as well.
    5. Once the microscope class is taken, practice with that microscope must be maintained.
    6. Quizzes must be taken for qualification before signing up for Certification and a 90% or above average must be received. If a 90% or above average is not achieved, then the online classes must be retaken at a 50% discount and quizzes must be passed with a 90% or above average.
  2. Week-Long Sessions with Dr. Ingham that includes compost, compost tea & microscope classes are accepted.
  3. Once Life in the Soil, Compost, Compost Tea, and Introduction to the Microscope classes are finished (passing grade), then practical demonstration of what was learned is needed.

Once you have completed the four courses and passed the quizzes with a 90% or above average then you can proceed to apply for the certification process. Please fill out the application form and pay the certification fees in the shop & cart. You can take Life in the Soil Class without the webinars to qualify, but not the webinars only.

Application Form

certification fees

You will Two Steps to complete: Step One — Making Compost, Compost Tea/Extract and Step Two — Implementing Plan. There will be 20 hours for Step One at the rate of $35 per hour for a total of $700. There will be 40 hours alloted for Step Two at the rate of $35 per hour for a total of $1400. If you need more time then the mentor assigned to you will require further payment by the hour once you have completed the 20 or 40 hours allotted for each step.


  • Administrative fees
  • Document checking
  • Mentoring with Certified Soil Life Mentors & Dr. Elaine Ingham
  • $700 for Phase Two (20 hours of mentoring @$35 an hour). If more time is needed additional money will be necessary.
  • $1400 for Phase Three (40 hours of mentoring @35 an hour). If more time is needed additional money will be necessary.

Pay the Fees

Steps In The Application And Certification Process

Steps for Certification to become a Soil Life Consultant AFTER the On-line courses have been satisfactorily completed. These steps can be completed on your own land, a client’s land, or on the Celebration Farm in northern California. Once you have turned in the application form and the documentation required for taking the classes and the appropriate fee, then we will contact you.


Phase One

Complete the 4 online classes or 5 day workshop and pass the quizzes with 90% or above average

Phase Two

1. Make Compost

Make compost according to the instructions in the compost class that you took. THis can take a full growing season. So start the process of making good compost ASAP.

  • Get the recipe right
  • Get the full food web present
  • Get the food we functioning in the pile

2. Record Data

Collect information through the full composting process. we will provide you with a Compost Ingredient template and a Compost Log Template for you to use to record part of the data required.

  • Starting materials
  • Amounts of the materials you use
  • When and how uou put the pile together
  • Temperature data
  • Moisture data
  • Turning data

3. Perform Biological Analysis

When the pile is finished, (i.e. back to ambient temperatures) collect more information. You can use the microscope data template you received during the Microscope Class when recording the biological assessment:

  • Perform a biological analysis of the pile
  • Include that data in your information about the pile
  • The pile must meet organic regulations in order for you to be considered a Certified Consultant

4. Replicate Successful Piles Three Times Consecutively

Once you work out the recipe for your piles:

  • Document that you can consistently make good compost
  • At least three piles should be made, the measurements made, and data collected to assure you that the pile is real compost.
  • Document that all your piles reach appropriate temperatures
  • Document that all your piles maintain adequate levels of moisture, but not too much moisture
  • Document that all your piles are turned the required number of times, but not more than five times
  • Document that all your mature piles contain the full food web for the plants you want to grow
  • Note that we expect that the piles will be made consecutively

5. Make Compost Tea and Extracts

Please make compost tea and extracts from each of these piles:

  • Document the recipe used
  • Document the biology produced for each tea and extract made

6. Submit Data for Approval

Send your data into Dr. Elaine and your mentor.

The Quality of your composts, extracts, and teas must be approved

7. Submit Plan for Converting Land

After compost and compost tea/extract quality and data have been approved:

Formally submit your plan for converting an area of land from a non-biological, un-healthy plot of dirt, into a biologically managed ecosystem.

Phase Three

This final third phase of certification can be commenced:

  • After the online classes have been satisfactorily completed or workshops completed and quizzes passed with 90% or above average scores.
  • After the required documentation has been provided
  • After compost, compost tea/extract has been made by trainee and assessment with microscope

Then, using the compost you have made:

You begin to perform the process of using biology to grow healthy plants

The land you choose to use can be your own land, a client’s land, or on the Celebration Farm in northern California.

1. Land Site Choice and Approval

Choose the property where you are going to convert the dirt into soil

  • The land you choose can be your own land, the Celebration Farm, etc.
  • Please get approval of your land choice from your mentor before proceeding

2. The Plan

  • Walk the land to be converted.
  • Map the land with respect to the different habitats to be improved
  • Take pictures of the property as it exists now
  • Identify different areas on the property (i.e. g field, ridge line, pond/stream, gully forest, house garden, etc.) just as was done for the Boston example in the class.
  • Define your desired plant(s) — or what you want to grow in the coming season — en each area.
  • Define where soil samples will be taken, how many, how often, and what measurements will be taken each sample date.
  • Decide when compost will be applied (solid or liquid), how much, and how the applications will be made.

3. Submit the Plan and Discuss

Once your plan is complete, send the plan to soilfoodweb@aol.com and info@environmentcelebration.com

Define what you mean by successful conversion.

Schedule a Skype conversation with your mentor and Dr. Elaine to discuss your plan:

  • Add contacts in Skype for elaine ingham and drcaroleannrollins
  • Let us know the skype name you are using so we can approve you.
  • Contact michelle@environmentcelebration.com to schedule appointments.

4. Set up the Calendar for Implementation of the Plan

Set up a calendar with all sampling dates, sample points, and assays to be performed clearly set forth.Discuss results from soil sampling.

  • As will all plans, changes will occur
  • If changes happen, those changes will neeed to be discused with the mentor and Dr. Elaine, if necessary.

5. Sample Results

Decide when discussions of sample results need to be doneDetermine organisms coming out of sprayer nozzles to see if organisms are lost in the equipment.

  • Discuss results from compost, extract, tea, and soil sampling.
  • Discussion of results from assession plant health.
  • Compare results between the “with biology” and “without biology” areas. Are they significantly different?

6. Submit Success Story

Write up the Success Story (much like was shown for the Boston example) with pictures and compost, compost tea, and compost extract data that was applied every 10-14 days. Discuss with mentor and Dr. elaine. Your Success Story will appear on the SFI and ECI websites as well a other websites as you see fit.

  • Pictures
  • Compost Data
  • Soil Data
  • Compost Tea Data
  • Get approval of Success Story

7. Certification a Soil Life Consultant

A Certificate as a Certified Soil Life Consultant will be sent when the above steps have been completed and approved.

  • Annual updates of your success story and what happened during the year need to be sent in to the websites on an annual basis to maintain the Certified Consultant designation. New stories can be added to the websites as well.
  • A write-up of the process(any oops! are to be included) performed, the data from assessment of the microbiology, and chemistry of the land through the conversion and documentation of success (how ever you paln to measure success) is required. This information will be posted to the websites.
  • A Certificate will be issued when your mentor approves the job as being a successful example of conversion to a healthy biological system and you will join the group of consultants that Dr. Ingham works closely with.